What Offensive Skill Position Group Will Be the Biggest Surprise This Year?

May 23, 2012 in Uncategorized

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As Redskins fans we of course have high expectations for the offense this season, but the reality is this offense has been pretty anemic these past couple of years. What position group do you see having the most impressive and surprising year?


Robert Griffin could no doubt be a special player and one who can put amazing numbers both rushing and throwing. Unfortunately few rookie QB's have ever put up even decent numbers so the odds are a bit stacked against this group. Griffin does have a skill set that could thrive in this offense, and his speed could allow him to put up numbers even if the full offense is fuction.

My Prediction: I don't expect big things, but Griffin should have a decent year statistically.

Running back:

Over the years the Mike Shanahan system (in both Denver and Houston) has found the most success when the rushing attack was in the top 10 (if not top 5) in the league. In two years in Washington the team finished 25th and 30th in yards. This has to improve for Washington to be successful. The bad news for the Redskins is they don't have a single feature back, and their offensive line is filled with question marks. On the positive the Redskins running game should get a boost with Griffin, who's running and passing could help create opportunities for the backs.

My Prediction: This is the unit to surprise everyone. I think Helu, Royster and Hightower will form a quality running back by committee and they will finish top 15 in the league in rushing yards.

Wide Receiver:

This group should get a boost in production as the Redskins went out and signed WR's Pierre Garcon and Josh Morgan in free agency, while 2nd year WR Leonard Hankerson is expected to be back healthy after a hip injury ruined his rookie year. Santana Moss is also expected back, to give the Redskins a pretty solid top 4 receiver group. Though the Redskins have a pretty solid group of receivers, they lack a true number 1 (or even a top level number 2), and are going to rely more on the sum of their parts. That can be effective if everything goes according to plan, but for it to work all four receivers need to be producing. The other thing that could keep this group down is the likelihood that with a rookie quarterback the Redskins rely more on the run and high percentage passing (i.e. to the backs and tight ends).

My prediction: Individually I think this group will produce solid numbers, but I feel there will be a lack of opportunities leaving the overall production a bit of a disappointment.

Tight Ends:

This could be an intriguing positional group, as the potential is there for big things. Fred Davis had a career year receiving last year, and looked to emerge as one of the better pass catching tight ends in the league. Chris Cooley is coming off his worst year as a pro, but he appears to be healthy and in great shape. He is just two years removed from a season where he had 77 catches and 849 yards. If he's healthy he can be a very effective target in the short and intermediate passing games. Special teams standout Niles Paul has moved from receiver to tight end, and even after bulking up for the positional change he should offer great speed and agility for the position. A positive for the group overall is the fact that Robert Griffin will likely utilize his tight ends more as a security blanket. On the downside there are questions surrounding all these tight ends. Davis is a poor blocker, who also has had some route running issues. Chris Cooley has some significant injury concerns and is also a poor overall blocker. Niles Paul could excel in a blocking role (despite a smaller size), but is still going to be pretty raw.

My prediction: This will be the 2nd biggest surprise as I believe they will put up good numbers. I see Davis having a similar year to last season, with Cooley having a nice bounce back year. Niles Paul could improve the team blocking and could offer some solid production potential.

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  • http://fanspeak.com/members/jcmanuel/ John Manuel

    I agree. The difference in RG3 even as a rookie over Rex should open up the rushing attack. And all three with benefit from this

  • http://fanspeak.com/members/willypops/ Willypops

    This is an interesting question. At first I thought that I agreed with your prediction that the running back group would be the biggest surprise. But actually, the way they finished the year last season, and with the return of Hightower, I actually EXPECT this group to be highly productive. I think the offensive line has the potential to be a solid run blocking unit (but still a very questionable pass blocking unit). So it wouldn't surprise me to see the running backs perform at a top 15 level.

    My prediction is that the tight ends unit will be the surprise. Hopefully Davis can stay clean. If he does, and Cooley is indeed healthy, then I can see a lot of production coming from this group. I think with a rookie QB, even one with Griffin's talent level, you are going to see a lot of passes going to tight ends. That's especially true in the Redskins offense which supposedly will have Griffin rolling out of the pocket more and which is likely to target the tight ends more. If you look at Cam Newton's first year in Carolina, Greg Olsen and Jeremy Shockey accounted for over 90 receptions and 9 TD's and I could see the same sort of thing happening here. I also like moving Niles Paul to the tight end position. With his athleticism, I could see him being a pleasant surprise.

  • http://fanspeak.com/members/meg08/ Megan Shoup

    Agree about the tight ends being the surprise this year and them being used a lot more with Griffin! I think Davis, Cooley Paul are a great group of tightends!

    Even though offensive line wasn't in here as far as measuring production…I actually hope we're the most pleasantly surprised by them. I would have liked to see a replacement for Brown, but if all 3 draft picks can step up, this could be a big improvement from last year.