-With all the hype on the health of RGIII and the receivers the Redskins brought in, what has been forgotten is just how good the Redskins rushing attack is. Just four running backs have rushed for 1,200 or more yards over the past two seasons, Adrian Peterson, Jamaal Charles, Marshawn Lynch and Alfred Morris. That is pretty impressive company to belong with and even more impressive given just how poor of an offensive line Morris has had to work with. In two years Morris has 2,888 yards, 20 TD’s and has averaged 4.7 yards per carry. Morris is clearly a stud and a workhorse running back and easily a top 5 back from a rushing standpoint. While Morris has not shown himself as much of a receiver, Roy Helu Jr. excels in that area and has been a nice complement to Morris. At fullback the Redskins have one of the more underappreciated players in the league in, Darrel Young who grades out well as a runner, receiver and most importantly a lead blocker. This is a very strong group for the Redskins and if the passing attack can keep the defense from stacking they box, the sky is the limit for this unit. Also, don’t be surprised if rookie Lache Seastrunk gets some carries as a change of pace back.
-Many people would probably put wide receiver as the Redskins best position group as a whole, and on paper it is pretty impressive. Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson are arguably both top 20 (if not higher) receivers in this league, Andre Roberts would be capable of starting on 10-15 teams in this league, and has been pretty effective his last three years in Arizona. If Leonard Hankerson is healthy and Santana Moss makes the team, the Redskins would easily have the best 4th and 5th receivers in the league, giving them capable depth is any of the top 3 miss time due to injury. With all of that the wide receiver group should be a lock for the top spot, but two things really hold them back: Familiarity and Size. With two of the Redskins top receivers brand new to the team, there will be a period of adjustment with a new quarterback (and a new offense). It will likely mean that Jackson and Roberts don’t produce as much value as they would say a year from now. The other question mark with this group is the lack of size. The Redskins don’t have any big physical receivers which limits some of the routes they can run, and how effective they will be in the red zone. This is still a very talented group, but it is just number two on the list.
-This is a big year for Robert Griffin III as he has to prove that the injury is behind him and 2013 was a fluke year, caused by the injury and the issues with the coaching staff. Griffin has the potential to be one of the best quarterbacks in this league, but he has a ways to go. As brilliant as he was in 2012, so much of that success came from screens and misdirection, defenses have improved and now take away some of those plays, so Griffin must adapt as well and become a stronger pocket passer. Reading the defense is a tough thing for any young quarterback to learn, but it will be necessary if Griffin is to take the next step this year. The Redskins do have a capable back-up quarterback in Kirk Cousins, so if Griffin were to miss some time it wouldn’t be as dire of a situation as it is for some teams.
–Jordan Reed is a top 10 pass catching tight end if he’s healthy. Unfortunately that is a major question mark going into this season. Reed’s brilliant rookie year was marred by multiple injuries that would knock him out of games, and concluded with a bad concussion that shut him down for the final month and a half of the season. Reed has a history of injuries, including concussions going back to his college days at Florida, making the injuries from his rookie year a bit more concerning. When Reed was healthy and on the field, he proved to be a major weapon in the making and one that could cause major mismatch problems for opposing defenses. The fact that he was able to be that successful his rookie year, while Griffin was struggling and with a lack of other weapons drawing the defensive focus, was pretty impressive. If Reed is healthy this will be a position of strength for the Redskins. If he misses time, the Redskins don’t have the depth to make up for him. Logan Paulsen the back-up tight end is very streaky and even when he’s playing well, it has more to do with his blocking than his receiving.
-If this list was broken down by each individual position, Trent Williams at LT would rank number one, unfortunately for the offensive line, Williams alone can’t keep this unit out of the cellar. There are 4 question marks to the right of Trent Williams and if those positions don’t vastly improve this season it could be another long year for RGIII. The Redskins could start three guys (outside of Trent Williams), who were on the line last year and it is doubtful any of them have improved too much (if at all). Though the Redskins did bring in a pair of free agent O-linemen and drafted another two, none of them are considered definitive major improvements to this unit. The good news is that the depth of the unit has improved and hopefully the future as well with the additions of the draft choices, but in terms of talent, for this season it could be a rough year.