Preseason Power Rankings No. 23: Washington Redskins

AP

The Redskins took a major step backward in 2013 and they blew things up as a result.

Jay Gruden is the new head coach, with the team hoping that his offensive mind can totally relegate former coach Mike Shanahan and his icy relationship with quarterback Robert Griffin III to the fringes of memories. Griffin’s play could also do that as he’s had an entire offseason to work after rehabbing from a knee injury during the spring last year.

Dysfunction and lingering injuries weren’t the only reasons things went south for the Redskins last year, though. The defense was a mess and the changes on that side of the ball were not particularly dramatic, while the team also gave away far too many yards and points on special teams.

The potential for a repeat of 2012 certainly exists, but, based on their spot at No. 23, PFT’s panel needs to see more than potential to buy into the Redskins.

Strengths.

Signing DeSean Jackson was the latest addition to a receiving corps that should be much improved over last season. Pierre Garcon returns, tight end Jordan Reed should be healthy after last year’s concussions and Andre Roberts joined the team as a free agent. That’s more than Griffin had to work with as a rookie and should make his efforts as a passer easier than in past years.

Running back Alfred Morris is also back, giving the Redskins enviable potential balance on offense this season. If all goes according to plan, defenses will find it hard to keep an eye on everyone Washington rolls on the field.

Linebacker Brian Orakpo re-signed with the team and he’ll rejoin with Ryan Kerrigan to give the Redskins a strong pair of outside linebackers. If Jason Hatcher can repeat the pass rush he gave the Cowboys last season, Washington should be very effective at pressuring quarterbacks.

Left tackle Trent Williams remains one of the best in the league at his position and gives the Redskins an anchor as they build the rest of their offensive line.

Weaknesses.

The Redskins didn’t look that strong at safety when Tanard Jackson was in the mix and they aren’t looking any better in light of his latest suspension. The best hope is that Ryan Clark can push back father time and Brandon Meriweather avoids injury long enough for 2013 picks Bacarri Rambo and Phillip Thomas to come into their own.

It would help the Redskins if cornerback David Amerson did the same thing in his second season. Old hands DeAngelo Hall and Tracy Porter will likely hold prominent roles, but the team needs Amerson to develop into a shutdown player on one side for their defense to reach its full potential.

Williams is a great left tackle, but the Redskins aren’t quite as lucky along the rest of the line. Kory Lichtensteiger is moving from guard to center, right guard is unsettled and the team picked Morgan Moses in the third round to give them an option other than Tyler Polumbus at right tackle.

Hatcher’s arrival should be a plus, but his offseason knee troubles are a bit of a concern since the rest of the Redskins defensive ends are an unimpressive lot.

Changes.

Gruden replacing Shanahan as head coach (and, for all intents and purposes, Kyle Shanahan as offensive coordinator) is by far the biggest change in Washington this offseason. Every coaching change is significant, of course, but this one feels even bigger because of how bad things got between Griffin and Shanahan last season.

Griffin has been spreading nothing but sunshine about the switch and the Redskins are hopeful that his knee will respond to a full offseason of work as well as he has responded to Shanahan’s departure. The quality of the skill position players around him should help.

The Redskins didn’t change defensive coordinators, but there’s been a lot of talk about a more aggressive approach from Jim Haslett’s unit this season. That should fit with the outside linebackers and help defensive tackle Barry Cofield rebound, although the defensive backfield could be stretched if they’re left out on islands.

Ben Kotwica is the new special teams coach and he’ll be charged with turning around units that struggled badly last season.

Camp Battles.

London Fletcher has brought his long career to an end, leaving an opening at inside linebacker next to Perry Riley. Keenan Robinson, Darryl Sharpton, Akeem Jordan and Adam Hayward are all options with Robinson potentially the favorite if he’s over his torn pectoral.

Roberts was signed to play receiver, but Jackson’s arrival opens up the possibility that he could become the team’s primary kick returner. Rookie Lache Seastrunk would be another option for the role.

Chris Chester will try to hold onto the right guard job against challenges from Josh LeRibeus and third-round pick Spencer Long. The right choice there could help mitigate any right tackle issues.

Prospects.

The NFC East title has been a revolving door in recent seasons as the four teams generally muck their way through the regular season before someone grabs a 9-7 record in Week 17.

It is easy to see why the Redskins would believe they could return to the top of the food chain this season. Every report on Griffin’s health is positive, his supporting cast is stronger and the darkness that hung over Shanahan last season has been expunged.

At the same time, though, there’s not much about the Redskins that makes them a sure bet to be better than last year’s also-rans in Dallas and New Jersey or the defending division champs in Philly. The defense needs to be much better and we’ll still need to see Griffin’s play match the offseason reviews, for starters.

Should that happen, a return to the playoffs may not be out of reach but the Redskins will need to show that the stink of last year has been totally eradicated before the bandwagon starts to fill up.

113 responses to “Preseason Power Rankings No. 23: Washington Redskins

  1. Is this some kind of joke, why is Cleveland not ranked yet. Is Lebron going to be playing for them to? #Nobodyhasitbetter

  2. We are pound for pound and talent for talent the best team on Paper. Best QB in Football. Best RB in Football. The Top two WRs in Football. Best LT in Football. Rookie of the Year RT. Best Linebacking Corp. in Football. Best CB in Football in DHall. Best Safety Duo. Best Kicker. Coach of the Year in Jay Gruden. Don’t look at me that Mr. Florio doesn’t like the team’s nickname. We are #1 and you all know it. No need for me to say more. #HTTR

  3. Problem with that team always has been and will be Griffin. He had his flash in the pan year already. Even if he stays healthy, their best hope is for 6 wins

  4. For whatever it’s worth, the only time since 2000 that the NFC East champ has been 9-7, it was NY in 2011 and they won the championship. I didn’t look any further back but I don’t think the NFC East champ is typically a 9 win team as her claims.

    Oops.

  5. I am so confused – are using “Redskins” or not? It seems like if its a posting about the name debate you do not, if its something else you do.

  6. Remember when Jim Haslett was head coach of the Saints and they defeated the defending World Champ Rams in the 2000 playoffs?
    La’Roi Glover got like 18 sacks. But that 2000 defense was stacked and did nothing but get worse under Haslett. Really surprised he kept the DC job.
    Funny dude, appreciated the first franchise playoff win.

  7. Impressive here . . . a football article without the rhetoric. Kudos to Mr. Alper, great job.

  8. The fact that the Browns are still not ranked is lunacy. My prediction is that they wait till #1, then say, “Forgotten Browns Ranked #32. Please bump every other team up one slot.”

    Honestly it is the only way these rankings are not a total joke.

  9. Funny how all of the crazy RG3 stories coming out of DC magically stopped the day the Shanahans were fired. I guess we all know where all of the “he won’t even let us show bad plays on film” nonsense was coming from. A change at the top should do a lot for my Skins… like elevate us to an illustrious 8-8 record….

  10. The only logical conclusion here is that the Browns franchise has been disbanded.

    The only reason the Browns would not be #32 would be if there were more than 32 teams. This whole ranking is laughable.

  11. There’s old @logicalvoicesays and his tired, delusional takes.

    I sometimes wonder if he believes any of that or if it’s just or attention….

    I’d like to think he believes it…. cuz crazy is better than loser…

  12. If Logicalvoice and PFTPoet were sealed in a room together, how long would it take for all the oxygen to get sucked out?

    J/K guys, reading your bombastic boasting is half the fun of the comments section.

  13. ctiggs says:
    Jul 11, 2014 3:18 PM
    I’d like to take logicalvoice out for a beer.

    ——————————

    It’s illegal to give minors alcohol.

  14. logicalvoicesays says: Jul 11, 2014 3:21 PM

    No need for me to say more.
    ______________________________________

    Couldn’t agree more. Please don’t say more. Ever.

  15. The good news is the Skins have a 1st round pick this year.

    The bad news it will be the 32nd pick in the 1st round cause we going to the SB BAYBEE!!

  16. We are pound for pound and talent for talent the best team on Paper. Best QB in Football. Best RB in Football. The Top two WRs in Football. Best LT in Football. Rookie of the Year RT. Best Linebacking Corp. in Football. Best CB in Football in DHall. Best Safety Duo. Best Kicker. Coach of the Year in Jay Gruden. Don’t look at me that Mr. Florio doesn’t like the team’s nickname. We are #1 and you all know it. No need for me to say more. #HTTR

    —————————————————————-

    Please CHILD NO

  17. this is too high, these bums are garbage. bob had a nice rookie year and then ppl figured him out, hes as easy of a player to get in his head and have him start crying like he is in pee-wee football.

    Not to mention that this is the only team in the NFL that would be upgrading having jerry jones as their owner.

  18. Should have let Shanahan pick the QB he wanted instead of bringing in RGIII and then driving a coach out when he can’t playu.

    RGIII is massively over rated, he’ll show it this season again.

  19. Reality check. So the Browns have survived “the cut” so far, and are a “2nd tier” team at worst according to this PFT ranking.

    So when by regular season game 2, they are ranked #32 again, do we blame it on the Browns play, or do we come back and blame this ridiculous ranking here because we all knew the Browns were really #32 all along?

  20. NFLisnotreality says: Jul 11, 2014 3:09 PM

    Old White Guys… Change is coming. Start with the name…
    ____________________________

    What’s your problem with old white guys? Are you a racist who likes to partake in age discrimination?

  21. misterpositivity says:
    Jul 11, 2014 3:50 PM

    If Logicalvoice and PFTPoet were sealed in a room together, how long would it take for all the oxygen to get sucked out?

    J/K guys, reading your bombastic boasting is half the fun of the comments section.
    __________________________

    Here’s a little spoiler alert. @thepftpoet and @logicalvoicesays are the same person….

  22. The reason the Browns weren’t already identified in the bottom of the pile can be attributed to well….Okay. You know, when a nice looking girl goes out with this ugly dude because she feels sorry for him? The pity factor. The Browns had 8 first round draft picks, 17 second rounders, hired 5 head coaches and 4 GMs this past off season, and brought in 324 free agents. You can’t do power rankings and say they’re last. You just can’t. The pity factor.

  23. “ProFootballTalk”

    The name implies your site discusses professional football, yet you consistently only cover topics related solely to the National Football League (NFL). Numerous professional football leagues exist throughout the world and are ignored on “ProFootballTalk”. Clearly, the blatant disregard for the Canadian Football League (CFL), the Arena Football League (AFL), the Rivals Professional Football League (RPFL), the Big 6 European Football League, and the German Football League (GFL)–just to name a few–is demeaning to these other professionals. I’m offended on behalf of all these professional football leagues throughout the world. I demand “ProFootballTalk” do the right thing and change its name.

  24. Love this early ranking…..keeping our Redskins grounded so when they surprise the NFL this year it will be fun to watch all the pundits continue to talk crap about our team. As for the analysis, it is well stated and I agree with what was written. This league is so unpredictable, and you just don’t know if some kid comes out of camp and shines and steals a spot on this roster. From what they picked up from the college free agents, it looks like there could some surprises, and makes for great competition on this team. Should be fun to see what transpires this year with the REDSKINS. HTTR!!!

  25. hawkwind8 says:Jul 11, 2014 4:31 PM

    Cloisterwater– Once you are on the Poo Poo list you never get off.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    All I’m trying to say is that the author is wrong about the NFC East winner usually only winning 9 games. That’s only happened once in the history of the division.

    Are they really that sensitive?

  26. NFLisnotreality says:
    Jul 11, 2014 3:09 PM

    Old White Guys… Change is coming. Start with the name…

    ———————————————————

    Oh the irony in your statement is hilarious. So you are mad at “Old White Guys” for a racist name but still find the need to put out that the “Old White Guys” are the problem. So does that make your comment racist, or ageist? Or maybe you were using a term to describe someone, and you didn’t mean it to be offensive at all? Or maybe, just maybe, you’re not intelligent enough to understand that “Change is coming” and you have a prejudice too.

  27. There once was a poster named poet
    Who’d go on pft so his ego got stroken
    Once the season begins
    Tears will fall once again
    Root for Queens if your desperate and hopeless

  28. power rankings are absurd. there’s at least a ten position disparity for half of the teams. there are all kinds of biases/hopes for media darlings. show me some retro rankings that were remotely accurate after the fact. the cowboys ahead of certain team is ludicrous. come on man.

  29. That settles it. This power ranking is ONLY to promote Johnny Pigskin and the Browns. There is NO way that many teams are worse than Cleveland.

  30. udontknowjaq says:
    Jul 11, 2014 3:03 PM
    The Washington Football franchise is cursed till they change the name…
    ________________________________
    Your name says it all….udontknowjaq!

    The Washington Redskins will be just fine without that name change!

  31. Hail to the Redskins!
    Hail, victory!
    Braves on the warpath!
    Fight for Old D.C.!
    Scalp ’em, swamp ‘um
    We will take ‘um big score
    Read ‘um, Weep ‘um, touchdown
    We want heap more
    Fight on, fight on, till you have won
    Sons of Washington
    Rah! Rah! Rah!

    Lyrics from 1962 through the 80s.

  32. caspius1 says:
    Jul 11, 2014 3:04 PM
    “Wow you guys have a huge jump in the Browns this year.”

    No kidding, it’s gonna be a shock to some when they make it to number 1.

    lol

  33. @logicalvoicesays
    Show me a piece of paper that can score a touchdown and give up less than 400 ypg in passing and i’ll agree with you that the Redskins are a contender. 6-1o in ’14, enjoy your top 10 pick in ’15.

  34. have to laugh at this one

    Redskins will win the NFC East and may surprise and go deep… remember, before RG3 injury they were better than the Seahawks the season before last

    I’ll take Redskins over any AFC team in the end.. but I’m a skins fan…

  35. also worth noting.. and fair

    Florio and PFT panel are hardcore Redskins haters so you have to take their opinion here with a grain of salt and adjust accordingly

    Hail to the Redskins!

  36. phillysports1 says:
    Jul 11, 2014 4:15 PM
    Eagles are going to win the division
    —————————————————-
    And that’s all they EVER win.

  37. It’s simple laws of physics. The higher they are ranked in the pre-season, the harder and faster they fall in the regular season. If your team has already been ranked in this no-data non-scientific drill, fear not. If you think your team will be high atop this ranking…I’d be very worried. Very VERY worried!

  38. The redskins season is really a coin flip. 6-10 or 10-6 are real possibilities. Even the scouting report here seems to support that. I’m shocked they’re not ranked in the mid to high teens. Side note, shouldn’t we have seen the Browns already?

  39. Locicalvouces assessment is 100% spot on…..for the defending Super Bowl champion and three time redskin playoff victor Seattle Seahawks
    The redskins will be better this year, just in time to get a mid first round draft pick.

  40. tacomatiger says:
    Jul 11, 2014 4:23 PM
    RG3 needs to step up and be a true leader. Made too many excuses all last year
    __________________________________

    Name one excuse he made last year. You can’t because he didn’t. He’s been the teams true leader since draft day. Any player will tell you that.

    Unless you are just repeating what you heard elsewhere without any fact checking in an attempt to get a job here.

  41. wow so much hate on the skins, we like the most hated franchise lol Ill say it again if you don’t like the team don’t comment on the posts lol you guys give the redskins more attention then you give your kids lol take a hike, kick rocks httr baby!

  42. Washington is going to be great this year. I am going to screenshot this page so we can all laugh about it when they are killing teams. RGIII looks healthy, Alfred Morris is there at running back again, they signed deep pass specialist DeSean Jackson, which RGIII’s strong arm will get the ball into his hands.

  43. Some folks have said that the Boy Defense is in trouble this year. That is just silly. I watched the Boys/ Denver week 5 rematch from last year on NFL Network last weekend. The Boy had these three absolutely amazing Defensive players on the field. They were making at LEAST 75% of all the defensive plays, and were all over the field, and they held the Bronco to only 51 points! Ware, Hatcher and Lee… See ya this fall! A REDSKIN fan.

  44. I’m a long time Redskins fan and NFL fan who knows football. The article was very accurate and I do believe that the Redskins will be much better this season due to RGIII being healthy and a off season to work on his foot work. Jay’s offense is based a west coast offense that will get the ball out faster . Our offense was so awful last season due to our WR corps had only 1 legit WR and that was Garcon. With the addition of D-Jax and Andre Roberts from the Cards will give us a nice trio of pass catchers. You add a healthy TE in Jordan Reed and a hard runner in Alfred Morris and we have a potent offense.

    The Defense last season played well at times but often gave up big plays due to the lack of the offense production. The Defense was on the field to often because the offense could not stay on the field . Our Special teams was the worst I have seen in over 30 years. I see improvement on all the units which will give us a better team.

  45. I’ll make this short n sweet. The Redskins r a true dark horse n r better than the giants no matter where the giants r rated. Need Proof, look at their rosters, case closed.

  46. Bottom feeders last year will remain bottom feeders this year.

    Implosion by week 6.

  47. Skins fans really have no idea what they are in for with Jay Gruden. My prediction is Alfred Morris, at some point in 2nd half of season will becime a very, very unhappy camper. The OL will begin to wonder what the hell this young, pass-happy head coach is trying to do, what is his philosophy regarding virtually abandonibng a running game that worked well in the past…and finally the Def, after playing “so much” will then also speak up & declare the Off needs to keep the ball more, run more clock because it wasn’t built to play 40+ min/game. Gruden will frustrate you until the team can be re-built to survive his all or nothing offense. Be prepared for mostly “nothing”.

  48. LOL at the doubters…

    Redskins were better than Seattle 2 yrs ago.. only losing when RG3 went down…. yes, everything went wrong last year…. but, no reason to not think they win the NFC East may do something special if no injuries and they get going… think Redskins are probably going to be better than ANY AFC team this year… and,if things go right, why not them?

    Hail to the Redskins!

  49. udontknowjaq says:
    Jul 11, 2014 3:03 PM
    The Washington Football franchise is cursed till they change the name…

    ________________________________

    If cursed is 3 Lombardi trophies, then the Steelers better watch out if that curse gets lifted.

  50. Hail to the Redskins!
    Hail, victory!
    Braves on the warpath!
    Fight for Old D.C.!
    Scalp ‘em, swamp ‘um
    We will take ‘um big score
    Read ‘um, Weep ‘um, touchdown
    We want heap more
    Fight on, fight on, till you have won
    Sons of Washington
    Rah! Rah! Rah!

    ]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]
    Even the song is racial!

  51. Looking at the schedule, even if Washington splits their games in the East, I see at the most 4 more wins with the remaining 10 games- Titans, Texans, Jags and Bucs. The key therefore is Washington going 5-1 in the East. Going 4-2 in the division is a possibility but that leaves them at 8-8 and I do not see that record winning the division.

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