PFT preseason power rankings No. 25: Washington Redskins

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After the first 14 weeks of the 2016 season, the Redskins looked like a pretty good bet to make the playoffs for a second straight season as they were 7-5-1 with two home games and a road date with the hapless Bears to close out the schedule.

They beat the Bears, but losses to the Panthers in Week 15 and a Giants team with nothing to play for in Week 17 meant that there would be no playoff streak. The offense, which was strong all year, managed just 25 points in those losses and they’ll have to bounce back without offensive coordinator/new Rams coach Sean McVay and wide receivers Pierre Garçon and DeSean Jackson.

Those changes could make life more difficult for quarterback Kirk Cousins, who had another good season but remains without a long-term contract after getting a second straight franchise tag. That didn’t hurt him on the field last year and his focus should remain strong with the prospect of a big payday still on the horizon, but success will have to come with a different supporting cast this time around.

Biggest positive change: While the offense was a strength in Washington last year, the defense was less impressive. The Redskins changed defensive coordinators with Greg Manusky replacing Joe Barry and they were aggressive in the offseason by adding players to the unit. First-round defensive end Jonathan Allen, linebacker Zach Brown and safety D.J. Swearinger highlight the new additions and will be counted on to spearhead improvement on the field this season.

Biggest negative change: In many circumstances, the departures of McVay, Garçon and Jackson would take the prize in this category but the winner has to be the departure of General Manager Scot McCloughan. The drama that was synonymous with the franchise quieted during McCloughan’s time in Washington, but it came back in full force with the awkwardly handled ouster of a guy who had done a lot to get the team back on track after the ugly end to the Mike Shanahan era. Doug Williams moved to the top of the football operations department, but it feels like the shift moved power back to president Bruce Allen when all was said and done.

Coaching thermometer: There’s no fire, but that doesn’t mean it’s chilly. Jay Gruden is 21-26-1 through three years in Washington and changes to a front office often come with coaching changes, especially if they aren’t sold on their starting quarterback. A rocky start will likely be accompanied by an uptick on Gruden’s thermostat.

We’d like to crack a beer with … Josh Norman. The cornerback isn’t shy about sharing his opinion under any circumstances, so we imagine it would make for an entertaining visit to share some cold ones while talking Odell Beckham, Dez Bryant and anything else that comes to mind.

How they can prove us wrong: They won the division in 2015 and, as mentioned, weren’t far away from the playoffs last year so it doesn’t feel far-fetched that Washington could find themselves in the mix. For starters, the new faces on defense will have take to Manusky’s vow to be more aggressive and Josh Doctson and Terrelle Pryor will have prove to be capable replacements for the departed wideouts if the Redskins are going to contend in a deep NFC East.

63 responses to “PFT preseason power rankings No. 25: Washington Redskins

  1. A game away from missing the playoffs with pretty much everyone but Jackson and Garçon coming back and somehow they’re terrible now lol

  2. The NFC East has been a 4-team division for the last 15 seasons. The Redskins have finished 3rd or 4th for 12 of those years. Lucky number 13 is on deck.

  3. I can’t stand the Fighting DC’s, as in hope they go 0-16, but this ranking seems very low. Good QB playing for a contract, good coach with a fire under him, huge additions to a D that already had some nice pieces, loss of an inconsistent Garcon and MEsean Jackson…

  4. I think this offense is still as potent as it was, T Pryor is a monster and the addition of Perrine should help the run game. The offensive line has become one of the best units in football. Reed and Crowder are primed. The defense has some nice additions but has a lot to prove..

  5. The Cowboys are starting Jeff Heath at safety and have lost two important parts of the O line, yet you “experts” still give them the East, get out of here. The East is wide open and the Skins have a very capable roster to compete and win the division.

  6. “They won the division in 2015 and, as mentioned, weren’t far away from the playoffs last year so it doesn’t feel far-fetched that Washington could find themselves in the mix”….so lets put them at 25. In the mix seems like 25ish. Logic at its best!!

  7. Dan Synder has done an excellent job running the REDSKINS over the last few years.
    I’m glad to see that the REDSKINS are relevant again.

  8. Skins should definitely be higher in my opinion. Pryor is probably better than Jackson or Garcon. Jackson was injury prone and Garcon has clearly lost a step. Pryor was pretty good last year and had the Browns’ QBs throwing to him. Should be even better this year. Also Jonathan Allen could be a steal. Now it’s the Redskins and they fired the smartest person in the building so their window will be short after they begin making dumb moves again next offseason, but they should probably be ranked ahead of at least the Eagles in that division.

  9. The big question here is not if this team has talent, the question is, will they be motivated? Players are watching the qb go through negotiations with the team and come away with no certain future but just to play out the strings; not a good start to building a team in training camp.

  10. I’m a Cowboys fan and even I feel this ranking is low. ps nice to see PFT using the Redskins name again.

  11. BAHAHAHAH Redskins at 25…If you look at the offseason moves by the Skins..you would see it improved from top to bottom…Garcon/Jackson are 30 years old looking for one more contract…they got what they needed out of them.

  12. najacoo22 says:
    Jul 13, 2017 3:15 PM
    You’re telling me the Redskins are worse than the Bills? Please.
    ________________

    It’s not just the Bills PFT thinks they are worse than but 24 other teams, a dozen of whom were easily worse than the Skins last year. They do get a slightly tougher schedule this year exchanging the tough AFC West for last year’s pretty weak AFC North but the NFC West is weaker than last year’s NFC North. There’s just no way 24 other teams are going to finish ahead of the Skins, they should be ranked 12-15 at worst.

  13. I am not a Skins fan, but they are better than:
    Bills
    Lions
    Saints
    Buccaneers
    Eagles

  14. najacoo22 says:
    Jul 13, 2017 3:15 PM

    You’re telling me the Redskins are worse than the Bills? Please
    —————————————————-

    I was waiting for this. Thought TorontoJoe would be the one commenting though. Didn’t know the Skins were such a juggernaut to get so upset over someone’s opinion. Get over yourselves, you were 8-7-1 in a division without Brady and are not any better than the Bills, Fins, Tenn, Chargers or any other team you’re thinking of at this point.

  15. Your bias is showing……

    Wayyyy off. ~10th at best, ~20th at worst.

    Middle of the pack team…with potential to win a weakish division (my call…Cowboys flop this year).

  16. You should really just break it down into groups. You have a bad group with no chance, a mediocre group that should be average to a possible playoff team, a good group you expect to make the playoffs, and then you have the Pats in a league of their own.

    Bad: Rams, 9ers, Bears, Colts, Jaguars, Browns, Bills, Jets
    Mediocre: Redskins, Cowboys, Eagles, Giants, Saints, Panthers, Bucs, Cardinals, Lions, Texans, Titans, Bengals, Ravens, Chargers, Chiefs, Broncos, Dolphins
    Good: Falcons, Seahawks, Vikings, Packers, Steelers, Raiders
    Patriots: Patriots

  17. Gotta say I’m pretty surprised about this ranking. Sure they lost Garcon and Jackson and those are notable losses. But they still have Kirk Cousins, Jordan Reed, Josh Norman, Trent Williams, etc. They destroyed the Packers at home and were 1 game away from making the post season. I’d have them around 16ish.

  18. Imagine how terrific and bright this team’s future would look, with it’s personnel, and trajectory, if they had extended General Manager Scot McCloughan’s contract, and pushed Bruce Allen out.

  19. Do you guys coordinate these rankings? You’re rationale makes zero sense. How is the GM going to affect this seasons record at this point?

  20. Jay Gruden is 21-26-1 through three years in Washington
    _________________________________

    On the surface that record doesn’t look impressive, but Jay’s first year, when he went 4-12, he took over a Shanahan team that went 3-13 the year before.

    The last two years, the Skins went 9-7 with a division win, a playoff appearance, and 8-7-1 last season. Jay has made progress, considering he’s the first Redskins coach in over 20 years that has put together two +.500 seasons in a row.

    This ranking makes zero since at all. The last two years they’ve been over .500. Even if they don’t improve and end up at .500, that’s enough to put them drafting in the middle of the first round, which would indicate they would be ranked around the 15th range….assuming they don’t improve at all.

  21. Haha that’s a joke. Just because they can’t sign there QB Long term and media thinks the team is dysfuctional doesn’t mean there roster isn’t talented. They will franchise Kirk in 2018 so we have atleast 2 years with him and they have depth and talented players at every position. The Redskins are a TOP 12 playoff team. Should be in top 12. Looks like the past few drafts are starting to payoff…

  22. Thank you, Josh, for calling this team by its proper name! I would rank my ‘Skins at 17. 25 is too low.

  23. 25 sounds about right. There’s no way that Cousins will have the arm and brains to overcome the losses of the two high quality WRs.

    Certainly they will vie with Philly for 3rd & 4th places in the NFC East. Whether or not that would qualify them for #25 would be a function of how well other 3rd or 4th place teams play: Jaguars, Saints, Colts, Lions, Bills, Chargers, Rams, Vikings, Bengals etc will “vie” for the #25 spot. At least the Danny Snyders should come out better than the 49rs, Browns, and Jets.

  24. Whoever compiled this list needs another job, or take lessons on unbiased reporting.

  25. “Homers maybe, dummies not so much.”

    The fact you support a team owned by Dan Snyder says otherwise.

  26. Those two franchise tags have resulted in pretty good paydays the last two years for Kirk Cousins. He’s laughing all the way to the bank.

  27. I am an Eagles fan and this ranking is too low. Cousins is playing for them this year (unless they pull of a last minute trade) and that alone gets them into the top 20. As far as their future, who knows but putting this team behind the Goff led Rams-no way

  28. I feel like Rodney Dangerfield in Caddy Shack. “I don’t get no respect!”

    And by “I”, I mean the Redskins. At least they used the name though #silverlinings #blessed

  29. Thanks Josh for using the Redskins proper name. 25 is way too low and I think by the end of this season when they are deep in the playoffs even Mr F will reconsider his silly stance on the name.
    The Redskins were only a marginal better defense from winning the division last year and they have made some good moves in that direction.
    HTTR
    Redskins, Redskins!

  30. posts re: placing the redskins too low? this is the redskins we’re talking about – a mediocre qb, a middling owner, and off-the-field distractions all season/every season. the shoe fits.

  31. They’ll face the Seahawks, Raiders, Chiefs, Broncos, Cardinals and Chargers, with tough enough games with the Rams and Saints. Not to mention 2 games each against Giants and Cowboys, playoff teams from last year.

    This ranking will reflect where they sit at season’s end

  32. nhpats says:
    Jul 13, 2017 3:34 PM
    The Redskins have to be better than the Bills, Bengals, Chargers, and Vikings at a minimum….
    ——————

    Whoa now. Better than the Bengals? Lol no. The Bengals had a rash of injuries and were working in a slew of new coaches. The injuries are healed up, and the coaches have a year of experience under their belt. If you expect 6-9-1 again, prepare to be surprised. That team is too loaded with talent to go down like that.

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