WASHINGTON REDSKINS (7-9) OPEN CAMP: July 26, Richmond, Virginia LAST YEAR: Injuries, ineffective running game and porous run defense derailed playoff hopes. Nine starters were on injured reserve by end of season, including left tackle…
WASHINGTON REDSKINS (7-9)
OPEN CAMP: July 26, Richmond, Virginia
LAST YEAR: Injuries, ineffective running game and porous run defense derailed playoff hopes. Nine starters were on injured reserve by end of season, including left tackle Trent Williams, tight end Jordan Reed, and linebacker Mason Foster. Quarterback Kirk Cousins surpassed 4,000 yards for third straight year, threw for 27 touchdowns and ran for four, but had three interceptions in season finale that turned out to be final game with team. Blowing 31-16 lead at New Orleans in November ended realistic postseason hopes before Thanksgiving. Receiver Josh Doctson showed hope for future with 35 catches for 502 yards and team-high six TDs. First-round pick Jonathan Allen flashed elite ability on defensive line before foot injury halted season five games in. Defense allowed 348 yards and 24 points per game. Offense couldn’t keep up while down several key weapons.
IMPORTANT ADDITIONS: QB Alex Smith, WR Paul Richardson, LB Pernell McPhee, CB Orlando Scandrick, rookie RB Derrius Guice, rookie DL Daron Payne.
IMPORTANT LOSSES: Cousins, WR Terrelle Pryor, WR Ryan Grant, TE Niles Paul, C Spencer Long, LB Will Compton, CB Kendall Fuller, CB Bashaud Breeland.
CAMP NEEDS: Sort out crowded field of running backs that includes Guice, previous starter Robert Kelley, Chris Thompson, and 2017 fourth-round pick Samaje Perine. Guice has talent and pedigree to emerge as feature back. Smith must get on same page with coach Jay Gruden and develop chemistry with Reed, Doctson, Jamison Crowder and rest of targets after years of them working with Cousins. Williams will get opportunity to show he’s healthy after surgery to repair torn tendon in right knee. On defense, Scandrick will compete with Fabian Moreau and Quinton Dunbar for starting spot along with Josh Norman. Three days of joint workouts with Jets after two camps without outside competition should help Redskins prepare better than years past.
EXPECTATIONS: Winning season is realistic if Smith is as good as or better than Cousins and running game gets on track. Defense should be better with Alabama products Allen and Payne and return of Brown. Best case is competition for playoff spot behind NFC East favorite Philadelphia, while worst case is significant step back that endangers Gruden’s long-term job security.
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