We’ll start this weekly look at where the Redskins stand by glancing at where they finished last year and a look ahead at what’s coming.
2013 Record: 3-13, fourth place in NFC East
vs. NFC East: 0-6
vs. NFC: 1-11
vs. AFC: 2-2
Offense (yards/game): 9
Defense (yards/game): 18
Point differential: -144
Passer rating offense: 76.1 (23rd)
Opp passer rating: 96.1 (27th)
Yards/rush attempt: 4.8 (3rd)
Opp. yards/rush attempt: 4.0 (13th)
2013 Offensive MVP: Pierre Garçon broke the team record for receptions in a season with 113. He was the one consistent target for Robert Griffin III, who would have been in a world of hurt without Garçon. Honorable mentions go to left tackle Trent Williams, who continues to evolve into one of the best in the game, and running back Alfred Morris, whose encore season highly productive if not as spectacular as his rookie year.
2013 Defensive MVP: For the first time since his rookie 2009 season Brian Orakpo hit the elusive double-digit sack total. He finished with 10 and got his first career interception and touchdown on the same play with a 29-yard return against the Bears. Honorable mention for DeAngelo Hall, who had two pick sixes and a fumble return for a touchdown.
Top three storylines:
The debut of Jay Gruden—After toiling in the Arena Football League and in the UFL, Gruden gets his shot at the big time at the age of 47. He is known for his creative offensive schemes and he seems to be a good fit for the job. But we won’t know for a while if he will be successful.
Griffin’s struggles—The Redskins’ quarterback seemed hesitant and indecisive at time in training camp and it carried over into the preseason games. He is learning a new offense in addition to adjusting to Gruden’s fiat that he has to become more of a pocket passer and less of a running quarterback. It’s a work in progress.
Attacking on defense—The team surprisingly decided to retain Jim Haslett as the defensive coordinator. The spin is that he will be able to do things his way without interference from former coach Mike Shanahan. The more aggressive scheme showed some fruit in the preseason as the team recorded 13 sacks. But that doesn’t mean anything now that the games count and we will have to see how it works out.
First three games
Sunday @ Texans (2-14)—Washington opens up against the only team that finished 2013 with a worse record. But Houston has plenty of top-notch players like wide receiver Andre Johnson, $100 million defensive end J. J. Watt, running back Arian Foster, and top draft pick Jadeveon Clowney.
Sept. 14 vs. Jaguars (4-12)—The Jags have improved to the point where they can’t be taken for granted (not that a team that went 3-13 should take anyone lightly). For some reason they will start Chad Henne at quarterback and leave top draft pick Blake Bortles, who looked very ready to play from what we saw of him in the preseason.
Sept. 21 @ Eagles (10-6)—The headline will be the return of DeSean Jackson. The most important dimension here, however, is the need for the Redskins to show that the can play with their division rivals after two mostly uncompetitive games against them last year.