Since General Manager Scot McCloughan was hired in early January, he’s been busy retooling the Redskins’ roster via free agency and preparing for the 2015 draft. So far, he’s received mostly positive reviews. But his work is far from done. In the coming weeks, Redskins Insiders Tarik El-Bashir and Rich Tandler will examine 25 issues that must be addressed as the offseason kicks into high gear.
What will the Redskins’ record be in 2015?
In the first 24 questions of this series we have mostly looked at the details of the 2015 Redskins—how the coaches will do, who will play, who will improve, who should be replaced. To wrap it up, we’re going to look at the big picture. What will their 2015 record be and how will they get there?
Tandler: The schedule makers did the Redskins something of a favor in the early going, giving them a pre-bye schedule consisting of seven games with no opponents that made the 2014 playoffs. Only two of the opponents have top-shelf quarterbacks (Giants’ Eli Manning and Falcons’ Matt Ryan) and only the Jets and Dolphins finished in the top half of league in total defense. That gives Washington an opportunity to get off to a good start. You can’t really call it “easy” because nothing is easy for a team with seven wins in the last two years. But they can take advantage of that if they can get competent quarterback play from Robert Griffin III and if the defense can improve from awful to average. A 5-2 start is probably unrealistic but going into the bye at 4-3 is not. The going gets tougher immediately after the bye with a trip to Foxboro to play the Patriots. That’s a sign that will not be quite as much fun in November and December with two games against the Cowboys, with home games with the dangerous Saints and improving Bills and a mid-December trip to Chicago. The Redskins will scrap, their improving defense will keep them in a lot of games, but they will fall short. Put them down for 2-7 in their last nine games, adding up to a 6-10 record. Offensive MVP: DeSean Jackson Defensive MVP: Keenan Robinson Quarterback: Griffin starts 13 games and plays well enough to warrant talk of a contract extension Surprise development: Someone who is not Alfred Morris, perhaps Silas Redd, perhaps a draft pick, leads the team in rushing
El-Bashir: If new GM Scot McCloughan is allowed to do his job, I suspect he’ll get the franchise pointed in the right direction. But it’s going to take time to lay the foundation. Ownership must exercise patience. Ditto for the fans. I’ve been saying for weeks that six to eight wins (I’m leaning toward the lower end) would constitute decent progress in McCloughan’s first year. I also agree with Tandler’s assessment regarding the front end of the schedule. It’s not easy by any stretch, but it wouldn’t be impossible to pick up three or four wins before the bye, either. The Rams, Falcons, Jets and Bucs shouldn’t scare anyone. The backside of the schedule, well, that’s a whole different story. Brady and the Pats in Foxboro right off the bat. That’s followed up by Drew Brees and the Saints and Cam Newton and the Panthers. And that’s not even where I really see things potentially going sideways. The schedule makers did the Redskins no favors down the home stretch—at the Bears (on Dec. 13), home against the Bills and then at the Eagles and at the Cowboys, a pair of division rivals that figure to be slugging it out for a playoff berth. Again, getting to six wins will show progress. Seven or eight wins would be a bonus. Anything less than six wins, however, and everyone will need to watch out. Because McCloughan won’t need to do any explaining if he blows the whole thing up. Offensive MVP: Left tackle Trent Williams earns a fourth straight Pro Bowl appearance, justifying a huge contract extension. Defensive MVP: Cornerback Chris Culliver records a career-high five interceptions. Quarterback: Robert Griffin III starts 15 games and shows meaningful improvement. Surprise development: Jordan Reed stays healthy, catches a career-best 70 passes and flirts with 800 yards receiving.
What are your predictions for the 2015 Redskins? Let us know in the comments.
25 questions series
- Who will replace Brian Orakpo?
- Can Pierre Garçon bounce back to his 2013 production?
- What will the Redskins do at right tackle?
- Can Hatcher put up double-digit sacks?
- Do the Redskins need more depth at running back?
- Will the rushing attack look different with Callahan?
- What can the Redskins expect from Jordan Reed?
- What to expect from the draft class of 2014
- What will the cornerback depth chart look like?
- A challenger for Kai Forbath?
- Who will start at right guard?
- Are the Redskins set at safety?
- How long will it take Scot McCloughan to build a winner?
- What should we expect from Joe Barry’s defense?
- Should the Redskins find a new kick returner?
- What will a successful 2015 season look like?
- Can we expect more special teams improvement?
- Who will be the third down back?
- What will the QB depth chart look like
- Can RG3 hold on to the starting QB job?
- Can they improve their turnover ratio?
- Can they get to the top 10 in sacks?
- Will the Redskins become “tough in the trenches”?
- Should the Redskins focus on offense or defense in the draft?