Since free agency opened March 10, front offices around the league have been busy retooling rosters and prepping for the upcoming season. Here at CSNWashington.com, we’ve kept a watchful eye on the moves made by teams that appear on the Redskins’ 2015 schedule. Who’s gotten better? Who’s slipped a bit? Let’s take a closer look.
Up today …
St. Louis Rams (Week 2).
2014 record: 6-10.
Key additions: QB Nick Foles (Eagles), DT Nick Fairley (Lions), RB Todd Gurley (1st round pick) and OLB Akeem Ayers (Patriots).
Key departures: QB Sam Bradford (Eagles), QB Shaun Hill (Vikings), DT Kendall Langford (Colts) OT Joe Barksdale (Chargers) and OT Jake Long (unsigned) and G Davin Joseph (unsigned).
Best move: Signing 6-foot-4, 308-pound defensive tackle Fairley to a one-year ‘prove it’ contract that could be worth as much as $7.5 million. Fairley joins an already formidable front that also features Aaron Donald, Michael Brockers, Robert Quinn and Chris Long.
What it all means for the Redskins: A week after hosting the Dolphins’ dominant duo of Ndamukong Suh and Cameron Wake, things don’t get any easier for Robert Griffin III and the Redskins’ revamped offensive line. Because, on paper, the Rams boast one of the NFL’s deepest defensive lines.
In fact, Donald, Quinn, Eugene Sims, Brockers and Williams Hayes combined for a total 28.5 sacks in 2014. For comparison’s sake, the Redskins’ defensive line amassed 10.5 sacks last season.
But the Rams, who haven’t produced a winning season since 2003, have vulnerabilities. And one of them figures to be an offensive line that could feature a pair of rookies on the right side and a first-year starter at center. Because of that, you can be sure Joe Barry’s game plan will revolve around exploiting St. Louis’ inexperience up front and harassing Foles, who performed below average under pressure last season, according to ProFootballFocus.com. The Rams also have a first-year offensive coordinator Frank Cignetti, who takes over a unit that produced a modest 20.3 points per game a year ago.
My prediction? The Redskins eke out a low-scoring victory on home turf.
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