Will Redskins’ RGIII keep pace in NFC East this season?

San Francisco 49ers v Washington RedskinsThe Redskins came out of the 2014 season with more questions than answers. After a grueling 4-12 season, more often than not those questions circled around the quarterback position with many people pointing fingers at Robert Griffin III.

After getting benched for backup Colt McCoy and an off-season of reports saying he was highly unlikely to return to the team, RGIII is back in Washington to start the season. However, after the first preseason game he is on the sideline again with a concussion. With or without RGIII, many fans are currently asking themselves what to expect from the team this season.

On the offensive side of the ball, the Redskins are returning a number of veterans to the starting 11. In the “skill” positions, whoever is under center will have DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon to throw to. This will help keep the quarterbacks throwing with confidence.

Running back Alfred Morris is also returning and looking for his 3rd 1,000+ yard rushing season in his 3rd NFL season. However, there is a major problem with the offensive line, and it looks like the switch to new Offensive Line Coach Bill Callahan hasn’t made much of an impact yet.

In each of their 3 preseason games the quarterbacks have been under heavy pressure and don’t get any time. This may allow them to skate by in preseason, but if things don’t change once the regular season comes around and the “vanilla” preseason defensive schemes upgrade to much more complex ones, a lot more interceptions and sacks can be expected.

Defensively, the Redskins have looked alright in the preseason. The loss of OLB Brian Orakpo and safety Ryan Clark left huge holes in an already gaping defense. However, OLB Trent Murphy is looking like a viable candidate to fill Orakpo’s shoes, and DL Ryan Kerrigan will return from an offseason knee surgery stronger than ever.

The secondary has been terrible in Washington for some time, and while the addition of CB Chris Culliver may help, it will not be enough to turn around the 24th ranked passing defense. On a positive note, the Redskins’ 1st string defense held the Browns’ 1st team offense to 0 points in an entire quarter of football. So while many will be skeptical, this defense can hold up well enough to win ballgames.

When looking at the schedule for the ‘Skins, it is not a favorable one. They open up at home vs. the Miami Dolphins and a revamped Dolphin defense led by the cheap-shooting DL Ndamukong Suh. They will then get the Rams at home where new QB Nick Foles will be looking to prove his worth against a shaky secondary. There will be Division Rivalry during Week 4 when the Philadelphia Eagles come into town and it’s “win or go home” time for Chip Kelly. They will also see the Patriots, Saints, Eagles, and Cowboys (twice) in the back half of the season.

MY PREDICTION: RGIII will fail to find his feet, turning the starting spot over to Colt McCoy. The offensive line will struggle and the offense will rely heavily on Alfred Morris. The defense will return improved this season under new Defensive Coordinator Joe Barry, but the secondary will continue to be the downfall and will not be able to jump over the better Eagles, Giants, and Cowboys.

Be on the lookout for their first game on Sunday, September 13th at 1 p.m. against the Dolphins. It will give the first look into whether or not the Redskins will fall victim to their consistent losing season record once again this season.

Record: 6-10, 4th in Division

-Blake Saathoff ’17, Junior Sports Editor

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