Let me say this right off the bat: John Beck is completely unfit to start in this league. Rex Grossman, on the other hand, is actually a startable player. Ideally, you don’t want him to have to be “the guy”, but Grossman is one of the league’s better backups. I think he’s going to be the starter when week 1 rolls around, and offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan has a strange affinity for Grossman.
I don’t have high hopes for the ‘Skins offensively at all. Santana Moss is a very good wideout, but the players around him don’t necessary ease off that much pressure. Anthony Armstrong, Leonard Hankerson, Donte Stallworth, and Jabar Gaffney are all mediocre to subpar receivers. Chris Cooley is overrated right now, and he’s taking too many targets away from the guy who is actually the best tight end on the roster; Fred Davis.
The Redskins will and should run a lot of 2 TE sets. I only see two decent players on their offensive line, and both of those guys were signed as free agents. Sean Locklear will be Trent Williams’s backup, but he could spell him if Williams keeps on playing this poorly in pass protection. I doubt that happens, but Locklear could still beat out Jammal Brown at right tackle. Although Locklear is a very good pass blocker, his run blocking is so bad that it makes him only “pretty good”. Chris Chester is a slightly above average guard, and you know what you’re going to get out of him.
As far as the running game goes, the ‘Skins have six backs who can get carries. Tim Hightower can be a feature back if he cuts down on his huge fumble problems, Ryan Torain is as solid as you can get at the position, Keiland Williams can make plays a pass-catcher, James Davis looks like the odd man out despite not having as much of a chance as the others, Roy Helu is a solid all-around back who can make an impact as a rookie and fits the system well, and Evan Royster is one of my favorite rookies. I’m a big Penn State fan, and he was certainly great in college. I think he can make the transition to the NFL and be a solid back. Royster is efficient, can catch, and will be a good change-of-pace back. Nearly every scout calls him an efficient runner.
The defensive line was revamped, and the unnamed disgruntle star has been traded away. The ‘Skins have replaced him with Barry Cofield; a solid defensive tackle who has a high motor and plays the run very well. He’s definitely not an explosive player and is Bizzaro Albert. Stephen Bowen was huge for the Cowboys last year, and the ‘Skins did well to sign him away from their rivals. I can’t wait to see who wins the battle between Bowen and Doug Free. Adam Carriker is another underrated end, and he is a very hard-worker who can dominate against the run. He’s a poor pass rusher, but that’s why they have Kerrigan and Orakpo.
Speaking of which, Brian Orakpo is now considered a “veteran leader” in only his third season. That says a lot about the roster turnover in Washington from year to year. He and rookie Ryan Kerrigan are two impact pass rushers who will wreak havoc on opposing backfields. London Fletcher is London Fletcher, there’s really no way to describe how influential he is, and Rocky McIntosh is a solid linebacker who makes tackles. Backup outside linebacker Lorenzo Alexander is underrated and can make plays in run D. The ‘Skins have a good group of linebackers, and they are the strength of this team.
Josh Wilson has to be the Redskins’ best signing of the offseason. He’s a shutdown corner who definitely deserves some more props. He’s better than the overrated DeAngelo Hall who is a gambler. But besides those two, there are no other corners that you can at least call “average”. Phillip Buchanon? Really?
LaRon Landry and O.J. Atogwe are impact safeties, and they are going to be a dynamic tandem. Landry will make plays in the box, and Atogwe will use his tremendous ball skills to play up top. Reed Doughty is a good backup who is smart and a sound tackler, but he really isn’t skilled and can get beat easily in coverage. He’s a useful player who can start when called upon, but Doughty does have his weaknesses.
The Redskins were uncharacteristically good this offseason. They didn’t throw money around on overpriced commodities, and they spent that money on players who can come in and produce. I really like them defensively, but they are a 6-10 team because their offense is going to be terrible. Let’s face it, without a competent offense you can’t go very far in today’s game.