Hallelujah. Praise be to God, for the NFL season begins in only six short days. After so many weeks spent in this wasteland of an NFL offseason, it’s safe to say that my Washington Redskins have gone through some instrumental changes.
Since my July article entitled ‘Washington Redskins Season Expectations’, the claim that the situation in Washington has changed would be a slight understatement. With such little time to go until the 2018/2019 NFL season officially kicks off, what better time is there for some typical Norris season predictions which will almost certainly prove to be incorrect?
I can almost feel your excitement through the screen. If you can contain yourself, I’ll continue.
Defense Wins Games
It’s safe to say that since the heart-wrenching injury to Derrius Guice, my excitement for the Redskins offense has waned- but that’s a matter for a whole different heading. The point is, this has allowed more emphasis to be placed upon the new-look Redskins defense. And boy, it looks good this year.
In my previous article I remarked upon the importance that such rookies as Da’Ron Payne and Tim Settle would have for the ‘Skins. Preseason and training camp have only proved this idea, as Washington look to become a formidable force for opposing offenses. Jonathan Allen and Matthew Ioannidis produce the threat on the edge, with Payne and Settle, who has far outplayed his fifth-round selection, filling the hole in the center of the line. What’s not to love? Washington often suffered due to their sub-par run-defense last year, but this looks set to change in the new season.
Redskins Run-Game Falls Short
As was said in the twenty-first verse in the first chapter of the Book of Job, ‘The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away’. In no situation does this statement ring true more than that of Derrius Guice. This injury left the team with the healthy prospect of Samaje ‘Three Y-P-C’ Perine and Rob ‘Slightly Better Y-P-C’ Kelley as the main backfield prospects- Chris Thompson taking the role of a pass-catching back rather than as a feature-back. As a result, Washington acquired a little known veteran running-back. A true professional out of Oklahoma, what was his name again? Oh yeah, Adrian Peterson.
Peterson, who is only thirty-seven yards away from being top-ten in career rushing-yards, looks to be the primary back entering the new season. Peterson showed some signs of brilliance throughout his tenure with the Arizona Cardinals, but at the ripe age of thirty-three, I doubt he can retain any sort of valuable contribution for a whole season. Unless he can replicate his 2012 form, I don’t see anything spectacular from our running-game this year.
Wide-Receivers Make the Jump
Throughout the 2017/2018 season, the Washington Redskins’ wideouts were one of the more frustrating position-groups for the team. Slot receiver Jamison Crowder flopped after a promising 2016/2017 season, with former first-round receiver Josh Doctson again not living up to his early draft position. Tight end Jordan Reed suffered through another year where injury prevented him from reaching his full potential. This trend is set to end in this new NFL season. Crowder has looked much better in training camp and pre-season, with free-agent signing Paul Richardson looking to fill the crucial position held by Desean Jackson two seasons ago. This season is surely make-or-break for Doctson, who desperately needs to prove his value to the team- a player in dire need to perform often performs well. Jordan Reed has apparently shaken his nagging toe-injury, and I am also a huge fan of SMU record-holding receiver and the 2018 NFL Draft’s Mr Irrelevant Trey Quinn, who could become a sneakily impressive player for the Redskins this season. With all these positives, and 2017/2018 NFL MVP candidate Alex Smith calling the plays, the Redskins receiving corps looks like a force to be reckoned with this season.
The answer to whether any of these predictions will come true lies only four months away. Jon Gruden has built this team over the past four years. Now it’s time to finally reap the rewards.