NFL 2014 Preview – Washington

Coming off a disastrous 2013 season, Robert Griffin III and the Washington NFL franchise are looking to rebound.  New coach Jay Gruden will try to turn things around.

 

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Coming off a disastrous 2013 season, Robert Griffin III and the Washington NFL franchise are looking to rebound.  New coach Jay Gruden will try to turn things around.

Washington will only be as good as its quarterback play again this year.  Last season, Griffin probably came back too soon from his ACL injury; he struggled mightily as a result.  With another year removed from the injury, Griffin will be more physically and mentally ready for the rigors that come with an NFL season.

Fortunately, Griffin will have more help than ever.  After being waived by Philadelphia, new wide receiver signee DeSean Jackson has much to prove.  That he was signed by a team which plays in the same division as his former squad helps his motivation.  Jackson pairs with Pierre Garçon to form a deadly combination on the outside.  Tight end Jordan Reed has the talent to become a future Pro Bowler as well.

Running back Alfred Morris has been a rock for this team the past two seasons.  He’s become as reliable as any back in the league, but he will need to improve his receiving skills in this offense.  Roy Helu will also help out of the backfield.

Washington’s offensive line is solid on the left side, led by Pro Bowl left tackle Trent Williams.  Right tackle Tyler Polumbus, guards Chris Chester and Shawn Lauvao and center Kory Lichtensteiger round out the group.

Washington has some talent on defense but also has holes.  Outside linebackers Brian Orakpo and Ryan Kerrigan anchor the unit, forming one of the best pass rushing duos in the league.  Keenan Robinson and Perry Riley are projected to start at inside linebacker in the 3-4 scheme.

Free agent signee Jason Hatcher greatly bolsters the team’s defensive line.  Hatcher had a huge season for the Dallas Cowboys and is another intra-division acquisition for Washington.  Barry Cofield will occupy the middle at nose guard.

Washington’s secondary has been inconsistent at best, but safety Ryan Clark’s arrival from Pittsburgh should help.  Clark and Brandon Merriweather make a hard-hitting safety tandem.  The playmaking DeAngelo Hall is the team’s most talented corner.  Meanwhile, David Amerson will start at the other corner.

Washington currently stands at 66-1 to win the Super Bowl and 33-1 to win the NFC.  The team is projected to have the 17th toughest schedule (.490 opponents’ win percentage).