Best- and worst-case scenarios for the 2014 Redskins


Andre Roberts and the new additions could swing things in a good direction for Washington. (Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post)
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In the special preview section that came out in print and online today, we tapped a few of our favorite bloggers (and me) to forecast how this season would look if everything went as well as they could imagine, and the opposite. Thomas Boswell sent along his forecast as well, and we’ll include it below, there’s a Post Sports Live clip with a handful of predictions for the season, plus yesterday’s roundup of the national media’s outlook for the season.

We had a little fun with the scenarios, and encourage you to do the same down in the comments section.

Best-case scenarios

Dan Steinberg: RGIII keeps the turnovers in check, RGIII gets the offense down, RGIII involves all the varied receivers, RGIII limits himself to 10 social media slogans, RGIII is not the focus of First Take more than once a week, RGIII does not feud with his coaches, and the defense plays well. The Redskins take advantage of a weak division and four games against the AFC South to win nine games and sneak into the playoffs as a wild card.

Scott Allen: Robert Griffin III makes everyone forget about the preseason in Week 1 when he steps out of bounds to avoid a hit by Jadeveon Clowney and, one play later, finds DeSean Jackson for a touchdown on a seven-step drop. Jackson and Pierre Garcon both eclipse 1,000 yards, Jordan Reed justifies his inclusion on every fantasy football sleeper/‘breakout list and Alfred Morris matches his rookie-year numbers. The additions of Jason Hatcher and Trent Murphy help the Redskins’ improved defense lead the league in sacks, and it translates to an NFC East title.

Keith McMillan: Jay Gruden, Griffin and Jackson were playing it coy with a dumbed-down preseason offense. By the time defenses figure out how to stop Jackson deep and Garcon, Reed and Andre Roberts intermediate, Morris is gashing them for six yards a pop, Roy Helu Jr. is resembling Gio Bernard and Griffin is getting out of bounds after scooting for first downs. When Philadelphia’s LeSean McCoy and Nick Foles are injured, Washington cruises to a division title. Seattle and San Francisco lose early in the playoffs, and Detroit is no match in a 41-10 NFC title game win. Gleeful at the Super Bowl appearance, Daniel Snyder and Mike Wise make nice, and a team-name compromise is reached.

Des Bieler: It turns out Griffin’s preseason struggles were nothing more than the result of game plans more vanilla than Robert Van Winkle. It also turns out the Eagles overachieved last season, and the Cowboys and Giants are flat-out terrible, leaving the Redskins as NFC East winners with an 11-5 record. Washington’s cause is greatly aided by David Amerson’s development into the league’s next top ‘tall’ cornerback, flaunting some of Richard Sherman’s dominance but none of the Seahawk’s annoying personality.

Mark Bullock: Griffin and the offense click right from the start and the defense gets timely turnovers, rather similar to Griffin’s rookie season. In a weak NFC East, 9-7 might be enough to get them to the playoffs.

Thomas Boswell: Best case is 5-11 … because that’s exactly what they ended up averaging with every new Snyder coach – Spurrier, Zorn Shanahan – who was not named Gibbs. They’re better this year.

Worst-case scenarios

Dan Steinberg: The preseason turns out actually to mean something. The offense again struggles with turnovers and pass protection. The 2014 secondary resembles the 2013 secondary. Washington goes 0 for 4 against the powerful NFC West, can’t string wins together and stumbles to a 5-11 mark for the third time in nine years.

Scott Allen: Griffin stands tall in the pocket and lights up the Texans in Week 1, giving Bruce Allen the confidence he needs to trade Kirk Cousins to the Rams for a second-round pick. Griffin is injured fighting for extra yards in Week 2, leaving Colt McCoy to guide the offense. It does not go well. The defense isn’t nearly as dominant as it was in the preseason, and Washington stumbles to another 3-13 year. RedskinsFacts.com becomes the title sponsor of a college bowl game.

Keith McMillan: Griffin struggles, and the team makes a too-quick switch to Cousins in an attempt to keep the season on the rails. Cousins struggles too, but it’s too late to go back to Griffin because the benching ruined his confidence. Brandon Meriweather earns a permanent ban from the NFL after his next bang-bang tackle, leaving a hole in the defense. Despite the offseason cleansing, Washington is no better than it was last season. Losing all six NFC East games for a second year in a row is salt in the wound.

Des Bieler: Griffin continues to struggle as a pocket passer, even after the Redskins attempt to bolster his confidence by trading Kirk Cousins to the Rams. Fans get weekly reminders that maybe Kyle Shanahan knew what he was doing, as Johnny Manziel runs rings around defenses in the Browns’ version of the read-option offense. In fact, Jackson begins to speak openly about wishing he was in Cleveland, where “they know how to treat superstars like me and LeBron.” A wave of injuries hits the defense, lowlighted by Brian Orakpo’s hamstring injury suffered while getting faked out by Eli Manning, and Washington actually manages to be worse than it was in 2013 by posting a 2-14 record.

Mark Bullock: Griffin suffers a significant injury early on. Cousins is forced into action, which is a lose-lose situation for the Redskins. If he’s what the Redskins have always thought he was, a backup quarterback, they’ll have another top-10 draft pick. If he manages to lead them to 8-8, then you have a quarterback controversy on your hands.

Thomas Boswell: Worst case is 5-11. See above. Yes, they’re better this year … but not much.

Post Sports Live’s picks:

The Post Sports Live crew offers bold predictions for the Redskins record, team MVP and more. (Post Sports Live/The Washington Post)

Opening Kick engages regular readers with a morning conversation starter, quick observation or poll. Click here for previous installments.

More from The Post:

Griffin is healthy, has weapons and a coach. It’s all on him now

Wise: Back off, Griffin’s working here | Boswell on Griffin: ‘Stop hating’

Reid: Time for Orakpo to deliver | Wise: Haslett’s UFL stint saved NFL career

Clark, Hall consider skipping preseason | Redskins offensive outlook | Defense

More NFL: Home page | D.C. Sports Bog | The Early Lead | Fancy Stats | Fantasy

Follow: @MikeJonesWaPo | @lizclarketweet | @JReidPost | @Insider

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Mike Jones · September 2, 2014