Everyone is excited about the Washington Redskins. Quarterback Robert Griffin III is on the cover of Sports Illustrated magazine, and some football experts are predicting a big season for the team.
As the Redskins get ready for Monday night’s season opener against the Philadelphia Eagles, fans are wondering whether Washington’s team is worth all the hype. Let’s take a look.
Quarterback: The big question is whether RGIII can bounce back from his offseason knee surgery. The doctors say he is ready to go. Coach Mike Shanahan plans to change the Redskins’ offense so Griffin will not run as often as he did last season. Hopefully, that will keep him healthy.
But will Griffin and the offense be as effective if Griffin doesn’t run? My guess is that RGIII is such a special player, he can beat most teams with his arm and his head.
Offensive line: For the first time in years, the line seems solid. Everyone returns from last year’s group that helped the team gain a National Football League-best 2,709 yards on the ground. If the players stay healthy, the line should be fine.
Runners and receivers: Running back Alfred Morris was almost as good as RGIII last season. The surprise rookie runner gained a team record 1,613 yards. Roy Helu looked terrific in the preseason. He should give Morris a breather on some plays.
Washington’s wide receivers should be better now that Pierre Garcon is healthy and ready to go full speed. Keep an eye on reserve receiver Aldrick Robinson. The second-year man from Southern Methodist University has speed to burn.
Defense: Here is where Washington fans had better worry. The defense was ranked 28th (out of 32 NFL teams) overall last season and 30th against the pass. Linebacker and pass rusher Brian Orakpo is back from a season-ending injury. That should help.
But the Washington defensive backs are below average. Washington will be forced to use rookies Bacarri Rambo and David Amerson to shore up their shaky secondary.
The Redskins’ pass defense will be tested early and often. Look at the list of top-flight starting quarterbacks (along with their teams) Washington will play in the first half of the season:
●Aaron Rodgers (Green Bay Packers)
●Matthew Stafford (Detroit Lions)
●Tony Romo (Dallas Cowboys)
●Peyton Manning (Denver Broncos)
●Philip Rivers (San Diego Chargers)
The Redskins’ defenders had better be fast learners.
Prediction: The Redskins should put plenty of points on the board as long as Griffin stays healthy. But the team might give up lots of points, too. Washington will be fun to watch but will have to be lucky to improve on last year’s 10-6 record.
Fred Bowen writes the sports opinion column for KidsPost. He is the author of 19 sports books for kids, including “Quarterback Season.”