The cycle of Redskins fandom usually goes something like this: bold optimism from April until July, hair-exploding-optimism in August, mild distress in September, building unhappiness in October, misery in November, jersey-burning anguish in December, a pledge never again to care in January, a pledge to be patient and forbearing in February and March, and then bold optimism again in April.
And thus, here’s DeSean Jackson, asked on ESPN 980 Friday afternoon which NFC East team is the team to beat, Redskins excluded.
“Well if you want to be political and say on paper, I think all the ESPN guys and all the bloggers will probably say the Dallas Cowboys,” Jackson told Kevin Sheehan. “But in my eyes, I already think we’re going to surprise a lot of people this year. I’ll say once again, I’m excited about the new additions that [have] come in. Really, we just have to kind of build a camaraderie. So once the season starts and we’re ahead full speed, I think we’re gonna surprise a lot of people, and a lot of people are really gonna be saying, ‘Wow, those guys are pretty good.’ So once the season starts — I’m not gonna put too much pressure on us — but I think we’ll be the team to beat this year.”
Today, the team to beat in the NFC East. By training camp, the team to beat in the known universe of football teams.
But seriously, Jackson’s most interesting comments came when Sheehan asked what changes we could expect to see in the Redskins offense.
“Just really going back to what [Robert Griffin III’s] good at doing,” Jackson said. “I can remember how he kind of killed us when I was with the Eagles, and I was like man, this guy’s amazing. He was a young quarterback. So whatever it is he needs to get back to — I’m not the offensive coordinator, I don’t control the offense — but whatever it is he’s comfortable at, where he can be himself and dish the ball off and run the ball if he needs to, just facilitate a full offense, whatever that is, hopefully we’re able to get back to that and let him get comfortable.
“Last year with Jay Gruden coming in and changing the offense around, that can be hard for any quarterback, especially a young quarterback,” Jackson said. “So I’m just hopeful that he’s able to get to an offense where he knows it like the back of his hand, and is just able to be a facilitator and know that he doesn’t have to do it all on himself, he has other teammates to help him. We’re here to make him look great, and vice versa. It goes back and forth. So hopefully we can just get back to that.”
Sheehan then suggested that the 2015 Redskins offense could contain elements used by Mike Shanahan’s 2012 team.
“Possibly,” Jackson said. “I don’t want to spill the beans to the world too much, but I definitely think you guys will have some interesting things to see this year. And I just look forward to training camp and the OTAs and doing everything we need to do to better our offense and better out team. So I definitely think you guys will see some things kind of similar to how he did when it was 2012 and the success he had there, taking them to the playoffs.”
Jackson then said the biggest key for Griffin will be not to get injured, not to have to sit out and then come back. He also said the team needs to have one quarterback and stick with him, not a trio of starters like it did last season. And he predicted that Griffin would be that man.
“I think it will be a friendly competition, but I still think RGIII will have the lead and I think he will still be the guy that gets the starting position from the go,” Jackson said. “Hopefully we don’t really have to go through what we went through last year as far as the quarterback position, have a firm solid position, and I think that would be RGIII.”