Our preseason special section is finished, which means it’ll be on the doorsteps of people who actually get the paper on Wednesday morning, and will be online sometime soon. In the meantime, here’s a sneak peek, a slightly longer version of one of the items in the section; Our roundup of national opinions on the team:
The Redskins were 3-13 last season, but cleaned house, added a bonafide NFL star (WR DeSean Jackson) and patched holes on defense and special teams. In addition, the competition in the NFC East isn’t exactly dominant. Does that mean national NFL writers are bullish on Washington’s chances?
Here’s what they wrote, with links to their full pieces.
Mark Maske, The Washington Post
NFC East order of finish
“The Shanahans, Mike and Kyle, are gone after a controversy-filled, three-win 2013 season, and first-year Coach Jay Gruden’s primary task is to bring out the best in [Robert] Griffin.”
Pat Kirwan, CBSSports.com
NFC East, W-L
New York, 8-8
“I spent time with RGIII this spring and I was so impressed about his focus and leadership. The defense will be better. This could be a surprise team.”
Nate Davis, USA Today
NFC East, W-L
New York, 6-10
“If the line and RGIII’s knee hold up, this offense will be hard to slow, but defense may be year away.”
ESPN.com NFL Nation
NFC East, W-L
New York, 9-7
These picks are made independently by team beat writers, and only the Raiders (5-11) and Browns (6-10) writers predict fewer than seven wins. In fact, everyone else but the Bills, Jaguars and Redskins is picked to be .500 or better.
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NFL.com writers who pick Washington to win the division. Nine of them pick Philadelphia, and Michael Silver admits his pick is irrational, but says it’s Dallas’s time.
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Writers from Sports Illustrated’s MMQB who picked Washington to win the division. All six pick Philadelphia, and none see the NFC East champ advancing so far as the NFC championship game.
21st of 32
Redskins’ place in league-wide rankings by Bob Glauber of Newsday
In Maske’s power rankings.
“Jay Gruden was brought in to fix Robert Griffin III. The early returns during the preseason weren’t promising. It’s a situation that calls for patience and calm, commodities that usually have not been found in abundance at or around Redskins Park.”
In rankings by Greg Cote of the Miami Herald.
Dave Dameshek of NFL.com picks Griffin as his comeback player of the year:
“Forget all the hooey and applesauce about Kirk Cousins and instead remember just how good RGIII was in 2012. Now, with his knee rehabbed and new target DeSean Jackson in the fold, it’s hard to see Griffin not putting up good numbers this year.”
So does NFL.com‘s Chris Wesseling:
“The preseason results aren’t pretty, but RGIII has the talent and the weapons to turn the Redskins around.”
MMQB’s Peter King mentions tight end Jordan Reed as one of three under-the-radar players who becomes a star.
MMQB’s Robert Klemko picks Washington as his most intriguing story line:
“New coach, new star wideout, and a new knee for Robert Griffin III in Washington. In 2012, RG3 was arguably the most electric rookie to break into the NFL in a decade, and now you wonder if he can last anything close to a decade in the league. If healthy, Griffin, along with a sexy offensive core comprised of DeSean Jackson, Trent Williams, Alfred Morris and Jordan Reed, should put Washington back in the playoff conversation after going 3-13 last season.”
Opening Kick engages regular readers with a morning conversation starter, quick observation or poll. Click here for previous installments.
Post Sports Live’s picks:
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