The importance of this next season

           This upcoming NFL season is a big one for the Washington Redskins’ organization.  Why, you might ask. Well, looking back in the history of this crazy franchise, the last time they had back to back winning years was ’96 and ’97 where the team also went cousinsa combined 17-14-1. Which is just cuckoo to think that it has been 20 years since they last had back to back winning years, but you have to look even farther back to see when they had 3 straight winning years. The last time they had 3 straight winning years was back from the ’90 to ’92 season where they went a combined 33-15 with one Super Bowl win.

           This coming season will be a big one for the coaching staff and the players, because they have to prove grudenthat they can compete consistently. In this century, the Redskins have made the playoffs only 4 times with only one win coming back in ’05 under Joe
Gibbs. No coach has lasted long in D.C. under Snyder. The longest tenured coaches under this ownership are Joe Gibbs and Mike Shanahan, both coached 4 years with the team. Now Coach Gruden is about to start his 4th year at the helm joining those two. This coaching staff needs to prove that they can lead this team deep into the playoffs or they will be shown the door like so many coaches before them.gibbs

            Not only is this season important for the coaches, but it is also important to Kirk Cousins. As many know, the Redskins franchise tagged him for a second straight year.  The starting QB must prove that he is worth a big payday with smart football next year and help lead the team to the playoffs again but also must lead them deep. He also has to be careful with the ball especially in big time moments. Kirk has the talent to lead this team, but can he harness it and be the elite QB after showing a few flashes of brilliance.

           The biggest part of the team that needs a good year would be the defense as a whole. This year the team is on their 3rd defensive coordinator in the last 8 years. The best year this defense had in that time period would be 2011 when they ranked 13th in the league at 339.8 ypg.  Every other year since 2010 the teams defense has been toward the bottom of the league.

Year       Defensive            Avg ypg

                         Rank                       Allowed

2016       28th                         357

2015       28th                         381

2014       19th                         357

2013       17th                         354

2012       28th                         378

2011       13th                         340

2010       31st                         389

 

          The offense has had to keep the team in the game the last few years, thanks to the defense’s poor performance. The last two years for the offense they have been ranked 3rd this past year at 403.4 ypg and in 2015 they were ranked 17th with 353.8 ypg.

          No matter what, this team faces one of the biggest years that they will ever face. If this team has another losing season, many people will be out of a job, and then the team will be rebuilding once again and fans will not come to the game.  In the game against the Chiefs a few years ago under Shanahan less than half of the stadium was filled. They must find the formula to winning consistently, or they will lose more fans and lose support and the most important thing, money.

Is this the same ole Redskins in the free agency?

          On April 22, 2016 as many people in the sports world know, the Washington Redskins signed all pro CB Josh Norman away from the Panthers, after they rescinded the franchise tag that was placed on him, making him an unrestricted free agent. Everyone who has been following sports, especially the NFL knows that since Dan Snyder became the owner of the Redskins, free agent signings to this magnitude have not worked out in the organizations favor. The most recent big free agent debacle would have to be Albert Haynesworth, who the Redskins signed to a $100 million contract over 7 years. This signing also is the biggest idiotic move on the part of the Redskins, because of two reasons. One is that even though at first it looked like they were getting someone to power that defensive line, it ended up being a big baby in a man’s body. The second reason is that at one point he refused to run drills or get into shape. Other notable big name busts the Redskins have signed are Bruce Smith, Deion Sanders, Jeremiah Trotter, etc.

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                Most of the players that the Redskins have signed in the past were way past their primes and on the verge of retiring. Haynesworth on the other hand, was only 28 when he was brought to DC, just like Norman. The difference between Haynesworth and Norman that I can see is Norman has better work ethic and is actually in his prime. Haynesworth was starting his downward slope from his prime. You could also say that he was somewhat just in it for the money, therefore not willing to perform at 100%. From what I have seen during Panther games on TV and heard about him through the media, he is very energetic and very passionate about the game of football. Some say he has an attitude problem, and that could be true, but he also has a team oriented attitude. Josh Norman wants to help whatever team he is on succeed.

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                Checking Twitter on the 22nd, while I was tracking the coverage of his visit with the management team for the Redskins, I was seeing people already thinking that Norman will suck with the Redskins and will not succeed at all. This bothers me, because how can you already assume that someone will fail with a certain team before they ever play a down for that team. Yes, the Skins have failed on a lot of big name free agency signings, but most of them were past their prime and could not play as well. Since the free agent busts began with the Skins, that organization has become the laughing stock of the league. What people do not take into consideration is that you cannot coach someone to be younger and quicker than they really are, or coach a player to be about the team and not himself.

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       I see the Josh Norman signing not as a signing that could be as disastrous as Haynesworths was, but instead I see it as a signaling of a new day for the defense of the Washington Redskins. Especially, the Skins secondary. These last few years I truly have seen Mr. Snyder coming into his own as an owner. When he first bought the Redskins, he would jump at any future hall of famer that was toward the end of his career, like Smith or Sanders. Mr. Snyder has learned his lesson when it comes to free agency. Since the Haynesworth signing he has not tried to sign a lot of the top tier names, but low tier guys that can come in and help the team.