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SB Nation D.C. Staff Predictions For 2011 Washington Redskins

SB Nation D.C.'s editors make their predictions about the Redskins' season.

At long last, the Washington Redskins will begin their season on Sunday against the New York Giants. How will the Redskins perform in 2011? SB Nation D.C.'s staff members predict the season below.

Daniel Shiferaw, Redskins Editor: 7-9

There's not much question as to whether the Redskins have improved themselves this offseason. From running back to wide receiver to defensive line, the team has made plenty of strides in the right direction.

But the question remains - how will that translate in the win column? The Redskins finished with six wins a year ago, and that was with a far less talented team on both sides of the ball. The issue for the Redskins is that while they have improved in most areas, there still might be one glaring weakness: quarterback. Rex Grossman could very well thrive in Kyle Shanahan's offense this year. It's certainly possible. But if history is any indication, it's more likely he'll revert to his Chicago form at some point during the year. If that's the case, it could nullify a lot of the improvements the Redskins made in the offseason.

In addition to potential quarterback trouble, it doesn't help that they play in a tough division and an NFC that's gotten tougher at the top. They'll be better, and fans will see positive signs of improvement, but it may not be enough this year.

Andrew Kinback, Nationals Editor: 7-9

I won't claim to have any sort of logical explanation for this. I am a baseball nut, so what do I know about tossing around a pigskin? But I do know Washington teams are notorious for looking great "on paper" in the offseason and coming up short when it counts. I see no reason this season will be any different.

Jordan Ruby, Maryland Football Editor: 7-9

I think the Redskins will be an improved football team this year, but I don't know that it will necessarily show up in the final win/loss total as much as some fans might have hoped. With the additions of Barry Cofield, Oshiomogho Atogwe and Stephen Bowen, the Redskins will certainly be better on the defensive side of the ball. But their offense will not be very good again this year, and I fear that they will struggle to put points on the board, even if they hold them to a lower total. The Redskins are moving in the right direction as an organization, but it isn't going to be a quick turnaround. 

Adam Vingan, Capitals Editor: 4-12

I'm surprised that HBO didn't drop everything to film "24/7" about the Redskins' training camp, because there was enough drama to last an entire season. The quarterback battle between Rex Grossman and John Beck could have been its own show, whether it be on HBO or FitTV (you know, because Grossman was overweight or something).

In all seriousness, the Redskins do not look like a threatening team whatsoever. With the "Dream Team" Philadelphia Eagles ready to turn heads and the Dallas Cowboys looking for redemption, it really depends on how bad the New York Giants are to see if the Redskins finish third in the NFC East. For me, that's the highest they go. There are way too many question marks surrounding this team. I give Grossman until Washington's early bye week to prove himself. If he doesn't, Beck will jump in. Without a prime quarterback, this team will flounder. The Redskins were in 12 games last season decided by a touchdown or less and went 6-6, so you could swing a few games in their favor. But that won't happen this season. The best record I see them having is 5-11, but I'll go with 4-12.

Michael Katz, Wizards Editor: 6-10

Rex Grossman thinks the Redskins are good enough to win the NFC East. This suspension of disbelief -- along with his knowledge of the playbook -- was apparently enough for him to steal the starting quarterback position from John Beck. If Mike Shanahan doesn't vacillate between these two during the season, it'll almost be a bigger surprise than a Redskins run at the postseason. This is not a good thing.

And so the biggest question for Redskins fans remains this: will the pros of Albert Haynesworth's expulsion (NO MORE ALBERT HAYNESWORTH) outweigh the cons (NO MORE ALBERT HAYNESWORTH JOKES)?

Samuel Chamberlain, D.C. United Editor: 8-8

Even if Rex Grossman and/or Josh Beck manage to best Donovan McNabb's dismal quarterbacking numbers (58.3 Comp %, 7.2 Yards/Attempt, 14 TDs, 15 INTs), and even if year two of the 3-4 defense produces better numbers than last season (31st in pass defense allowing 261.7 yards per game, 26th in rushing defense allowing 127.6 yards per game), and even if Graham Gano can make more than 68.6 percent of his field goals (28-for-39 in 2010), it's hard to see the Redskins making much noise against a schedule that includes six bruising NFC East contests, challenging road games against Seattle and St. Louis and home games against the Jets and Patriots.

JP Finlay, Weekend Editor: 8-8

When delivering good news and bad news, I'm a firm believer it's best to give bad news first. So here it is: The Redskns aren't making the playoffs. The secondary, especially with LaRon Landry injured, will give up big plays. And there is still the matter of a dude named Rex starting at quarterback. Grossman will make some tremendous throws, but we've got to expect some bonehead picks and fumbles along the way too.

But for the Redskins, not making the playoffs doesn't mean there won't be improvement. This team is trending the right way. Significant upgrades along the defensive line and better linebacker play will slow down the opposing teams run game. Tim Hightower and Ryan Torain will provide a strong 1-2 punch for the Redskins on the ground, and the offensive line is better and younger than it has been in years.

In the end, they will go .500. They win some games that will surprise Vegas, like the opener against the Giants and the MNF game in Big D. They will also drop a few that will make the Monday morning commute a killer, like the Bills in Toronto and the long trip west to Seattle. But for a team that over the last decade lacked identity or long-term vision, Mike Shanahan and Bruce Allen are giving us reasons to believe. It won't come this year, but it could come soon.

The good news is at 8-8, the Redskins won't come in last in the division. We leave that for Little Boy Blue from New Jersey. A slept-on Cowboys team takes the East, and a late-season surge for the Eagles sneaks them into a wild card berth.

Martin Shatzer, Associate Editor: 6-10

While it may look like the Redskins have upgraded each position, they haven't made enough significant upgrades to really challenge in the division. Both the offense and defense will finish in the lower half of the league, as Mike Shanahan comes to regret the loss of Carlos Rogers and the lack of offensive line depth. The Redskins will lose some close games, and they'll be better towards the end of the season than at the start, but ultimately the team will finish last in the NFC East and will be in position to pick a new franchise quarterback in the 2012 NFL Draft.

Scott Jackson, Columnist: 7-9

I think the Redskins will be better this year. Not playoff better, but a 7-9/8-8 team that potentially goes 9-7 with some breaks. I think the NFC East will be tight, with the winner at 10-6 and no one worse than 7-9. So the margin for error is real thin.

The offense has to stay committed to the run this year, unlike last season. I expect Tim Hightower to have a big season and Ryan Torain and Roy Helu to be strong backups if they stick with the run.

Rex Grossman just needs to protect the ball. I know he never does that but he needs to do that this season. If he doesn't John Beck will be under center in a hurry. I expect the Redskins to take many more shots down the field than they showed in the preseason.

Defensively the secondary worries me, mainly because of the Laron Landry injury. I also think the departed Carlos Rogers was underrated in coverage. He did not make plays, but he did not get beat bad much and he tackled in run support. I do think the defensive line is better and like the pass-rushing potential of Orakpo and Kerrigan.

T.J. Doyle, Associate Editor: 6-10

Year Two of the Mike Shanahan Era brings hope and change to D.C. after a trying debut in the nation's capital. Out at quarterback is veteran Donovan McNabb, replaced (at least for now) by middling turnover machine Rex Grossman. Changes along the offensive and defensive lines appear to be upgrades to the 2010 version of the Redskins, but it would be overly optimistic to assume all the new faces can gel quickly and guide Washington to the playoffs. Winnable games against Carolina, Buffalo and Miami in midseason, which will probably be the start of the John Beck Era, are the only reason Washington will not be drafting in the top 5 in the 2012 NFL Draft.

Mike Prada, Senior Editor: 7-9

For all the optimism, it's easy to forget that most of the Redskins' big acquisitions in the free agency period were castoffs. Tim Hightower was an Arizona castoff. Jabar Gaffney was a Denver cast-off. Chris Chester was a Baltimore cast-off. Oshiomogho Atogwe was a St. Louis cap casualty. Barry Cofield isn't a Giants cast-off per se, but if they wanted him that badly, they would have paid more to keep him. Rex Grossman and John Beck are the ultimate cast-offs. Only Stephen Bowen is a guy who the Redskins stole from a team that legitimately wanted him, and that's more because of his potential rather than his production. I like the rookie class for the future, but with Jarvis Jenkins out for the year, I'd expect that Ryan Kerrigan is the only one who will make a big impact in Year 1. These are your newcomers, and I think some are getting a little too excited about them. I know Mike Shanahan does well with guys like this, but I have trouble expecting big things from a group of guys other teams didn't want.

The Redskins will be better simply because of more cohesion and the division being overrated, but I think this is about as good as they can expect.