Washington Redskins: Best and Worst Case Scenarios

The Washington Redskins were one of the biggest surprises of the 2015 season. What are the best and worst case scenarios for the team in 2016?

With all the new additions to the roster, it’s kind of hard to say this team didn’t improve by leaps and bounds.

On the defensive side, Josh Norman, David Bruton Jr., Kendall Fuller, and Su’a Cravens join the secondary. Matt Ioannidis joins the defensive line while Junior Galette makes an already scary linebacking corps an absolute nightmare.

On offense, the tight ends and offensive line regained some strength. Niles Paul and Logan Paulsen are returning after missing all of the 2015 season with injury, and Vernon Davis has been added into the mix at tight end. Meanwhile, offensive lineman Shawn Lauvao and Kory Lichtensteiger will be ready for the season despite missing most of last year as well. Then there’s Josh Doctson being added to the wide receivers and Keith Marshall joining the running backs.

It’s important to remember that the Redskins not only went 9-7 in 2015, but they were the NFC East Division champions. With all this added talent, the expectations are much higher than they were heading into last season.

Best Case Scenario

All the pieces fit together.

On the defensive end, the team enjoys having two more pro-bowlers thanks to Norman and Galette.

Norman proves he wasn’t just a one-year-wonder and Breeland benefits heavily from finally having another cornerback to carry the load with him. Trent Murphy adjusts well to his transition to defensive end, while Chris Baker builds off a solid 2015. Galette, Kerrigan, and Preston Smith become a three-headed monster in the pass rushing game while Will Compton and Mason Foster continue the improvement that they showed last year as interior lineman.

The big number for the defense is 10. All three outside linebackers (Galette, Kerrigan, and Smith) post at least 10 sacks, and opposing quarterbacks can’t get away from Washington fast enough. Galette may not have played last season, but he’s more than capable of putting up fantastic pass rush numbers (via ESPN).

Norman picks off seven passes and Galette gets to the quarterback 15 times, both leading the Redskins in those categories.

On offense, Cousins improves on his breakout 2015 campaign thanks to his absurd number of weapons. Doctson learns the ropes from Pierre Garcon, DeSean Jackson, Jamison Crowder, Jordan Reed, and Paul, on his way to a rookie-of-the-year-type season. Matt Jones fixed his fumbling problem, and the offensive line stabilizes with the return of Lauvao.

Cousins throws 35 touchdown passes while the running backs (led by Jones) average nearly 5.0 yards per carry on the year. Reed and Jackson both enjoy pro bowl seasons as two of the biggest weapons on offense, and the offensive line sees three players make the team as well (Trent Williams, Morgan Moses, and Brandon Scherff).

The Redskins finish the season with a 13-3 record and another division title. Next stop, Super Bowl.

Worst Case Scenario

Sometimes even great players can’t seem to mesh.

Norman falters under the pressures of a new contract and Breeland doesn’t play well now that he’s not the focus in the secondary. The makeshift safeties don’t help over the top either. Galette, Kerrigan, and Smith becomes a logjam, and tensions rise. The defensive line can’t seem to stop the run, while Murphy seems lost in a new position.

The defense was bad last year, and finds a way to get worse in 2016.

Cousins was so good last year. Now he’s not just the backup playing for a starting role anymore though. He falls back into his old ways of turnovers with some touchdowns sprinkled in, and finishes the year with more INTs than TDs. There’s a logjam when it comes to pass catchers as well. Between Garcon, Jackson, Doctson, Crowder, Grant, Reed, Paul, and Davis, someone’s not getting his fair share of catches. More problems start when someone feels like they’re getting slighted. Meanwhile Jones still has fumbling problems and the running game goes nowhere.

The Redskins finish the year with a 2-14 record, but hey, at least they’d be looking forward to the number one pick in the upcoming draft.