Redskins Preview Capsule
WASHINGTON REDSKINS (7-9)
New faces: QB Alex Smith, RB Adrian Peterson, WR Paul Richardson, DT Daron Payne, DT Tim Settle, OLB Pernell McPhee, CB Adonis Alexander.
Key losses: QB Kirk Cousins, WR Terrelle Pryor, WR Ryan Grant, TE Niles Paul, DL Terrell McClain, LB Will Compton, CB Bashaud Breeland, S DeAngelo Hall.
Strengths: Smith gives Redskins stability at most important position under QB guru coach Jay Gruden. Peterson has potential to boost running game after season-ending injury to rookie Derrius Guice. Richardson gives Smith speed at wideout that Cousins lacked last season. Offensive line has five starters back with LT Trent Williams returning from major knee surgery. DL Jonathan Allen should improve run defense after missing most of rookie year.
Weaknesses: Injury woes that derailed last season continue to deplete depth. Running game and overall defense no sure things after 2017 struggles. If Peterson doesn’t have much left at 33, Rob Kelley and Samaje Perine are same RBs who couldn’t establish consistent presence last season. Gruden has lost all four season openers since becoming coach. Secondary is untested beyond CB Josh Norman and S D.J. Swearinger.
Fantasy Players To Watch: TE Jordan Reed. After undergoing two toe surgeries, Reed could be back to 2015 form, when he had 87 catches for 952 yards and 11 TDs. Gruden’s offense is predicated on spreading ball around, but 6-foot-2, 245-pound Reed is matchup nightmare who could become popular target for Smith.
Vegas Says: Super Bowl 90-1. Over/Under wins 7 .
Expectations: If everything goes perfectly, Redskins can challenge for NFC East title and make playoffs. More likely they’re again fringe playoff team and can finish anywhere from 6-10 to 10-6. Difficult schedule on paper makes start at Arizona and against Indianapolis crucial. Guice’s injury puts pressure on Smith and Peterson to carry offense in their 30s. If run defense and pass rush are better with Payne and healthy Allen and young secondary overperforms, this is playoff-caliber team. Questions remain about Smith and first-team offense being able to jell after limited preseason work. Another rash of injuries like last year could derail season. Drop-off in performance absent injuries could put Gruden’s job in danger.