Know Your Enemy comes to a close with the Washington Redskins. The Redskins won the division at 9-7 in 2015 with a great season from Kirk Cousins (101 QB rating) under second year head coach Jay Gruden. I like that guy.
The Redskins started 2-4 but finished 7-3 to earn the NFC East crown. YOU LIKE THAT!! Sean McVay is the OC and former Lions DC from 2008, Joe Barry, is the Redskins defensive coordinator. The Redskins had a top 10 offense (24.3 PPG) but had a defense that was below average in 2015 (23.4 PPG allowed for 17th).
Kirk Cousins had a breakout year in his fourth year in the league. Cousins had an impressive 101 QB rating with 69.8% completion and 7.7 YPA. Cousins notched 26 TDs and 11 interceptions on 543 attempts. He was was a huge reason for the Redskins strong finish and division crown and was given the franchise tag this season by Washington. Colt McCoy remains the backup as RG3 (Browns) finally left Washington and Nate Sudfield was drafted in Round 6 out of Indiana. If Cousins has another big year on a contract year franchise tag, the Redskins will be very happy and probably pay him QB market money.
The Redskins had a down year running the ball at 3.7 YPC. Alfred Morris had over 200 carries but had his worst year of his four year career in 2015. Morris bolted for Dallas this offseason. Rookie Matt Jones had only 3.4 YPC and 5 fumbles in 2015. Jones must play much better in year 2 to bolster the Redskins rushing attack.
Third year player Silas Redd, Chris Thompson and rookie Keith Marshall (Round 7) may not be enough depth behind Jones.
The Redskins will continue to be a passing team with plenty of weapons for Cousins. Jordan Reed is a stud tight end after notching 952 yards and 11 TDs. Pierre Garcon is a solid receiver with 777 yards and 6 TDs on 110 targets. Desean Jackson had an injury and only had 49 targets. Jackson still had 528 yards and 4 TDs with a 17.6 average. Jackson is a deep threat for Cousins.
Slot man Jamison Crowder was efficient with 604 yards on 79 targets. Andre Roberts was cut after he didn’t live up to his contract. However, the Redskins bolstered their weapons by drafting speedster Josh Doctson in Round 1 of the draft.
With Reed, Jackson, Garcon, Crowder and Doctson at his disposal, this should provide plenty for Cousins to repeat his big 2015 season.
Trent Williams is a very good left tackle and will protect Cousins blind side well. Brandon Scherff was a rookie first round pick in 2015 that excelled at left guard. The left side of the line is very strong for the Redskins.
Morgan Moses was a good run blocker but was average in pass protection at right tackle. Spencer Long, Josh Ribeus and Kory Lichtensteiger struggled at guard and center in 2015. Lichtensteiger missed considerable time with an injury as well. Shawn Lauvao returns from injury and could be a starter in 2016 again for Washington. The Redskins have some issues from center to the right side of their offensive line in 2016.
The Redskins were below average in defense in 2015. The Redskins allowed a terrible 4.8 YPC (31st) in 2015 in run defense. Washington also allowed a 96.1 QB rating (22nd) but kept the points allowed to 17th and Washington forced a respectable 26 turnovers in 2015.
Chris Baker had a surprising good year with strong run defense and 10 hits and 24 hurries from the nose tackle/end spot. Stephen Paea was a big free agent signing but only played 220 snaps due to injury at 3-4 DE. Ricky Jean Francois is a veteran 3-4 DE and had a good season in 2015 in 394 snaps for Dan Snyder’s club.
Veteran Jason Hatcher had a nice year in pass rush but was cut by the Redskins for cap purposes this offseason. Kendall Reyes was added from the Chargers but struggled with San Diego. Matt Ionnadis was drafted in Round 5 and Trent Murphy will switch from 3-4 OLB to 3-4 DE. Ziggy Hood is a veteran former 1st rounder from the Steelers that provides some depth.
The Redskins lost run stuffer Terrence Knighton as well as Hatcher. Knighton only played 374 snaps in 2015. Washington’s defensive line is in flux but has some talent with Paea and Baker.
Ryan Kerrigan is a monster with 9.5 sacks, 3 hits and 46 hurries in 2015. Kerrigan can play the run as well and has been a boom as a former 1st round pick. Preston Smith is a former 2nd round pick that had 8 sacks in 2015. Smith was average with 2 hits and 25 hurries and below average in run defense. Smith must develop more at OLB.
Perry Riley and Mason Foster were below average ILBs but return for Washington. The Redskins added LB/safety hybrid Su’a Cravens in Round 2 to boost the coverage and still provide run defense. Cravens could play a Deonne Buchanon (Cardinals) type role for the Redskins.
The Redskins made a major move by signing Josh Norman to a huge deal. The Panthers rescinded Norman’s franchise tag and the Redskins pounced. Bashaud Breeland was a good corner for the Redskins in 2015 as well and now moves to the second CB spot.
DeAngelo Hall is a veteran CB as well but has lost a step. Hall may play some free safety too. Will Blackmon had a surprisingly solid 2015 season for the Skins and returns in Washington. Greg Toler was added for veteran CB experience as well but Toler struggled with the Colts and Cardinals. Norman bolsters the secondary by a good amount and allows Breeland to face number 2 CBs. Washington has plenty of experience at the third and 4th corner back spot.
Duke Ihenacho, Tanard Jackson and free agent David Bruton (Denver) will be the Redskins safeties. Cravens could see some time at safety as well. Dalshon Goldson was cut after struggling for Washington at strong safety. Washington has solid corners but need improvement at safety. Their secondary should still be improved with the Norman, Cravens and Bruton additions.
The Redskins finished strong and earned the NFC East crown. However, they were only 9-7 and got beat badly at home by the Packers in the wild card round. Washington was 6-2 at home and 3-5 on the road in 2015.
Washington travels to Detroit in Week 7and hosts the Vikings in Week 10. Washington hosts Green Bay in Week 11 on Sunday Night Football and visit Chicago in Week 16. Washington has a good offense and some defensive firepower with the addition of Norman. They will be a tough opponent for the entire NFC North if Cousins has another good year under the franchise tag.
I hope you have enjoyed another year of Know Your Enemy. Now you know more about the NFC East and AFC South. I know we all can’t wait for the season to begin.