Are You Ready for some Football?!

Posted: September 9, 2010 in Redskins, Sports

214 days following The New Orleans Saints 31-17 victory over the Indianapolis Colts in Super Bowl XLIV, football is finally back!  The season kicks off tonight as the Super Bowl champions take on the Minnesota Vikings in an NFC Championship game rematch that ended with yet another Brett Favre interception, but that is a whole other story…

Today I’m going to break down the Redskins and there upcoming  2010 season:

The Washington Redskins are coming off a 4-12 season, but last year’s team is long gone, and with that is the losing attitude in the locker room.  With a re-vamped coaching staff that includes 2-time Super Bowl winning head coach Mike Shanahan, we can expect a completely different team this year. With the addition of a new General Manager, Bruce Allen, and head coach, changes were made all acorss the roster.  At the end of last season we saw some familiar faces let go, including veterans like Randy Thomas, Fred Smoot, Rock Cartwright, and Antwaan Randle El.  The new coaching staff made it clear that losing and playing below expectations was not going to fly in Washington.  Along with the departure of some old vets, the team also made a huge off season splash by trading for future Hall of Fame QB Donovan McNabb.

Along with the addition of Mike Shanahan, the team brought in a new offensive philosophy that will be orchestrated  under his son, and current offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan.  Last season Kyle Shanahan was the offensive coordinator of the Houston Texans, leading the NFL’s 4th ranked offense (383.1 YPG) to their first winning season in franchise history, finishing 9-7.  Texans QB Matt Schaub lead the league in passing yards with 4,770 (270 yards more than second place Peyton Manning) and Houston’s top WR Andre Johnson lead the league 1,569 receiving yards.  Kyle Shanahan should have plenty to work with with Donovan McNabb at the head of his offense.  The team has some questions at wide receiver, Santana Moss is the only clear cut starter on this roster, but with the return of a healthy Chris Cooley and 3rd year tight end Fred Davis, Shanahan will have a unique offense to work with.  I am excited to see how he will use both tight ends at the same time, hopefully creating mismatches for opposing defenses.

It is also worth noting that RB Clinton Portis is reuniting with the coach that drafted (…and traded him) in Denver nine years ago.   Mike Shanahan is known for producing pro bowl caliber running back s in his running game, but putting a proven running back into this offense could revitalize his career.  I wouldn’t be surprised if Portis is up for come back player of the year.  I hope both Mike and Kyle Shanahan can combine their two offensive expertize  and create one complete offense.  Remember, Donovan McNabb has never head a successful running game in all of his time in Philadelphia.  Brian Westbrook was the closest he had, but they still threw the ball on 70% of their plays.  A running game could protect and prolong the often injured Quarterback’s season.  Also, with McNabb entering the last year of his contract, I expect him to play with a chip on his shoulder, going out there to prove that he can still play and is still one of the elite QBs in the the league.

The defense made a switch from 4-3 to 3-4 under new defensive coordinator Jim Haslett.  Nothing excites me more than a defense that 2nd year linebacker Brian Orakpo thrived in at Texas.  Orakpo finished last season with 11 sacks, which I give much credit to the often scrutinized DT Albert Haynesworth.  Head case or not, the defense is better with #92 is in the game.  Everyone on the defense is excited about the things they feel they can accomplish under Haslett, and cant wait to show the rest of the league what they can do come Sunday Night.  The defense carries that sort of swagger that makes you hope they will be good this year, lets just hope that they don’t let that swagger get to their heads and can actually stop some of the highest rated offenses this season.

The only problem with this team is their schedule.  After finishing 4-12 and last place in their division, the league thought it would be nice to give them the hardest schedule in the NFL.  Seven of the twelve teams the Redskins will face this season had winning records, three of those seven were Division Champions.  Seven of the sixteen games this season will be against teams that were in the playoffs, The Vikings made it all the way to the NFC Championship game, and the Colts made it all the way to last year’s Super Bowl.  I personally think the Colts and Packers (both on our schedule) will be in this year’s Super Bowl game in Dallas.  So wins this season will not come easy for the Redskins.  This season will truly be a test for Washington, but  I think with all of the additions and the new power structure set in place, the team is definitely headed in the right direction.  I expect the Redskins to finish somewhere around .500 (most likely a game or two under) with a possible wild card slot at best, but that will be hard to come by with talented NFC North and NFC South teams most likely taking the two wild card slots.

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