The Comeback is previewing all 32 NFL teams from worst to first leading up to the start of the 2018 regular season on Sept. 6. Up next in our preseason rankings are the disgruntled Washington Redskins.
2017 in a nutshell: Ravaged by injuries to more of an extent than any other team in football, they manage to win seven games in a top-heavy division.
What’s different: They’re healthier now, and veteran quarterback Alex Smith has taken over for the departed Kirk Cousins under center.
Why they could be awesome: Smith was the league’s highest-rated passer in the NFL last season, and they were still competitive despite all of those injuries in 2017.
Why they could suck: Smith has never experienced much team success, and he’s got less support in Washington than he did in Kansas City.
Major additions: Smith, first-round pick Da’Ron Payne, wide receiver Paul Richardson, linebacker Zach Brown.
Major losses: Cousins, high-potential cornerback Kendall Fuller (part of the trade for Smith), center Spencer Long, wide receiver Terrelle Pryor.
Breakout watch: It’s time for 2016 first-round pick Josh Doctson to step up and become the play-making receiver they thought they drafted. He did manage to score six touchdowns last season, and four of his 35 receptions gained 30-plus yards. Plus, he’s had a strong offseason.
Position to watch: Pick a position. Receiver is interesting with Richardson in, Docston rising and Pryor gone. Running back is interesting with Derrius Guice hurt and Chris Thompson coming back from injury. The offensive line is interesting with practically everyone trying to stay healthier. But I’ll be watching a secondary that is without Fuller and is looking for support for top corner Josh Norman. There’s a lot on the line as Quinton Dunbar and Fabian Moreau battle it out.
Prediction: The Giants and Cowboys will be better and the Eagles are the defending champs. Smith is good, but no better than Cousins and they have plenty of holes on both sides of the ball. Even if they have better injury luck, they might struggle to win more games than they did in 2017.
7-9, 4th place in the NFC East