Jay Gruden’s first year as head coach of the Washington Redskins didn’t go quite as planned. Robert Griffin III, the would-be franchise passer, was in and out of the lineup with injuries and raised questions as to whether or not he was the answer at quarterback. In addition, the team suffered through an ugly musical chairs situation under center that played a helping hand in the team going just 4-12 and finishing in the bottom of the NFC East.
While the jury is still out on Robert Griffin III, the team looks to be backing him for at least the start of the 2015 NFL season. Unless they draft a new quarterback in April’s draft they arguably don’t have much of a choice, while it’s still possible the dual-threat passer could regain the form that made him a sensation as a rookie in 2012.
RG3 isn’t the only issue that needs fixing in D.C., though, and everyone around the Redskins knows it. The team also will have to replace retired safety Ryan Clark and ignite a fire under a lethargic defense that struggled everywhere but against the run a year ago. Losing pass rusher Brian Orakpo won’t help, but the signings of Terrance Knighton, Chris Culliver, Jeron Johnson and Ricky Jean-Francois could be a gigantic step in the right direction. What the Redskins do in the 2015 NFL Draft, of course, could be what ends up being the difference.
Washington fans never lose the faith in their beloved team, but it’d be a surprise if Redskins tickets were anything other than a stellar value buy on a weekly basis. With Washington coming off a second straight losing season, fans could get a killer discount as Gruden tries to push his group back up the ladder in the NFC East. Doing so won’t necessarily be easy, of course, as Washington still has to get past what figures to be an improving Giants team, as well as the Cowboys and Eagles.
It doesn’t get much easier outside of the division, as the ‘Skins are scheduled to host the New Orleans Saints, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, St. Louis Rams, Buffalo Bills and Miami Dolphins. The Bills, Rams and Dolphins will test Washington with top level defenses, but based off of last year’s records, the Redskins could get past all of them if their offense can execute.
Washington will find life even tougher away from home, as they travel to Atlanta, Carolina, Chicago, New England and New York (Jets) in 2015. Washington easily has the makings to give the Falcons, Bears and Jets a run for their money out of town, but the Patriots and Panthers could be brutal matchups. Become the ultimate fan by following the team on the road. Hipmunk offers thousands of flights to and from Washington, D.C., including discounted hotel rates that will have you within walking distance of most NFL stadiums.
No one is expecting RG3 to step up and become Tom Brady, nor are the Redskins going to be on anyone’s Super Bowl predictions list come preseason. Washington has begun putting the pieces together to field a balanced offense and an aggressive defense, however, and if they can have it ready for the start of the 2015 season, they have a chance at shocking some people.