Now that we've gone over the Redskins' reasons for concern heading into the 2014 season, we will shift our attention to the reasons for hope heading into 2014.
A Healthy Robert Griffin III:
This not only means that you can expect Griffin to look more like 2012 than 2013, but his mobility will keep defenses on their heels and mask some of the offensive lines struggles.
In addition to gaining his full health back, RGIII gained some new weapons this offseason in DeSean Jackson and Andre Roberts. Jackson and Roberts will join Pierre Garcon and Jordan Reed to give Griffin one of the best set of weapons in the NFL. In 2012 Griffin led the Redskins offense with un-inspiring targets especially when you consider that his top two targets that year (Garcon and Fred Davis) missed significant time due to injury. With a healthy Griffin piloting the new-look Redskins offense, this unit has the potential to be one of the NFL's best.
The first year head coach has nothing Mike Shanahan did, and that's a good thing. When Shanahan came to Washington he had already won two Super Bowls and enjoyed a ton of success as an NFL head coach. Coach Gruden is entering this year with everything to prove. Not to mention (obviously this is early and they have yet to have many ups and downs) that Gruden has started a solid relationship with his franchise quarterback.
I already touched on the receiving corps improving, but the running game should be the strong point of a Redskins offense that has the ability to put up video game numbers with the talent it has. The offense has a core group of young, talented players in RGIII, Alfred Morris, Pierre Garcon, DeSean Jackson, and Trent Williams. The future of the Redskins offense looks bright.
The Redskins special teams couldn't get any worse than they were in 2013. The Skins brought in Ben Kotwica who seems to have the Redskins buying into the importance of special teams play once again. Not to mention the Redskins made an effort to bring in players, whether it be through the draft or free-agency, that have a special teams background. The special teams unit won't become the Skins strong point in 2014, but the unit has significantly more talent than it did in 2013, and will without a doubt be better.
The Redskins defensive unit got some boosts this offseason. Signing Ryan Clark not only added a savvy veteran and a fantastic communicator, but even at 34, he will be an improvement over last year's free safeties. Jim Haslett has the most talent and speed he has ever had to work with during his time in Washington. Players like Keenan Robinson and Jason Hatcher look to help establish an identity of a defense that flies around, swarms the ball, gets after the quarterback, and creates turnovers.
David Amerson has had a fantastic offseason, and has shown far more consistency than he did in his rookie season. If Amerson can take the next step in his development and become a consistent starter, it will be huge for the Skins defensive unit. The Redskins want Amerson to develop into their long-term starter, and this year is the perfect opportunity to prove himself across from DeAngelo Hall.
People forget the cap penalties that hampered the Redskins' ability to bring in talent for the past two seasons. With the cap penalties a thing of the past, Bruce Allen had far more flexibility financially to bring in talent and really shape his roster. The Redskins showed their improved depth against the Patriots when even their second and third units performed well. Improved depth creates competition at every position, and pushes players to perform their best, and that has been far better in 2014.
That's all for now, have a question? Leave a comment! Or email me at JustinByramWriting@yahoo.com, or tweet me @Justin_Byram.