John Keim: I'd say they had a good offseason and, in some areas, laid an excellent foundation. They're more focused on building a complete team than in recent years, partly because they had a full complement of draft picks. It's a good step. But they still have enough question marks to give me pause (quarterback; do they have a good head coach?) And it will take more than one good offseason for me to have confidence in this organization. But take this offseason for what it was: a step in the right direction. Trending? Turn it into improvement during the season.
John Keim: Let me preface by saying they've surrounded a more balanced team around him (the defense, I think, will be improved; the run game should be helped by the line changes, etc.). But, yes, it's now up to him to prove he's a good quarterback. He needs to show better pocket presence; that doesn't mean just stats from the pocket but how he moves under duress and how he feels pressure, etc. They want to see him improve at anticipating throws and throwing guys open. They want to see better decisions and more plays outside the pocket. That doesn't mean running, it means making plays with his arm as other quarterbacks (Tony Romo, Russell Wilson, Aaron Rodgers, and so on) do. Not saying he can't do these things, but it's what they need from him.
But the Rams, who haven't produced a winning season since 2003, have vulnerabilities. And one of them figures to be an offensive line that could feature a pair of rookies on the right side and a first-year starter at center. Because of that, you can be sure Joe Barry's game plan will revolve around exploiting St. Louis' inexperience up front and harassing Foles, who performed below average under pressure last season, according to ProFootballFocus.com. The Rams also have a first-year offensive coordinator Frank Cignetti, who takes over a unit that produced a modest 20.3 points per game a year ago.
Need to know: Will special teams improve? | CSN Washington Per the numbers crunchers at Football Outsiders, the Redskins' special teams DVOA (their metric for measuring a unit's performance) was minus-12 percent. That was the worst in the league by almost five percentage points and one of the worst special teams performances since they started tracking these numbers.
Last year Washington's special teams DVOA was minus-5.4 percent. That was better but still an unacceptable 29th in the NFL. It's hard to celebrate it as a great achievement when there still are only three teams worse than you are in that category.