The 2015 NFL season is finally upon us and it is time for the first look at where the Redskins stand in the eyes of pundits who cover the NFL, with their placement in Preseason Power Rankings.
If your a Skins fan and you are optimistic about this season, well unfortunately you might be alone because nationally there isn't a lot of support for the Redskins. You can see a full snap shot of where sites are ranking the Redskins with the NFL Power Rankings Database. I'll highlight some of the big ones here and give some of my thoughts. Since it's the preseason I'll look at how the Redskins can prove their doubters (including me) wrong as well.
If you dig deeper you will find plenty of other Power Rankings that start with the number 3, which is never good for the NFL if it's a two digit number.
So why is everyone so down on the Redskins? I mean don't they know that the Redskins were 4-12 last season not 2-14 like the Bucs and Titans? Also doesn't everyone see all the additions the Redskins have made this offseason?
The problem with that line of thinking is well there are pretty big holes in the argument. For one thing the Redskins lost (and in embarrassing fashion) to the Buccaneers last season and they barely squeaked past the Titans, despite the fact that both games were at home. In addition to the Head-to-Head match-ups vs some of the other weaker teams, the Redskins in many ways played above their heads. Of their 12 losses, 9 of them came by 10 or more points and 6 of those were by 20 or more points. Furthermore with the exception of the win over the Jaguars, the Redskins won their other three games by a combined 8 points and a FG could have won or tied every one of those games.
The Redskins weren't a team that had a poor record due to being "unlucky" or due to a single player/position group. They were a bad football team last year and easily could have ended up with just 1 or 2 wins. Sure there might be scenarios where they win 6 games instead of 4, but considering they won 50% (3 of 6) of the games decided by less than 10 points, and just 10% (1 of 10) of their games decided by 10 or more, it points to a team that needed more than a couple upgrades.
As for the argument that the Redskins made improvements this offseason, that same argument is being made by all 32 teams' fan bases this offseason. So while the Redskins have made some upgrades, plenty of other teams have made just as big if not bigger upgrades. The Redskins may appear better in some areas, but this wasn't mutually exclusive to them.
So does this mean that the Redskins shouldn't even play the season this year? No absolutely not the season isn't over just because a team looks questionable on paper. The Redskins have a chance to prove everyone wrong this season. In fact over the past 10 seasons 28% of the teams that finished in the basement of their division one season, made the playoffs the following year. With the exception of this past season, every other year had at least one team make the playoffs and most years had 3 or more. So there is a chance for the Redskins to prove everyone wrong (including me!). So how can this happen?
Simple the Redskins have to flip the script from what we've seen in recent year. They need to see their young players develop and grow as players. They have to get at least average quarterback play. Finally the defense needs to step up and play at a high level regardless of the situation. All three are important obviously, but the defense is the key to this season. Most of the Redskins additions this offseason were on the defensive side and those guys have to pay off immediately for this team to become a contender.