Real football returns this week and that means it’s time to look at where the “experts” rank the Redskins compared to other teams in the NFL. Washington finished the 2018 season at 7-9 and missed the playoffs for the third year in a row. The results have not been good enough since winning the division in 2015 with a 9-7 record. Last year’s team was decimated with injuries, and scraped by at multiple positions with players signed off the street.
The Redskins tried to solve the QB problem after Kirk Cousins finally left in free agency, but Alex Smith broke his leg before we could get many answers. Colt McCoy came in and also broke his leg essentially ending the Redskins playoff hopes after a 6-3 start. Now neither one of them will start this year (knock on wood). The Redskins traded for Case Keenum who has been named the starter. They also drafted Dwayne Haskins Jr. in the first round with the intention of developing him into a franchise QB.
Jay Gruden has the best odds to be the first head coach fired this year. and the “experts” do not have any faith in the Redskins this year. Where do they rate this year’s version of the Washington Redskins?
Highest Ranking: 22nd
Lowest Ranking: 31st
Average Ranking: 27.9
Washington hopes that Case Keenum, who led the 26th-ranked passing attack according to EPA per pass play last season, can ignite a passing attack that ranked 27th in the same metric last year. This – and our win projections that have the Redskins finishing last in their division with a mere 13% chance to make the playoffs – suggests that their best hope might be a positive development from first-round draft choice Dwayne Haskins.
Jay Gruden has been to the playoffs once and lost in the first round. He’s got issues at quarterback, in his offensive line and on his defense.
25. Washington Post
Can anyone blame Trent Williams if he has had enough of the Redskins? If the standout left tackle doesn’t return, it might not matter who plays quarterback. Case Keenum is the season-opening starter, but rookie Dwayne Haskins probably will get his chance at some point.
26. The Athletic
A show of hands for who is excited for the start of the Case Keenum era. Anyone? Bueller?
Wake us up when Trent Williams is back and Dwayne Haskins is under center.
It would be fascinating to see Dwayne Haskins play as a rookie, but that offensive line would do him no favors. Could this be the last year of Jay Gruden?
26. The Score
The Redskins picked Case Keenum over rookie Dwayne Haskins. It’s an understandable decision for Jay Gruden given his precarious position, but the head coach might regret not going big when he’s sent home permanently.
26. Vegas Insider
Washington arguably has the worst starting quarterback in the NFL with Case Keenum under center. They should probably be lower on this list but I do like some of the pieces they have elsewhere on their roster. It’s not ALL bad.
27. Associated Press
I’m struggling to see a plan for the Redskins with this Trent Williams situation. Reports indicate the star left tackle is effectively done with the franchise. If he doesn’t want to play for you anymore, why not move him to a team willing to hand over precious draft capital to acquire an elite blind-side protector, like the Texans just did for Laremy Tunsil? Team president Bruce Allen said last week that he expects Williams to play for the ‘Skins this season, but this still has the feel of an all-defeating standoff. Meanwhile, veteran Donald Penn is slated to start the season at left tackle. Penn has the pedigree, but the 36-year-old has been in decline for some time now. It’s fair to say the Redskins have boxed themselves into a corner on this one. It’s not too late to get out!
They will be tough at times on defense, but are they good enough on offense? I doubt it. How long will Dwayne Haskins sit?
28. Chicago Tribune
The plan was to have Colt McCoy and Case Keenum compete for the starting job, allowing rookie quarterback Dwayne Haskins to learn from the sideline. But when McCoy went down with an injury, Keenum basically was given the job by default. Left tackle Trent Williams hasn’t shown up and would like to be traded. It’s a shame the Texans filled their need with Laremy Tunsil. The defense might be decent and running back Derrius Guice has some promise, but this season could be reduced to waiting for Haskins to get his shot.
If I were a betting man, I’d take Jay Gruden as the first coach fired this fall.
29. The Big Lead
Their front four is ferocious, but that’s where the positives end. Washington fans can only hope Jay Gruden doesn’t toss Dwayne Haskins into the fire behind this iteration of the offensive line in a bid to save his job. Wins will be tough to come by.
I have absolutely no idea why Washington seems so stubborn on the idea of trading left tackle Trent Williams. Maybe they’ll win this standoff and Williams will play for them, but it seems like a good time for a rebuilding team to get value for a player who isn’t happy.
29. Bleacher Report
It’s time for the Washington Redskins to face reality.
General manager Bruce Allen can proclaim differently until the cows come home, but the odds that left tackle Trent Williams ever plays another down for the team range between slim and none. Williams has consistently maintained that he’s through in Washington.
It’s a big blow for a team that just invested a first-round pick in a quarterback who isn’t exactly known for his mobility. But at this point in his career, Williams doesn’t need money, and the Redskins just don’t have much leverage here.
The Miami Dolphins just got a massive haul for a left tackle when they flipped Laremy Tunsil to Houston. Tunsil is admittedly younger and cheaper, but when healthy, Williams is one of the best tackles in the league.
The Redskins aren’t going anywhere in 2019. Williams isn’t coming back to the team. Get what you can for him in a trade and look to the future.
Or you can dig in, be stubborn and get nothing.
29. Sporting News
Case Keenum will start at quarterback, but he should have a short leash as the placeholder for first-round pick Dwayne Haskins. Good luck to whoever’s under center, given the Redskins have a shaky receiving corps, a running game with durability issues and a missing top left tackle in Trent Williams. The defense can only help so much.
They are not a good bet to win the Super Bowl. Their 0.1% chance is #26 in the league. Current Odds are 300/1, 0.3%. The Redskins are averaging 6.3 wins per sim which makes them a decent bet to win over 6 games. Their average wins per simulation puts them at #15 in the NFC. Their 7-9 record last season was ahead of what was expected of them. Their expected win percentage was 40%.
30. USA Today
Poor Jay Gruden. Imagine trying to save your job while your best player (Trent Williams) wants no part of your team, while your buzziest player (Dwayne Haskins) isn’t yet ready for prime time.
31. The MMQB
Apparently naming Case Keenum the starting quarterback does not inspire confidence in our voters.
31. Walter Football
The Redskins are a mess. Case Keenum is going to start, but he stinks. Trent Williams is no longer with the team. Jordan Reed suffered the seventh concussion of his career. No one on the team can catch the ball. The team was on the verge of revolting last year, and I think the Redskins could quickly fall apart early in the year after some losses.
31. The Ringer
Best-case scenario: It’s hard to find a franchise more lost than the Redskins. The Dolphins will be bad, sure, but at least Miami has some semblance of a plan. Washington doesn’t seem to have any idea where it wants to go, let alone how to get there. This offseason, the franchise gave safety Landon Collins a six-year, $84 million deal (with $44 million guaranteed) before cutting both starting linebackers to save money against the cap. Every step forward also involves two steps back.
The exception might be quarterback Dwayne Haskins, whom the Redskins drafted 15th overall this spring. Washington was thrown unexpectedly into the quarterback market after Alex Smith’s horrible leg injury last season, and now may finally have a long-term answer at the sport’s most important position. The question is how they’ll handle Haskins’s rookie season. It was clear during the preseason that Haskins needs a bit more time to get acclimated to the NFL game, which led head coach Jay Gruden to name stopgap signing Case Keenum the starter in late August. The ideal outcome for the rookie might be spending half the year behind Keenum before taking over in November. If Haskins and a young core of skill-position players like running back Derrius Guice and wide receiver Terry McLaurin can get some time together down the stretch and show some promise, the Washington front office may feel better about their 2020 chances.
On defense, the range of outcomes is much smaller. The strength of this roster is its front four, which has the potential to be a real problem for opposing offensive lines. Da’Ron Payne, Jonathan Allen, and Matt Ioannidis make for a nasty trio of interior defenders. The hope is first-round pick Montez Sweat can team up with stalwart pass rusher Ryan Kerrigan to give Washington a similarly frightening pair of edge rushers. The team’s linebacking corps and secondary still have holes, but this unit has a relatively high floor.
Worst-case scenario: Bottoming out would almost certainly cost Gruden his job, but that wouldn’t necessarily be the worst outcome for the franchise’s long-term health. At this point, the only truly disastrous result this season would be Haskins’s growth being stunted. That could happen if he gets forced into action too fast (should Keenum get hurt, Haskins would be the only option as Colt McCoy continues his rehab from a leg injury) or the team’s current infrastructure ends up being as bad as it seems. Pro Bowl left tackle Trent Williams appears dead set on continuing his absence from the team, and Washington’s starting left guard is human turnstile Ereck Flowers. If the Redskins’ pass-protection issues and lack of experience in their pass-catching group make it a risk for Haskins to play at all his rookie year, Washington might be better off leaving him on the bench and planning ahead for next season.
Stat of note: 42.6 percent. That was Keenum’s completion percentage under pressure last season, which ranked 26th among 30 qualified QBs, according to Pro Football Focus. With the Vikings in 2017, Keenum led the league in that metric at 55.7 percent. It’s almost as if the playmaking success and bit of luck Keenum had with Minnesota that season wasn’t sustainable long term.
Breakout player: Sweat. Washington’s duo of former Alabama inside linemen are already too established to be considered breakout candidates, and the team will likely bring Guice along slowly as he recovers from an ACL tear. Sweat should see some snaps from the get-go, and he has the rare physical tools to flash immediately when given the chance opposite Kerrigan.
How does Bruce Allen still have a job? The Washington Redskins face one of the most bleak futures of any team in the league thanks to years of poor management and Alex Smith’s unfortunate leg injury. Dwayne Haskins has made a few nice plays in the preseason, but he’s riding the bench to start the season. That’s probably for the best, as nobody could succeed in this atrocious setting.
Washington has built a potentially dominant defensive line (Daron Payne, Jonathan Allen, Ryan Kerrigan, Montez Sweat), but it’s hard to find many other short-term positives. There are more questions than answers on the offensive side of the ball (including a seemingly wide-open quarterback competition) and the back end of the defense has major depth concerns behind Josh Norman and well-funded box safety Landon Collins.
Where do you rank the Redskins going into Week 1?
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