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Boom roasted: A look at the warts of the 'other' NFC East teams, Washington Redskins edition

This is Part II of a 3-part series, that we'll set up the same way we did in Part I.

Boom roasted: A look at the warts of the 'other' NFC East teams, Washington Redskins edition

Washington Redskins quarterback coach, Matt LaFleur, center, talks with quarterbacks Robert Griffin III, left, and Kirk Cousins, right. (AP Photo/Steve Helber, File)
Washington Redskins quarterback coach, Matt LaFleur, center, talks with quarterbacks Robert Griffin III, left, and Kirk Cousins, right. (AP Photo/Steve Helber, File)

This is Part II of a 3-part series, that we'll set up the same way we did in Part I

If you look around the NFL at the best team in each division (on paper anyway), there's an argument to be made that they're all better than the best team in the NFC East, whoever that may be. A division by division look:

 

  • NFC North: Packers. Better than any team in the NFC East.
  • NFC South: Falcons. Better than any team in the NFC East.
  • NFC West: 49ers or Seahawks. Take your pick. Better than any team in the NFC East.
  • AFC East: Patriots. Better than any team in the NFC East.
  • AFC North: This is the only division where it's debatable, even with the Ravens coming off a Super Bowl victory. But personally, I would take the Ravens over any team in the NFC East, and think the division as a whole is better.
  • AFC South: Texans. Better than any team in the NFC East.
  • AFC West: Broncos. Better than any team in the NFC East.

 

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In other words, the NFC East does not have a particularly strong team. The Eagles have their share of warts, however, so do the rest of the teams in the NFC East. This division is winnable.

In Part I, we covered the Cowboys' 5 biggest warts. In Part II, we'll poke 5 holes in the Redskins:

Poking 5 holes in the 2013 Redskins

1) It feels like any predictions of success for the Redskins for the next decade will be prefaced with the phrase "Assuming RG3 can stay healthy..."

2) Optimistic sports fans often operate under the fallacy that all their best players will continue to be awesome, when in many cases it's far more likely that certain players will experience a dropoff in play. For the Eagles last year that was Jason Babin. Babin had a monster season in 2011, collecting 18 sacks. In 2012, he got more attention and was held to 5.5 sacks and played terrible run D in 11 games before he was cut.

One strong possibility in this regard stands out for the Redskins. Alfred Morris had an absolutely tremendous season in 2012, rushing for 1613 yards on 4.8 yards per carry and 13 TDs. I'm certainly not predicting a dropoff as drastic as Babin's, especially since Morris is such a great fit for the Redskins' offense. Opposing defenses have to protect against RG3 on the perimeter, leaving the vacated middle of their defense ripe for a sledgehammer like Morris. However, as teams around the NFL adjust to the read option, Morris could be a player who is negatively affected... and it's not like Morris is some sort of special talent.

3) The Skins’ OL missed 1593 snaps in 2011:

That OL was a disaster.

In 2012, with basically the same personnel to begin the season, swapping out an ineffective Jammal Brown for an ineffective Tyler Polumbus, they only missed 239:

That 2012 version of the OL was monumentally better than the 2011 version, but still lacks depth. Josh LeRibeus was a 3rd round pick last year, and he looked good in the playoffs against Seattle, but the Skins have almost nothing in the way of depth at OT, in addition to a gaping hole at RT. Will their OL be fortunate to stay as healthy as they did in 2012?

4) The secondary is loaded with question marks, and was a unit that was 30th in pass defense last year. To begin at CB, DeAngelo Hall is one of the most overrated players of the last decade, and Josh Wilson has been brought back slowly from a torn labrum.

Meanwhile, the Redskins have a very interesting situation at safety.

Brandon Meriweather played half of one game last season (against Philly), and he was great in that game. Unfortunately, the following is on Meriweather’s resume:

  • He played a grand total of 44 snaps last season.
  • Two teams gave up on him in less than a full calendar year.
  • He was pulled over at 2:54 AM in 2012, and refused a breathalyzer test.
  • During an on-field brawl when he was in college at Miami, he kicked a few opposing players.
  • He has been involved in bizarre circumstances, like the time someone was charged with raping a woman in his home, and the time he was involved in a gun fight in which one of his teammates was shot. He was never charged with any crimes stemming from those two incidents.

Meriweather is by far the most talented of the Skins’ safeties, and it’s not even close. But would you want to hitch your wagon to him?

It appears as if the other starting safety will be 6th round pick Bacarri Rambo, a player that defensive coordinator Jim Haslett is concerned about in terms of tackling.

5) The Redskins’ road to the division title last season was fueled by an improbable, yet impressive 7 game win streak to close the season. I don’t want to take anything away from what the Redskins accomplished during that run. However, with the exception of the Giants and Browns games, it should be noted that the Skins were playing teams that were absolutely devastated by injuries (noteworthy absences listed below).

The Redskins themselves played most of the season without Brian Orakpo, a large chunk of it without Fred Davis, and if you want to consider Adam Carriker and Brandon Meriweather significant losses (I don’t with Carriker, Meriweather is debatable), then that is your prerogative. RG3 of course missed Week 15 against a bad Browns team, and 7 snaps vs the Ravens.

The Skins weren’t completely devoid of injuries themselves, but those above losses pale in comparison to what some of the teams they faced had to deal with on the injury front:

 Week 11: Eagles

  • Michael Vick
  • Jason Peters
  • Jason Kelce
  • Todd Herremans
  • Jason Avant

 Week 12: Cowboys

  • DeMarco Murray
  • Tyron Smith
  • Phil Costa
  • Miles Austin (only played 11 snaps)
  • Jay Ratliff
  • Sean Lee
  • Barry Church

 Week 13: Giants

  • Kenny Phillips
  • David Diehl
  • Jason Pierre-Paul (played, did not start, back)

 Week 14: Ravens

  • Ray Lewis
  • Terrell Suggs
  • Lardarius Webb
  • Dannell Ellerbe

 Week 15: Browns

  • Nobody of significance.

 Week 16: Eagles

  • Michael Vick
  • Jason Peters
  • Jason Kelce
  • Todd Herremans
  • DeSean Jackson

 Week 17: Cowboys

  • Phil Costa
  • Miles Austin (only played 18 snaps)
  • Jay Ratliff
  • DeMarcus Ware (only played 34 snaps)
  • Sean Lee
  • Bruce Carter
  • Ernie Sims
  • Orlando Scandrick
  • Barry Church

It is unlikely the Redskins will have the same injury advantages in 2013.

Click here for complete coverage of Philadelphia Eagles training camp.

Jimmy Kempski Philly.com
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