The Redskins continued to underperform in 2014, finishing the season with a 4-12 record.
Although Mike Shannahan was replaced by Jay Gruden at head coach last season, the quarterback controversy continued. Robert Griffin III, Kirk Cousins and Colt McCoy all saw time as the team’s signal caller and all three will return to Washington this season.
For Griffin, the former second overall draft pick, time is running out. The Redskins picked up his fifth year option, but if he does not live up to expectations, this could easily be his last season.
Cousins, on the other hand, had an opportunity to solidify his trade value last year and earn a starting job either in Washington or elsewhere via trade. Instead, he regressed in his first year without Shannahan and will again be in a training camp battle with Griffin for the starting gig.
The Redskins lost several players on defense due to free agency. Brian Orakpo, who ended his final three seasons on injured reserve, signed with the Titans in the offseason. Washington elected not to resign Brandon Meriweather, a safety who has a reputation of being a dirty player.
Replacing Meriweather, however, is a man who is essentially his clone. The Redskins acquired Dashon Goldson from the Bucs this offseason and, much like Meriweather, has a reputation for tallying up penalties and going for late hits on opposing players.
The most improved part of the team is the defensive line. Washington signed Terrance Knighton, Ricky Jean-Francois and Stephen Paea all of which will likely start on the Redskins 3-4 defensive line. Additionally, the team was able to find a legitimate starter at cornerback in Chris Culliver to take over for David Amerson, who has struggled in the NFL,
Despite having the ability to draft a difference maker with the fifth overall pick in the draft, Washington instead elected to draft a player at a non-premium position in right tackle Brandon Scherff. Scherff’s future in the NFL may not even be at tackle as many scouts see him more as a guard. Preston Smith was drafted as the potential replacement for Orakpo, but he is not as good of a pass rusher as Orakpo was.
The strength of the Redskins is in their offensive weapons. DeSean Jackson, Pierre Garcon and Niles Paul are solid targets, but given the team’s struggles at quarterback, it is hard for them to play to their potential.
The NFC is not the powerhouse division it once was, but the Redskins are still a long way from contention. Washington will continue to struggle as long as owner Dan Snyder is calling the shots.