When the season began the Washington Redskins were a niche pick not only to win the NFC East, but make a deep run into the playoffs. However that notion was ended early in the season after the Redskins started 3-5, and allegations of internal turmoil made national headlines.
In the off-season the Redskins fired coach Mike Shanahan after four years and 24-40 record. The Redskins look to move forward in the 2014 season as they hired former Cincinnati Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden.
With a new head coach and Bruce Allen taking over the responsibilities as General Manager the Redskins are hoping to get back to their 2012 playoff form. For a team that was 3-13 a lot must be done to ensure there isn’t a repeat, but here are the five most important moves that the Washington Redskins must make.
Make sure RGIII is 100 percent healthy
Last year, reining rookie of the year RGIII played anything but that. Coming off of reconstructed knee surgery the explosive second year qb was limited tremendously. In 13 games, Griffin threw for 3,000 yards & 16 TD’s but had 12 INT’s, seven more than the season prior. If RGIII can prove last year was just a sophomore slump the Redskins will be competitive again.
Trade Kirk Cousins
The Redskins are in the city of politics and though the Nation’s capital is filled with political drama the football team shouldn’t. Kirk Cousins was drafted in the fourth round of the 2012 Draft and was supposed to be insurance for anything that could go wrong with RG III. Cousins’ presence, however, hasn’t been as helpful as thought. Kirk believes he’s an NFL starter and wants the chance to prove it (0-3 in the final three games wasn’t enough). RG III is the QB of the future and wants another chance to show it. If the Redskins want RGIII to grow as their franchise QB, they need to get rid of the guy who really thinks its him.
Resign Brian Orakpo
There weren’t many bright spots on one of the worst defenses in NFL last season. Though the Redskins finished middle of the pack in total defense, 18th, they were tied for the second worst in points given up (478) and third worst in the NFC in take-away margin at -8. Orakpo at OLB is a force with 10 sacks on the season, he accounted for almost a third of the teams sacks (36) and even scored a touchdown on an interception return. Orakpo is a must-resign even if that means a franchise tag.
Sign a big play wide receiver
No disrespect to Pierre Garcon, but the Redskins are in need of a sure fire stud at the No. 1 receiver position. Garcon is coming off a season where he set the franchise record for receptions (113), but only had 5 TDs. At 6-0, Garcon isn’t the imposing target you would normally want from your No. 1 receiver. This year’s pool of free agent receivers isn’t star studded but in the right situation a Kenny Britt, Jeremy Maclin or Mario Manningham could be a nice upgrade, at least at the #2 spot.
Resolving the issue of the name “Redskins”
The debate whether or not the NFL team from Washington should use the name “Redskins” is one that is heating up on both sides. Owner Dan Snyder has said that he won’t change the name regardless of opinions and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has backed him saying the choice resides with the team. With growing support against the name from activists and now a few in Congress, the issue can no longer be pushed to the side. Senator Maria Cantwell, Democrat from Washington, said in an interview that her and her colleagues would examine the NFL’s tax-exempt status if a change wasn’t made. That is a battle even the NFL might not be able to stand up too.