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The 2019 NFL season will be a proving ground for the Washington Redskins now that they have a couple of new potential quarterbacks under center, one (Case Keenum) coming off a 6-10 season with the Denver Broncos and the other (Dwayne Haskins) an exceptional yet highly inexperienced rookie.
Franchise quarterback Alex Smith is still healing from the leg injury that took him out for the season in Week 11 last year, and most likely won’t see any playing time in 2019 for head coach Jay Gruden, who desperately needs his Redskins to get to the postseason after a three-season playoff hiatus.
General manager Doug Williams had ten draft picks and made some free agency signings that he hopes will put Washington in a position to win more games sooner than later, and we take a look at some of those moves as well as give you the odds and predictions of the Redskins’ 2019 season.
Record-wise, the 2018 Washington Redskins did the same as they did the season before with a 7-9, third-place finish in the NFC East, the fourth time (and third season in a row) in five years that head coach Jay Gruden couldn’t get his team to the playoffs.
Quarterback injuries are what took these Redskins down in 2018, starting in Week 11 when, after a promising 6-3 start to the season, veteran Alex Smith suffered a compound and spiral fracture to his tibia and fibula in his right leg during a sack by Houston Texans Kareem Jackson and J.J. Watt, ending his season (and possibly his 2019, as well).
The rest of the year was miserable, the Redskins having to float from Colt McCoy under center for two weeks until he fractured his fibula, to Mark Sanchez until he was benched for Josh Johnson, and 2018 closed on a depressing 1-6 run that saddened everybody involved.
Short answer – sorta, for now.
Keenum didn’t live up to his hype last season quarterbacking the Denver Broncos to a 6-10 finish, but the hope is that he can come into Washington and give them at least one solid season while starter Alex Smith’s leg continues to heal and while recently drafted Dwayne Haskins (first round, 15th pick overall) gets experience and learns the Redskins’ playbook.
The best case scenario would be that Keenum proves to be the winner he was in Minnesota for the Vikings in 2017, which gives Smith plenty of time to rehab and Haskins lots of sideline clipboard education while the Redskins with Keenum under center give the Eagles and Cowboys a run for their money.
Worst case scenario is that Keenum gets benched before too long and Colt McCoy has to fill in until a desperate head coach Jay Gruden feels the need to rush Haskins into the big leagues, for which he is currently woefully unprepared.
That’s the rumor, that 2018 is a must-win season for the Redskins if Gruden wants to keep his job, which, chances are, he does.
Yes, Gruden brought Washington to the playoffs (a Wild Card loss in 2015) his second season at the helm after a one-postseason drought from his predecessor, Mike Shanahan, but the last three years there has been zero January football in Washington and the powers that be (meaning the fan base) are getting restless.
Gruden is a veteran coach from a highly-respected coaching bloodline, however, so he may have a little bit more rope to play with than some semi-experts might think, especially given the quarterback injury cards he’s been dealt with lately.
Two years ago, the Redskins had the offensive coordinator of their dreams until the Los Angeles Rams snagged Sean McVay away and made him a West Coast NFC head-coaching hero.
Since then, Matt Cavanaugh has filled the role, but after finishing 29th in scoring last season, general manager Doug Williams decided it was time for another change.
Taking over the OC job now is Kevin O’Connell, who was the quarterback’s coach until recently, while Cavanaugh will remain with the organization as a senior offensive assistant.
The main goal of the draft for the Redskins was to find their quarterback of the future.
They did that by selecting Haskins, but given his inexperience, it’s more of a long term move, than a short term solution.
Drafting defensive end Montez Sweat and signing safety Landon Collins could be big moves towards improving the Redskin’s 17th ranked defense.
Linebacker Preston Smith, who signed with the Green Bay Packers for a four-year deal worth $52 million, with $16 million of that money guaranteed.
Wide receiver Jamison Crowder, who is now with the New York Jets after signing a three-year, $28.5 million deal, with $17 million of that guaranteed.
Safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix who agreed to a one-year contract with the Chicago Bears worth $3 million, with $500,000 of that guaranteed.
Safety Landon Collins, who signed a six-year deal worth $84 million, with $44.5 million of that guaranteed.
Guard Ereck Flowers, who agreed to a one-year contract worth $3.25 million, with $1.5 million of that guaranteed.
Cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, who signed a one-year deal worth $1.075 million, with a base salary of $1.030 million and a roster bonus of $45,000.
Offense: Quarterback, wide receiver, the offensive line
Defense: Edge rusher, safety
The Redskins ended up with 10 picks in the 2019 NFL Draft, and they were:
Over the last decade, the Washington Redskins have been to the playoffs twice, both Wild Card Games, which they lost in 2012 to the Seattle Seahawks 14-24 and in 2015 when they lost to the Green Bay Packers 18-35.
The Redskins have been to a total five Super Bowls in their franchise history and have won three Lombardi Trophies after winning Super Bowl XVII in 1982, Super Bowl XXII in 1987 and Super Bowl XXVI in 1991.
Current general manager Doug Williams was the Super Bowl XXII MVP after leading the Redskins to an easy 42-10 victory over the Denver Broncos, completing 18 of 29 passes for 340 yards and four touchdown passes.
The oddsmakers don’t have a whole lot of faith in the 2019 Washington Redskins and predict that, for the third season in a row, they will end up in third place of the NFC East.
There are thirteen other NFC franchises that have been given better odds than the Redskins to go to the Big Game next season, and there are 27 other NFL teams with the same or better chances of taking home the Lombard Trophy.
Bottom line, the odds have it that this is a rebuilding year for Washington, but Keenum has pulled off playoff miracles before, so he may have at least one more in his back pocket for these healthy-quarterback-starved Redskins.
Will Case Keenum become the mojo man under center again, or does he continue the 18 TDs to 15 INTs decline he showed last season in Denver?
Does Gruden feel the pressure? Can he overcome it and begin winning again, or does he need Alex Smith to be healthy in order for success to happen?
Is rookie first-round draft pick defensive end Montez Sweat the real deal, or will the NFL be too big a stage for the big kid from Georgia (by way of Mississippi State)?
Will free agent safety Landon Collins boost Washington’s 17th ranked run defense, or will defensive coordinator Greg Manusky fail to use him properly in coverage?
Based on the odds the 2019 Washington Redskins have been given below, this team will most likely underperform, but that’s a huge insult to these professional coaches and players and those doubts may just provide them with the fuel they need to totally elevate.
Washington Redskins Postseason
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Mike Lukas is a retired standup comedian turned freelance writer now living in Dallas, Texas, originally from Cleveland, Ohio. His love for the game of football and all things Cleveland Browns turned Mike into a pro blogger years ago. Now Mike enjoys writing about all thirty-two NFL teams, hoping to help football gamblers gain a slight edge in their pursuit of the perfect wager. Email: [email protected]More info on Mike Lukas
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