Washington Redskins Season Over/Under Wins
Recommendation: Under 7.5 (-135) @ TheGreek
There is absolutely no way to debate the overwhelming opinion that hiring Mike Shanahan as head coach instantly makes Washington a better team. There will now be stability and leadership that simply did not exist last year under fired HC Jim Zorn. While Shanahan’s presence is a definitive plus, I see three areas that are large enough weaknesses to easily override the positive and keep the Redskins a sub .500 team this season.
First I’ll go on record as saying I do not believe the acquisition of QB Donovan McNabb is anything more than a lateral move over Jason Campbell. While McNabb was grossly underappreciated by the majority of Philadelphia fans and media during his 11 year stint, they got the best of his abilities in every sense.
Washington on the other hand is not likely to be as lucky. Unlike Andy Reid’s pass happy version of the “west coast” offense where freelancing could become a part of any given play, Mike Shanahan’s “west coast” philosophy is more structured. Even if Shanahan’s system was identical to Reid’s, the days of McNabb making plays with his legs are in their twilight. In Washington, the now 33 year old McNabb will be playing with his athletic liability (passing accuracy) and he won’t be able to mask it with highlight type scrambles or escapes from pressure that lead to broken play completions.
His reliance on a consistently productive ground game will become evident here in D.C. because without one, his inadequacies as a drop back passer will sink this offense. Like most of his years in Philadelphia, this team does not have a threatening wide receiving corps. Nor do they have a playmaking pass catcher out of the backfield like McNabb had for many years in Brian Westbrook. Because he’s such an inconsistent pocket passer, McNabb needs to be surrounded by excellent targets who can help him be good.
In the 2010 Redskins scenario, TE’s Fred Lewis and Chris Cooley will probably form the most productive receiving position. I just don’t see the ground game or the wide receivers being good enough to make McNabb the signal calling upgrade that many others believe he’ll be.
Then there is also the small problem of having a rookie left tackle (1st round draft choice Trent Williams) protecting his blindside. McNabb’s eroding mobility demands a fortress at left tackle and if Williams can’t provide that then there will be a lot of trouble in the Washington backfield. Not only are defensive coordinators going to test Williams early and often but consider the capability to apply pressure inside this division.
Dallas with DeMarcus Ware, the N.Y. Giants trio of Justin Tuck, Osi Umenyoura, Mathias Kiwanuka and Philadelphia’s sack master Trent Cole and their trademark blitz happy style. Undoubtedly the Washington left side will be relentlessly attacked.
The third negative with the Redskins is their cornerbacks. With the explosiveness that divisional wide receiving units possess right now, can a group led by D’Angelo Hall really hold up? I am not sure how DT Albert Haynesworth will approach this season and how productive he can be in a system he dislikes so I won’t add that to my list of negatives. Although, it could turn out to be one.
I totally believe that Mike Shanahan was a terrific hire but I also believe that this team does not have the personnel to exceed 7.5 wins.