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Same As It Ever Was........

The Semi-Early Season Prediction Thread

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A quick shout out of congratulations to the Capitals for bringing Lord Stanley's cup to DC for the 1st time ever. Also to Bryce Harper for winning the Home Run Derby at the All-Star Game, which was also a blast to see being held at Nationals Park.

Also, life has again gotten in the way of my hobby of blogging about the Redskins. Nothing serious, just some high stress at the real job for the past month. I hope to catch up on the supplemental draft and some other stuff as time permits before/around the start of training camp.

So with out further ado, here is my Redskins prediction for the 2018 season before training camp starts, before a single snap has been taken in preseason and before injuries occur and rosters are set. I blame sports media for having to do this so early. I will have an updated prediction probably after the third game of the preseason.

How will the Redskins fare in 2018? I mean we don't have Kirk Cousins anymore. We lost a ton of drafted players from 2014 and Su'a Cravens was traded!!!!!!!! We might as well get ready to be drafting at #2 overall behind the Browns in 2019.

Right??????

Wrong.

Believe it or not, I am more excited for this season than I have been in a long time. In prior years, I've had moments of excitement when it came to a new player joining the team or to see how a coach or a coordinator would change things when they took over. This is the first year in awhile I really like this team overall. From the guys running the day to day operations in the front office (Williams/Smith) to the coaching continuity to the potential on the roster. But I have some tangible reasons why I think this team will be better than the 2017 squad to go with my fandom as a Redskins fan.

So today, I will look at the positives I see in this team. To the skeptics, I will also look at some concerns that the team may need to address either now or in 2019. Finally, I will do a quick breakdown of the 2018 schedule.

I Have The Redskins Going 10-6

Here's some reasons why.

1. Alex Smith - When the Redskins traded for Smith in January for Kendall Fuller and a 3rd round draft pick, Smith was immediately extended for an additional four years. Thus, Smith is under contract through 2022. If Smith remains with the Redskins for the entirety of his deal, he'll be a free agent at 39. Now we know how most NFL contracts work and that there is likely to be a dead year or two on Smith's deal, but it's likely that Smith will remain in DC until his late 30's. Smith realizes that Washington will probably be he last chance to win a championship with a team. Smith is the type of player that wants to win, knows how to win (at least in the regular season and somewhat in postseason) and that rubs off on teammates. Smith also is familiar with Jay Gruden's scheme as both Gruden and Smith's former coach Andy Reid come from the same coaching tree.

Where Smith will push for wins, the same might not have been said about Smith's QB predecessor in Kirk Cousins. I'm sure Cousins wanted to win but he knew he wasn't coming back to DC, wanted a fully guaranteed contract and realized with all of the injuries accumulated that the team had little chance to make or win in the playoffs in 2017. It felt to me that towards the end of the season Kirk played it safe and continued to do things that make fantasy players happy but not fans of the Redskins; pile up yards and stats primarily during garbage time of many games.

2. Run Game Improvement - The Redskins addressed a real sore topic during the draft by selecting Derrius Guice in the 2nd round of the draft. While there are some concerns about the run blocking and the O-line, the team now has a solid 1-2 combination of RBs with Guice as the featured back and Chris Thompson as the 3rd down back/change of pace back with Perine and Kelly to spell them. While I don't expect the 2018 to become a Joe Gibbs run first type of team, I do expect an improved run game that will give Smith the ability to set up play action passes and also allow him to run when needed.

3. D-Line - The Redskins had one of the worst run defenses last year after injuries to Jon Allen and Matt Ioannidis occurred. It was clear that the team was missing depth and talent. Also, worth noting is that the Redskins have never truly addressed the NT position since Mike Shanahan brought the 3-4 to DC in 2010 (it's always been plug a guy that doesn't fit into the position). In the 2018 draft, the Redskins finally addressed both issues by drafting Daron Payne in the 1st round and Tim Settle in the 5th. Payne will immediately start at NT and may rotate as a 3-4 DE. While Settle will provide depth at NT and will probably be used in short yardage and some 4-3 nickle packages. Not only will the run defense be improved with more talent to the roster, one hopes that there will be more opportunities for the OLBs to get pressure and sacks on the QB as the interior will collapse the pocket more often. There is a chance that the weakest unit on the roster in 2017 could possibly become one of their biggest strengths in 2018.

Concerns

This team is not perfect and there are some clear concerns that may keep this team from achieving the record that I believe they can reach.

Injuries - The Redskins lost 21 player to the IR last year. That would seem to be insane to see that again, but there are players on the roster that have lengthy injury histories. This will be a key to watch this season.

Left Guard/OL depth -The Redskins re-signed Shawn Lauvao to fill the starting LG position, but he has a significant injury history and the depth behind him hasn't been tested too well. I expect Tyler Catalina or Tony Bergstrom to possibly be starting by week five.

WR - Can Josh Doctson become the #1 WR that the team and fans expect? Can Paul Richardson stay healthy and provide a speed compliment to Doctson's size? Can Jamison Crowder have a better year? Will the backups be able contribute/step up when needed?

Dustin Hopkins
- Before his injury, he was struggling. He did come back a rebound to finish the season on a solid note. Can he have a good 2018?

2018 Schedule Breakdown

9/9 @ Arizona - An aging team with a new head coach that overpaid a lot of money for Sam Bradford. This is a must win game for the Redskins.

9/16 vs. Indianapolis - When was the last time Andrew Luck took an NFL snap? Another new head coach and a team trying to figure itself out.

9/23 vs. Green Bay Packers - The old Alex Smith vs. Aaron Rodgers debate continues. Expect both to bring their A games. This will be a challenge.

9/30 BYE - Why in the hell does the NFL start BYEs this early?

10/8 @ New Orleans - Three words: Monday Night Football. I hate when the 'Skins play on MNF and they rarely prove me wrong (sadly).

10/14 vs Carolina - The more physical team wins this game. So will a nastier Dline and Guice help the Redskins here?

10/21 vs Dallas - The Cowboys will try to run Elliott down the Redskins' throats. Will it work again this year?

10/28 @ NYG - 'Skins don't play well in NY, but with Eli struggling and a new head coach can the Redskins pull off the win?

11/4 vs. Atlanta - I expect a very high scoring game. May come down to who has the ball last.

11/11 @ Tampa Bay - This team is a mess. I wonder if DeSean Jackson will be playing in this game?

11/18 vs. Houston - This game might come down to a long FG. I hope Dustin Hopkins will be ready.

11/22 @ Dallas - Short week and Dallas hoping to embarrass the Redskins on a holiday. But I keep wondering if Dak can be effective if the run game is limited?

12/3 @ Philadelphia - By this point either Eagle fans will be throwing batteries and cursing their players again or comparing themselves to the Patriots with their "dynasty".

12/9 vs. NYG - It always seems that any playoff chances for the 'Skins (as of late) are determined with the December game vs. the Giants. Hopefully Alex Smith will have better games than Kirk Cousins.

12/16 @ Jacksonville - Another physical, defensive game. We'll know by now how good our depth will be at this point.

12/23(?) @ Tennessee - Redskins.com has this as TBD for date/time. Hey it's a Will Compton and Brian Orakpo reunion!!!! I wonder how many times we'll here Orap-ko during that week on TV (thinks of Charley Casserly and Vinny Cerrato).

12/30 vs. Philadelphia - By this point we'll know if either of these teams are winning the division, making playoffs or trying to get a better spot in the draft. Could be a real garbage game or one worth watching.

Training camp is just a week or so away and I'll be back hopefully sooner than later with another post about the 'Skins. Football season is almost here. It's about time.

Updated 08-29-18 at 12:07 AM by The Burgundy Ghost

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