I realize that free agency hasn’t started yet and Dan Snyder hasn’t had a chance to pick over the market of overpriced veterans, but at this early juncture I find it hard to have much hope for the Washington Redskins in 2011.
Rich Tandler of Real Redskins pointed out last week that several 2012 mock drafts are already putting Washington in the No. 1 spot, meaning those outlets are essentially predicting that the ‘Skins will have the worst record in the league next year.
It makes some sense.
The 6-10 Redskins didn’t win a game in regulation after Week 7 last year (they beat Tennessee and Jacksonville in overtime). Their biggest victory was a five-point win over the Michael Vick-less Eagles on Oct. 3.
I’m starting to wonder how many games the team cares to win in 2011.
The Donovan McNabb experiment failed, but the Redskins refused to draft a quarterback last month. And it’ll likely be impossible to get a veteran acclimated if free agency, training camp and the preseason are abbreviated. Now, the team is left with John Beck and Rex Grossman competing for the starting quarterback job.
Beck has thrown one career touchdown pass in four starts. He failed to stay on rosters in Miami and Baltimore, but Mike Shanahan is inexplicably calling him the team’s starting QB. Is this just a way to acquire leverage for future trade talks with teams like Philadelphia or Denver? Maybe. Or maybe it’s an indication that the team is willing to tank 2011 in hopes of landing a franchise-changing signal caller in 2012.
And McNabb might not be the only veteran with a Pro Bowl resume that walks in the offseason. Santana Moss is expected to leave as a free agent — something the team has apparently come to grips with based on their decision to draft three receivers last month.
They aren’t in much better shape at running back, where rookie Ryan Helu — a fourth-round pick out of Nebraska — could give incumbent starter Ryan Torain a run for his money. Torain is a decent enough player, but I’m not sure he can make a large difference as an every-down back.
The defense is horrible, too. The ‘Skins finished 31st in total defense, 31st against the pass and 26th against the run in 2010. But they signed O.J. Atogwe to pair with LaRon Landry at safety, which should improve the secondary, and Brian Orakpo has a bright future in the front seven. Plus, as Tandler points out, a weak schedule might ultimately help the ‘Skins, so something tells me they’ll avoid finishing with the worst record in the league (whether they like it or not).
Regardless, unless things change drastically between now and the start of next season, Redskins fans are probably in for yet another last-place season. But with Andrew Luck waiting to be plucked, maybe that’s not such a bad thing.