Originally posted on Football Nation  |  Last updated 7/30/13
As the Washington Redskins begin camp, there is a sense of optimism from the team’s leaders—Mike Shanahan and Robert Griffin III.The future is bright in DC for the first time in a long time.  The ‘Skins got a taste of the playoffs and want to be a perennial contender.With the new organization and a revamped roster, the Redskins have the requisite tools to contend for division titles, the playoffs, and the Super Bowl. Consistency is the key to success in today’s NFL.  The Washington Redskins broke out last year.  Now they have to build upon that foundation. 1. Kirk Cousins Getting Starter Reps: Future ProspectsKirk Cousins has been a consummate professional so far this offseason.  He has done his part to defuse any quarterback controversy between himself and Robert Griffin III.He said on Wednesday that “And it’s my job that any time Robert’s not able to play, that there’s not a drop off, offensively, from Robert to myself. That’s a lot to ask of myself, but that’s the expectation, and I need to make sure that happens. It’s my job to be a very good insurance policy.”This brings us to two very important points about Kirk.  The first is that hopefully he never plays a down!  As much as we appreciate Kirk, the Washington Redskins are better with RG3 on the gridiron.The second is that, with a good showing in training camp, Cousins can heighten his trade value and hopefully, bring back a high pick. Training camp performances have driven up the value of many back-up QBs in the past.  See this great post for further analysis of backups who were traded for starters.If Cousins (down the road) can help the ‘Skins  by trading up in the first round or outright for a second-round pick, he will have down a great job in DC and represent excellent value for the fourth-round pick invested in him in 2012.2. David Amerson and Baccari Rambo: Rookie Starters in the SecondaryThe Washington Redskins biggest weakness was on the defensive side of the ball, specifically in the secondary.  Jim Haslett was able to mask many of the weaknesses by mix and matching coverages and schemes to confuse quarterbacks.Nevertheless, the Redskins took the step of addressing their problem in the draft.  They selected David Amerson, Baccari Rambo, and Philip Thomas.Rambo and Amerson were listed as starters for the first day of camp.  While there are some concerns about starting two rookies in the secondary, the talent level on that side of the ball has greatly increased.It will be interesting to see how the secondary develops as time goes on.  I expect to see a high-risk high-reward style of play reflective of Jim Haslett’s defensive philosophy.3. Robert Griffin III Returns to ActionObviously, the biggest question mark going into the 2013-2014 season is how will Robert Griffin III play returning from injury? The Washington Redskins paid a king’s ransom for RG3 but based on the first season it was definitely worth it.  In economic terms, the cost was dwarfed by the benefits.The key now is maximizing their investment.  The ‘Skins want and need Griffin to be their quarterback for the next 15 years.Injuries happen in the NFL.  RG3 needs to ensure that the chances for injury are limited as much as possible.I think that Robert Griffin III will develop as a pocket passer even more this year and will demonstrate that he isn’t a one trick pony and can win with his arm.I’m looking forward to seeing Griffin in action again and hope that he stays injury free and is put in a position to succeed.4. Substance Abuse SuspensionsThe Washington Redskins have lost two players for the initial four games, Rob Jackson and Jarvis Jenkins.  Obviously, this is a huge hit to the team from a depth perspective but does it underscore an underlying problem?The Redskins have lost eight players to suspension since 2011 and are tied for the dubious title of league leader.  However, their situation is not as bad as it would appear.The reason being many of the ‘Skins are guilty of stupidity and poor judgment rather than for steroids.  Trent Williams, Fred Davis, and Tanard Jackson all were suspended for drug useThe cases of Fred Davis and Trent Williams were the highest profile instances of suspension but they were drug-related.  Similarly, Jordan Black, Rob Jackson, and Jarvis Jenkins all seem to have had misunderstandings about what they ingested.I’d like to give them the benefit of the doubt and hope that this isn’t going to be the reputation of the Redskins moving forward.5. Can Alfred Morris Duplicate Last Season?Alfred Morris burst on the scene last season with a breakout year.  He finished with 1613 yards and 13 touchdowns and emerged as only the fourth player to rush for over 1600 yards in his rookie season.Is that performance repeatable, especially in the roulette that is Mike Shanahan’s system? I believe it is.The difference between the rest of Shanahan’s system running backs and Alfred is his strength and one-cut ability.  Whenever Shanahan has had a top class running back, he does rely on them and dumps the running back by committee.Look at Terrell Davis and Clinton Portis who thrived as power runners in the one-cut system.  Both enjoyed great success in their second year in the zone read system.Portis ran for 1508 yards and 15 TDs his first year and then followed that up with 1591 yards and 14 TDs the second year.  Davis rushed for 1117 yards and seven TDs his rookie year and then 1538 yards and 13 TDs his sophomore season.This bodes well for Morris and I foresee an excellent season on the horizon for him. 6. Kyle Shanahan: Will the Read-Option be Successful Again?Kyle Shanahan designed a great scheme to take advantage of Robert Griffin III’s mobility and this allowed RG3 to thrive as a rusher.But how often will the read option be used?  RG3 is the future of the franchise and the read option could expose him to a constant pounding and result in injury.The problem, though, was not the read option.Griffin needs to learn that he must slide and avoid punishment.  Against the Baltimore Ravens, he took a huge hit by Haloti Ngata which knocked him out of the game.  If RG3 slides, he avoids the hit and sees out the season.For these reasons, I think that the read option will be utilized quite a bit by Shanahan.  While defenses have been studying, so have offenses.The difference between the Wildcat and the read option is that the Wildcat presents one option—running the ball.  When you have a quarterback who can run or play-fake and throw, it becomes much harder to defend.I think that the Redskins will continue to utilize the read option and continue to be successful.7. The Washington Redskins will be NFC East Champions AgainThe last thought that I am going to leave with you is my prediction for the Washington Redskins season.  I am going to predict that they win 10 games and once again take the NFC East.They do have a tougher schedule than last year since they have to play division leaders this season.  If you see the Green Bay Packers, San Francisco 49ers, and Atlanta Falcons on the venue, you have to be a little concerned.I think that the best way to look at it is in four game chunks—see the below schedule.Breaking it out, the ‘Skins have to go 3-1 twice and then can go 2-2 twice to meet my prediction.  I think that the best options for going 3-1 are the first four games and the last four games. This prediction will rise and fall based on divisional play.  If the Redskins win four or more games, 10 wins in easily within reach.I believe that they will get those four wins and win the division for a second straight year.Let me know what you think on the comments board or email me at Fantasy_Cyril@yahoo.comWkDateGameStadiumTime (ET)TicketsNetwork1Sep 09PHI @ WASFedExField7:10 PMTicketsESPN2Sep 15WAS @ GBLambeau Field1:00 PMTicketsFOX3Sep 22DET @ WASFedExField1:00 PMTicketsFOX4Sep 29WAS @ OAKO.co Coliseum4:25 PMTicketsFOX5Bye 6Oct 13WAS @ DALAT&T Stadium8:30 PMTicketsNBC 7Oct 20CHI @ WASFedExField1:00 PMTicketsFOX 8Oct 27WAS @ DENSports Authority Field at Mile High4:25 PMTicketsFOX 9Nov 03SD @ WASFedExField1:00 PMTicketsCBS 10Nov 07WAS @ MINMall of America Field8:25 PMTicketsNFLN 11Nov 17WAS @ PHILincoln Financial Field1:00 PMTicketsFOX 12Nov 25SF @ WASFedExField8:40 PMTicketsESPN 13Dec 01NYG @ WASFedExField8:30 PMTicketsNBC 14Dec 08KC @ WASFedExField1:00 PMTicketsCBS 15Dec 15WAS @ ATLGeorgia Dome1:00 PMTicketsFOX 16Dec 22DAL @ WASFedExField1:00 PMTicketsFOX 17Dec 29WAS @ NYGMetLife Stadium1:00 PMTicketsFOX 
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