Redskins: Checking Pre-Season Predictions

Ok, now it’s time to see how my pre-season predictions have come out so far now that the season is more than a third over.

What I said

What has happened

DT Albert Haynesworth will help the Skins a lot, but the move was a little risky to put so much money in one position when he has a history of missing a few games each year due to injury. He has helped but he has been nicked up a bit.  Tennessee is 0-6 after being 13-3 a year ago so you can see he is valuable – some of that can be attributed to Haynesworth being gone.  He hasn’t justified the money, though.
The addition of first round DE/LB Brian Orakpo helps the Skins at a position where they haven’t had a Pro Bowler since Charles Mann in 1991. Orakpo has helped but struggled when not rushing the passer.  He was a good draft pick.
So the Redskins improved their defensive line a lot but it makes you wonder if they could have spent money on several good players to provide depth at other positions such as the offensive line and running back instead of getting Haynesworth. True.  The OL has been a disaster because of lack of depth, and Portis looks old and we need a better backup than Betts.
It’s not as if Randle El had a terrible year last season.  He had 53 receptions and 4 TDs, so we’ll see if Kelly’s production is any better. Kelly has been a bust and Randle El is producing more.  Randle El has 18 catches for 209 yards.  Kelly has 7 catches for 73 yards.  Neither has a TD.
What is striking is that Randle El only had one carry last year.  For a fast WR, he should be running a lot more reverses.  Randle El has 436 career rushing yards for 5.6 yards a carry, yet only had one attempt last year?  In fact, Jim Zorn didn’t do a good job last year of using either Santana Moss or Randle El running reverses, and he also missed the boat in not using Randle El as a wildcat QB.  The former college QB has thrown 25 passes in the NFL, completing 20, for 281 yards and 4 TDs.   They need to use Randle El in the Wildcat. Randle El hasn’t had a carry yet.  Neither has Moss.  Zorn hasn’t used the wildcat though Randle El would be perfect for it.
Clinton Portis is ok but he’s getting older and losing speed, and has never been a very good receiver out of the backfield.  We (yes, I will sometimes say “we” don’t have much depth at RB. TE Chris Cooley is a bright spot. Safeties and LBs look solid. True
Back to money, I think the Skins may have overpaid for CB DeAngelo Hall, who hasn’t lived up to his draft status as a high first round pick, so again, the Skins could have gotten some lesser known players who didn’t have the big names. True
Our kicker and punter are again average.  Our kickoff and punt return teams and coverage has been below average for the last 15 years.  When was the last time the Skins blocked a punt? True
The offensive line has gotten a lot of criticism, but this unit has actually been together for several years, so they should do ok, although they sometimes lose ground to bigger lines.  The big problem is the lack of depth, unless there are some diamonds in the rough that we don’t know about. Yes and no.  The line’s lack of depth proved to be a big problem, but the line didn’t do that well in the first place even when healthy.
As for QB, Jason Campbell should have a decent year.  He needs to improve his accuracy on the deep pass. Campbell hasn’t played that well but he’s getting too much criticism.  He doesn’t have a lot of talent to work with.  He’s completing 65% of his passes (a career high), has 6 TDs and 6 INTs – not enough TDs, and a QB rating of 84.3, tied for a career high.
I have a problem with the Skins putting Colt Brennan on IR for the whole season when it appears that his injuries weren’t that severe. True.  It’d be nice to see what he can do now instead of Collins.  It’s a wasted season for him.
The Skins should pick up Jeff Garcia. True.  They’d do much better with him, though it wouldn’t be building for the future.
I also told someone that in a weird way, I wouldn’t be surprised if Dan Snyder almost wants the Skins to have a mediocre season…Why?  So that he can hire Bill Cowher, Mike Shanahan, Tony Dungy, Mike Holmgren, or John Gruden next year.  Of course, he’d love a Super Bowl win, but since it probably won’t happen, look for Snyder to hire one of those guys, most likely Cowher, Shanahan, or Gruden. True.
What the Skins should really do, though, is hire an experienced NFL GM. True.
Back to the Skins:  my prediction is that they will finish 9-7, which usually results in about a 50% chance of making the playoffs. This was obviously wrong – it looks like the Skins will go 5-11 or so.  But Snyder has completely undermined Zorn’s authority and if he hadn’t done that, the Skins might be 4-2 instead of 2-4.  In fact, yesterday’s 8-point loss to the Chiefs was the largest margin of defeat all year.  It sounds unbelievable, but with a few plays here and there, the Skins could be 5-1.  But they have played the easy stretch on the schedule so my prediction of 9-7 was definitely off.

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