Like the other teams in the NFC East, the Washington Redskins are watching the appeal procedures of star Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott very closely. If the Cowboys lose Elliott for six-games it will throw the division wide open to the other three teams.
Unfortunately for the Redskins, they are not the team best positioned to take advantage of a hobbled Dallas and this could be the last year that this team exists in its current form before being broken up.
Washington finished out of the playoffs in 2016 with an 8-7-1 record which just isn’t going to get it done in the NFL.
Quarterback Kirk Cousins still hasn’t agreed to a long-term contract that will keep him in Washington and that was probably a good strategic move in light of the $135,000,000 deal just inked by Detroit’s Matthew Stafford.
Cousins threw for 4,917 yards last year along with 25 touchdowns and 4 rushing touchdowns so the offense revolves around him.
That being said, he lost his two top targets via free agency with DeSean Jackson moving on to Tampa Bay and Pierre Garcon heading west to San Francisco. That’s a lot of production to lose and the Skins are going to need to rely on incoming Terrelle Pryor as well as tight ends Jamison Crowder and Jordan Reed which probably means that he won’t put up similar numbers this year. Josh Doctson will start opposite of Pryor.
The running game is nothing to get excited about either. The Redskins ranked 21st on the ground and will be led by Robert Kelly who isn’t going to remind anyone of John Riggins. The Redskins will likely struggle to move the ball consistently on the ground and without the 2nd rated passing game, will have difficulty scoring points.
One thing about Cousins is that he knows head coach Jay Gruden’s system but the drop off in talent at the skill positions is going to hurt.
The team finished 28th in total team defense in 2016 and haven’t done much to improve other than drafting two members of the great Alabama Crimson Tide – lineman Jonathan Allen and linebacker Ryan Anderson – with their top picks. Josh Norman is the best talent on this unit which will have difficulty stopping anyone with regularity.
Owner Daniel Snyder is not a man known for patience so if the Redskins fail to make the postseason, there could be significant changes coming.
So, what does it all mean?
Even if Elliott misses significant time with Dallas it’s hard to see the Redskins being able to beat out any other team in the division with the exception of the Philadelphia Eagles who they will duel for last place in the NFC East.
It could be time for Snyder to just back up the truck and clean house.