The division champs can’t afford to get comfortable. What looked like a changing of the guard last season for the Washington Redskins now looks like a looming dogfight to stay on top what with Robert Griffin III battling back from his knee injury. Free agency and the NFL draft brought in limited big name help. Did that stop them from adding some real talent?
Offense – Jordan Reed
Penalties from the NFL made it difficult for the Washington Redskins to get anything of major significance done in improving their roster. However, that didn’t stop them from using what they had wisely. An excellent example is tight end Jordan Reed. With Fred Davis still in doubt because of his injury last season, the need for some insurance was obvious. A lot of people overlooked Reed in the draft but his potential is clear. Scouts saw him as an excellent move tight end that could create mismatches in the passing game because of his smooth route running and ability to catch and run. He also can play different positions much like his former teammate Aaron Hernandez did for the Patriots. Provided Reed doesn’t (allegedly) murder anybody he could have a big impact in the capital for Robert Griffin III.
Defense – Phillip Thomas
Another draft pick that got overlooked. Safety was a big pain for Washington last season and they were fortunate to find Phillip Thomas still on the board in the 4th round. He isn’t a complete player but scouts love his ability to play center field, going up and batting passes and grabbing interceptions. He had eight last season for Fresno State, a remarkable feat considering his junior year was cut short by a gruesome leg injury. That kind of grit and determination is something the Redskins will want patrolling the back end of their secondary. If he can improve his tackling ability and refine some technique issues it won’t take long for him to make noise on defense.
Special Teams – Sav Rocca
Rich Eisen of the NFL Network has a saying every year that he loves to repeat. Punters are people too. That is the truth, and as cliché as it sounds, every team curses the though of a punter right up until they need one. While nobody can predict how the regular season will begin for the Washington Redskins, it is clear they may need the services of Sav Rocca a little more than usual. He had a solid season in 2012, averaging 43 yards per punt, placing 22 inside the 20-yard line and making so opponents could only manage eight yards per return. With RGIII still a question mark, there is likelihood the punt team might see the field more often than expected. That means Rocca must make sure he is ready. The fewer chances he gives the other team to have good field position, the better off the Redskins will be when Griffin does eventually return.