“Washington is Washington, right?” The words that former Giants coach Ben McAdoo recently proclaimed. While not everyone quite understood what this quote meant, Redskins fans knew exactly what McAdoo was saying. The Washington Redskins have always been the team that can’t get out of its own way; the team that always seems to shoot themselves in the foot. The team with unstable ownership, nonstop drama, and a horrid history of overpaying old stars while ignoring the team’s biggest weaknesses.
Kirk Cousins back in 2016 said that he wanted the Redskins to “be the San Antonio Spurs of the NFL:” a team that wins consistently, and stays out of the news. What ensued resembled more of a poorly run circus than the San Antonio Spurs. The Redskins had to fire GM Scott McCloughan who was dealing with alcoholism, had a young stud in Su’a Cravens that refused to play, had team president Bruce Allen call Kirk Cousins “Kurt” in a press conference, and, of course, had the three year long contract negotiations with Kirk Cousins that produced nothing. In other words, Washington was Washington.
However, this 2018 team may be ready to break that mold. Now I know you’ve heard “this time it will be different” before, but seriously, hear me out.
This offseason has been the best offseason that the Redskins have had in the last decade. Instead of throwing money at flashy big name free agents, they focused on stabilizing the roster.
The Redskins kicked off their offseason by trading for an underrated QB in Alex Smith, who led the Chiefs to the Playoffs in four of his five seasons in Kansas City. The front office then immediately gave Smith a 4 year extension. Alex Smith gives Washington a stable leader that the locker room can rally around, as well as no more quarterback drama.
The team lacked speed on the outside last year, so the Redskins went out and got a true burner in Paul Richardson. The Redskins haven’t had a true workhouse at running back since Alfred Morris, but were able to steal Derrius Guice in the draft to form a deadly 1-2 combo with Chris Thompson. This offense has the potential to keep opposing defensive coordinators up at night.
To combat having the worst run defense in the NFL last year, the Redskins beefed up their defensive line in the draft with certified beast Daron Payne and 5th round DT Tim Settle. Add this to a now healthy Jonathan Allen and a slept on Matt Ioannidis, and the team’s run defense could go from their biggest weakness in 2017 to one of their biggest strengths in 2018.
Looking at this Redskins roster, there may be no unit that necessarily jumps off the page, but there is no true weakness. If this team can stay relatively healthy, there is no reason why they can’t make the playoffs. While no one is talking about this team in a crowded NFC East, the silence has been golden to Redskins fans who are all too used to controversy-packed offseasons. The Redskins are just fine with flying under the radar for once.
So Washington is Washington, right? Not this year.