Redskins will have rough 2020 season but potential is there, NFL preview magazines say

Dwayne Haskins

Redskins quarterback Dwayne Haskins is hoping to make a good impression with his new coaching staff as he enters his second season. Photo by Brian Murphy.

After a toxic 2019 season that saw a fan revolt unlike any in recent memory, the Washington Redskins underwent a culture change by firing team president Bruce Allen and hiring former Carolina Panthers head coach Ron Rivera.

Rivera brought over a lot of his Carolina staff to instill that culture. That also includes former players like linebacker Thomas Davis Sr. and quarterback Kyle Allen.

Second-year quarterback Dwayne Haskins showed progress at the end of what started out as a rough rookie campaign. This will be an important season to impress the new coaching staff and show off his true potential.

The Redskins rid themselves of several big names like star left tackle Trent Williams, who held out all of 2019 and was traded to the NFC champion San Francisco 49ers and old friend Kyle Shanahan. The team also traded cornerback Quinton Dunbar to the Seattle Seahawks and released cornerback Josh Norman and tight end Jordan Reed. Norman signed with the Buffalo Bills while Reed is still a free agent after missing the 2019 season following a concussion suffered in the preseason. Reed’s release and Vernon Davis’s retirement left the team’s tight end room bereft of talent.

Washington showed interest in tight end Austin Hooper but didn’t compete with the Cleveland Browns’s four-year, $44 million deal. The team also swung and missed on wide receiver Amari Cooper after reportedly offering more money than the Dallas Cowboys, where the star wideout ultimately re-signed for $100 million over five years.

New defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio has to be thrilled with the defensive line he inherited as the team reverts back to a 4-3 alignment following an unsuccessful 10-year stint running the 3-4. The team boasts of five first-rounders along the defensive line after adding Chase Young with the second overall pick in April’s draft. The Cheltenham, Md. native will compliment Jonathan Allen, Ryan Kerrigan, Daron Payne and Montez Sweat. Don’t forget about Matt Ioannidis, who is consistently productive and led the team with 8.5 sacks in 2019.

However, an elite defensive line won’t keep the Redskins from staying in the bottom of the NFC East, according to this year’s NFL preview magazines. A lack of weapons on offense to help Haskins and questions in the secondary, especially at cornerback, leave the team vulnerable and facing an uphill battle against a challenging schedule.

Keeping up with my annual tradition, I broke down what the top preview periodicals are saying about the burgundy and gold. Enjoy.

LINDY’S

Lindy's 2020 Preview

 

Prediction:  4th NFC East – via Howard Balzer (2019 prediction: 4th NFC East)
Power Ranking: None
Analysis: “It might not be long before new head coach Ron Rivera wonders why he took this job.” – Howard Balzer
Notable Anecdotes: Haskins is named the Redskins player on the hot seat, noting that “Ron Rivera will have an open mind, but the heat will be on quickly if Haskins doesn’t produce on the field.”

Barry Wilner gave the Redskins draft an A-.

Terry McLaurin is ranked as the 14th-best “big play receiver” in the league. Brandon Scherff is considered the fifth-best right guard in the NFL. Allen is named the league’s seventh-best 4-3 defensive tackle. Kerrigan is ranked the league’s seventh-best 4-3 outside linebacker (even though he’s moving back to his college position of defensive end) while Jon Bostic is named the NFL’s 10th-best 4-3 inside linebacker. Landon Collins is considered the fourth-best strong safety in the league. The Redskins’ defensive line is listed as the second-best defensive line unit in the NFL behind the San Francisco 49ers and fifth of any overall unit in the NFL.

The “Scouting Snapshot” section of the Redskins analysis says that, contrary to offseason reports, wide receiver Trey Quinn will stand out in Turner’s offense and “look for CB Jimmy Moreland to be a rising star under DC Jack Del Rio.”

ATHLON

REDSKINS_C1-1.pdf

 

Prediction:  4th NFC East (2019 prediction: 4th NFC East)
Power Ranking: 15th NFC (2019 power ranking: 14th NFC)
Analysis: “They still have their work cut out for them to get out of the NFC East cellar — the Cowboys and Giants both appear to have gotten better this offseason, and the Eagles appear to have gotten no worse. But with a little luck and a lot of patience, 2020 could see the Redskins make a major leap forward.”
Notable Anecdotes: Young is projected as the NFC’s Defensive Rookie of the Year. The Redskins have no players represented in Athlon’s list of Top 50 players.

Haskins was ranked as the league’s No. 30 quarterback, the same spot Case Keenum held in 2019. Adrian Peterson was ranked as the league’s 17th-best running back. McLaurin was listed as the NFL’s 15th-best wide receiver. No Redskin made the top 20 tight end/fullbacks list nor the top offensive tackles list. Scherff is listed as the fifth-best guard in the league after being listed as sixth and fourth, respectively, in 2018 and 2019. Payne was ranked 20th among defensive tackles. Ioannidis and Allen ranked 9th and 25th, respectively among interior defensive linemen. Davis Sr. was Washington’s only representative at linebacker, coming in at 29th in the league. No Redskins made Athlon’s top 20 slot defenders or top 30 cornerbacks. Strangely enough, Collins was not ranked among the league’s top 30 safeties but Montae Nicholson, who was cut by the Redskins in March, ranks 14th.

Athlon gave the Redskins 2020 draft a B.

 

STREET & SMITH’S

2020pf4

 

Prediction: 4th NFC East (2019 prediction: 4th NFC East)
Power Ranking: None
Analysis: “‘Riverboat Ron’ Rivera is the new captain of a Washington ship that is in need of the discipline he’ll bring to a dysfunctional locker room.”
Notable Anecdote: The Redskins received an overall 2020 team grade of “C-” and a “B” grade for their 2020 draft class. Young is predicted to win Defensive Rookie of the Year.

 

RELATED

2019: Despite offseason movies, Redskins expected to finish 2018 in NFC East basement, according to NFL preview magazines

2018: Expectations low for 2018 Redskins, according to NFL preview magazines

2017: NFL preview magazines predict down season for 2017 Redskins

2016: NFL preview magazines mixed on 2016 Redskins

2015: NFL preview magazines break down 2015 Redskins

2014: How the top NFL preview magazines view the Redskins

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