Landon Collins

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.

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

After selecting Dwayne Haskins at No. 15 overall, the Redskins hope the rookie is the quarterback of the future. Photo by Brian Murphy.

Based on the moves they made this offseason, the Washington Redskins should, at worst, be expected to finish around 7-9 in 2019. A 9-7 finish while fighting for a playoff spot may be viewed as their best-case scenario. The team addressed several needs since free agency began in March but only time will tell if they can make their way out of the .500 quagmire they’ve been stuck in the last four seasons.

The two biggest factors will be health, which has been the team’s downfall the last two seasons, and quarterback play. With Alex Smith unlikely to play in 2019 (and maybe ever again) due to a broken leg suffered last season and Colt McCoy still recovering from a less severe broken leg suffered just weeks later, the Redskins addressed the most important position on the roster with a trade for veteran Case Keenum and the selection of Dwayne Haskins with the 15th pick in the draft.

Assuming star left tackle Trent Williams ends his holdout and returns at some point during training camp, the biggest questions heading into 2019 are: Who will start at quarterback and will the competition between Keenum and Haskins be decided legitimately? Four of the first five games are against playoff opponents, including the defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots. Will Keenum be the starter so he can navigate the team through those early turbulent waters only to hand over the reigns to Haskins so he can sail calmer seas during his rookie voyage? Will Haskins be named the starter right away in order to put some more butts in the notoriously vacant FedEx Field seats? Or will Haskins be named the starter for Week 1 because he’s legitimately ready to play, early tests be damned?

Those questions will be answered in a couple months. But what fans can evaluate to this point is the team addressed pressing needs this offseason, such as safety (Landon Collins) and edge rusher (Montez Sweat). Even though they signed Ereck Flowers and drafted Wes Martin and Ross Pierschbacher, the left guard spot still appears unsettled. The team took a hit when inside linebacker Reuben Foster tore his ACL and LCL in May OTAs. The 2017 first-round pick was claimed by the Redskins last season amidst controversy and will miss the 2019 season. For the Redskins, that means another hole in the roster has opened up.

Despite an offseason that appears it will keep the Redskins afloat and at least semi-relevant in 2019, analysis from the top NFL preview magazines proves lots of doubt remains about this team. So much so, that Lindy’s, Athlon and Street & Smith’s all peg the Redskins for a last-place finish in the NFC East.

Keep reading to find out what else these reputable periodicals had to say about the 2019 iteration of the burgundy and gold.

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