3 reasons why the Washington Redskins can win the Super Bowl
These are two words I never thought I’d be typing as a strength for the Redskins. But give credit to Cousins for delivering when given full support by head coach Jay Gruden as Washington’s starter ahead of Robert Griffin III. Cousins hit his stride in the second half of the season, completing at least 67.4 percent of his passes in every game between Weeks 10 and 17 with 19 touchdowns and just two interceptions. Overall, Cousins is the first Redskins quarterback to lead the NFL in completion percentage (69.8) since Sonny Jurgensen in 1970. You like that, indeed.
The supporting offensive cast
The return of wide receiver DeSean Jackson from early-season injury and emergence of tight end Jordan Reed as a difference-making tight end have helped Cousins enjoy one of the most prolific passing seasons in Redskins history. Jackson provided a deep threat the Redskins sorely lacked. He registered three scoring catches of 56-or-more yards between Weeks 10 and 16. Through the first nine games, Cousins’ longest completion was 43 yards. With 87 catches for 952 yards and 11 touchdowns, Reed became the first Redskins tight end to lead the team in receiving since Jean Fugett in 1977. Wide receivers Pierre Garcon (72-777-6 TDs) and rookie Jamison Crowder (59-604-2) contributed, as well.
A stout front seven
A draft pick like second-round outside linebacker Preston Smith is one of the reasons Scot McCloughan will garner strong consideration for NFL Executive of the Year honors. Smith notched five sacks in the final three games to finish the regular season with eight, which led all NFL rookies. Smith forms a strong tandem with fellow OLB Ryan Kerrigan, who led the Redskins in sacks with 9.5. Defensive end Chris Baker also developed as a pass-rushing threat with a career-high six sacks. As for run-stuffing, nose tackle Terrance Knighton does a nice job clogging the interior of the opposition’s offensive line but the Redskins could be susceptible in this area. Washington surrendered an average of 4.8 yards a carry during the regular season, which tied for second-to-last among all teams behind New Orleans (4.9).