OPEN CAMP: July 27, Bon Secours Washington Redskins Training Center, Richmond, Virginia.
LAST YEAR: Horrendous red zone and third-down defense all season and Week 17 dud against Giants contributed to missing playoffs year after winning NFC East. Third-down defense ranked last in NFL and red zone defense ranked 26th. QB Kirk Cousins broke own franchise record with 4,917 yards passing and 25 TDs but threw two interceptions in season finale vs. New York. Robert Kelley went from undrafted to starting RB, but lack of consistent running game proved costly. Kelley finished as leading rusher with 704 yards and six TDs. Cousins’ top target, TE Jordan Reed, missed four games with injuries, and LT Trent Williams served four-game drug suspension. WRs Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson each surpassed 1,000 yards receiving in contract years. CB Josh Norman rebounded from uneven start to have productive year with three INTs, but was league’s most penalized player. LB Ryan Kerrigan led team with 11 sacks and LB Mason Foster had 104 tackles. Combination of bad defensive play calling and execution led to firing of coordinator Joe Barry and personnel changes.
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IMPORTANT ADDITIONS: WR Terrelle Pryor, WR Brian Quick, S D.J. Swearinger, LB Zach Brown, rookie DE Jonathan Allen, DL Terrell McClain, DL Stacy McGee, defensive line coach Jim Tomsula
IMPORTANT LOSSES: WRs Jackson and Garcon, DE Ricky Jean-Francois, DE Chris Baker, S Duke Ihenacho, offensive coordinator Sean McVay
CAMP NEEDS: After enjoying welcome ”boring” 2016 camp, Cousins’ second season on franchise tag hangs over 2017. Cousins has new receivers to figure out and coach Jay Gruden must determine pecking order. Promoted defensive coordinator Greg Manusky must piece together unit with mass changes, most notably solving safety position with Swearinger and second-year player Su’a Cravens. Finding spots for first-rounder Allen and second-round LB Ryan Anderson among position battles. Demoted RB Matt Jones continues to hope for trade or release.
EXPECTATIONS: Redskins on playoff bubble again. Uncertain division gives them chance to return to playoffs for second time in three years, but that’s dependent on Cousins’ play, Gruden’s play calling and much-improved defense.
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