Couldn't agree more. Berman is one of the top 10 (wait...let's double check ESPN's roster...), top 5 talents ESPN has. In fact, I propose a White House petition to bring back, back, back, back, back the Berman/Jackson NFL Primetime.
RB Anthony Alridge, WR D.J. Hackett, OT Mike Williams, G Derrick Dockery, G Jeremy Bridges, DT Albert Haynesworth, OLB Robert Thomas, P Hunter Smith.
DE/OLB Brian Orakpo, CB Kevin Barnes, OLB Cody Glenn, OLB Robert Henson, TE Eddie Williams, WR Marko Mitchell, DE Jeremy Jarmon.
WR James Thrash, OT Jon Jansen, G Pete Kendall, C Justin Geisinger, DE Demetric Evans, DE Jason Taylor, DT Ryan Boschetti, OLB Marcus Washington, OLB Khary Campbell, OLB Darrell McClover, CB Shawn Springs, S Mike Green, P Durant Brooks, P Ryan Plackemeier, P Dirk Johnson.
2009 Washington Redskins Offense:
In his first year in Jim Zorn's West Coast offense, Jason Campbell had 13 touchdowns and six picks, but maintained a miserable YPA of 6.4. In his final eight games of the 2008 campaign, Campbell threw all six of his interceptions and countered with only five scores. However, as I mentioned in my 2009 Fantasy Football Rankings, I like Campbell this season, and I'm confident that this will be his best year of his professional career.
Why all the confidence? A few reasons, namely the fact that Campbell will be playing in the same system for a second-consecutive season for the first time as an NFL quarterback. It's absolutely insane that Campbell has never had the luxury of staying in the same scheme in back-to-back years, but I guess anything is possible when Daniel Snyder is the owner. I don't agree with putting Campbell in a West Coast offense, but as I said, Campbell's familiarity with the scheme will bolster his confidence and overall performance.
Another thing that will help will be the development of Washington's young receivers. Devin Thomas and Malcolm Kelly were ineffective as rookies in 2008, but the former has been running with the first team in minicamp. He'll get the chance to start, which will move Antwaan Randle El to the slot. Meanwhile, Santana Moss registered 79 receptions for 1,044 yards and six scores in 2008. Like Campbell, Moss can only benefit from being in the same system for a second season.
Washington's leading receiver last year was Chris Cooley, who garnered 83 catches for 849 yards. He disappointed his fantasy owners with just one touchdown after scoring eight in 2007. Look for that number to bounce back now that Campbell is more familiar with his offense.
A third reason as to why Campbell will improve is his offensive line. Campbell took 38 sacks in 2008, thanks to the fact that left tackle Chris Samuels missed four games, while right tackle Jon Jansen was a sieve in pass protection. Jansen is gone and the position hasn't really been upgraded with Stephon Heyer, who allowed three sacks in just seven starts. However, the line has been bolstered with left guard Derrick Dockery, who was among the league's best guards until 2008, when he was lost in pass protection (8.25 sacks). A new home may spark Dockery to play up to his potential.
The two other positions up front are problematic. Casey Rabach, 32 on Sept. 24, surrendered 5.5 sacks in 2008, which is a lot for a center. Right guard Randy Thomas, who turned 33 this offseason, allowed four sacks himself, and is just one year removed from missing 12 games.
Fortunately, Dockery's presence will help the strength of Washington's offense, which is the ground attack. Dockery is a devastating run-blocker, so he'll open up wide lanes for Clinton Portis, who rushed for 1,487 yards and nine touchdowns in 2008. There has been some talk of Portis wearing down, but I'm not buying it; Portis is only 27.
Others will point to the fact that Portis failed to gain more than 80 rushing yards in his last five games of last year's campaign, but it must be noted that he battled the Giants (5th versus the run), Ravens (2nd), Eagles (7th), Bengals (9th) and 49ers (10th). Any runner would have struggled against those defenses.
2009 Washington Redskins Defense:
Any 2008 stat that I list doesn't matter. Everything changed on Feb. 27. That was the day Daniel Snyder smashed his piggy bank and gave $100 million to Albert Haynesworth, far and away the NFL's most dominant defensive lineman in the past two seasons.
The Redskins had major problems getting to the quarterback in 2008 (24 sacks), but things will be much different with Haynesworth occupying two blockers. Suddenly, right end Andre Carter, who is a year removed from notching 10.5 sacks, will have the luxury of getting a lot of one-on-one matchups. You could make the case that aside from Haynesworth and Carter, the Redskins don't have much proven talent up front. Then again, someone could counter that every single Tennessee Titan defensive lineman who signed elsewhere struggled without Haynesworth. It's entirely possible that either Anthony Montgomery or Lorenzo Alexander could step up this season and become the next Tony Brown.
You may be asking, "What happened to Brian Orakpo? Won't he be a factor as well?" I don't like rookie defensive ends, as most of them really tend to struggle (which would also explain why I haven't touched on Jeremy Jarmon, the team's third-round supplemental draft pick.) But that's a moot point because Washington apparently has shifted Orakpo to strongside linebacker, a curious move to say the least. The Redskins don't have much else at the position, so Orakpo could be their best option there. He'll move to the line on obvious passing downs as a nickel rusher.
Elsewhere at linebacker, Rocky McIntosh, manning the weakside position, played well last year until losing reps late in the season because an old knee injury flared up. In the middle, London Fletcher continues to prove me wrong. For the past few seasons, I've suggested that Fletcher could decline in performance and production, but the veteran has continued to play well. Fletcher is now 34, so his time has to be up sooner or later.
With a better ground defense and an improved pass rush - all thanks to Haynesworth, of course - Washington's secondary will have more opportunities to create turnovers. Other than Haynesworth's deal, the Redskins' other big move was re-signing DeAngelo Hall to a 6-year, $55 million deal. Hall has a horrible attitude, but also possesses all the talent in the world. He played well for the Redskins last year, but whether or not he stays mentally focused with his guaranteed $23 million remains to be seen.
The Redskins happen to be pretty deep in the secondary, which happens to be why they were fifth in pass defense (6.3 YPA) last year. Carlos Rogers will start across from Hall, with Fred Smoot and rookie Kevin Barnes playing behind them. Meanwhile, there are no weaknesses at the safety position. Chris Horton quietly had a great rookie campaign in 2008. LaRon Landry, meanwhile, is a dominant player.
2009 Washington Redskins Schedule and Intangibles:
Call me crazy, but I don't trust the Jim Zorn-Jason Campbell combination. The Redskins were one of the most erratic teams in the NFL last season. For example, they had back-to-back road victories at Dallas and Philadelphia, only to come home and lose to the winless Rams as 11.5-point favorites. Later in the year, they managed to beat a hot Eagles team as 6-point underdogs. That however, was sandwiched in between losses to the crappy Bengals and 49ers. For the Redskins to be more successful in 2009, they have to become a lot more consistent.
In the past two years, the Redskins have surrendered three touchdowns on special teams (two in 2008). Santana Moss scored on one of his six punt returns, but Antwaan Randle El was once again ineffective in that role. Meanwhile, kick returner Rock Cartwright isn't going to scare anyone.
Shaun Suisham performed well in 2007, hitting 29-of-35 attempts. However, he really struggled last season, nailing just 26-of-36 field goals, including 1-of-4 from 50-plus.
The Redskins also had punting issues last year, which is why they decided to bring in former Indianapolis Colt Hunter Smith. Smith's 2008 average isn't going to impress anyone (44.2), but it should be noted that he sank 23-of-53 kicks inside the 20.
Washington's early-season schedule looks like a cakewalk. Following a battle against the Giants, four of the team's next five games are against the Rams, Lions, Buccaneers and Chiefs. Unfortunately, the Redskins have to deal with the Saints, Chargers, Eagles and Giants in the final six weeks of the year.
2009 Washington Redskins Positional Rankings (1-5 stars):
2009 Washington Redskins Analysis: Washington's offense will be better with the addition of Derrick Dockery, the progression of Devin Thomas and the fact that Jason Campbell will be in the same scheme for a second consecutive season. Washington's defense will be better with the signing of Albert Haynesworth... and... umm... Albert Haynesworth (he might as well count as two people).
The Redskins had an inferior squad last year and still finished with an 8-8 record. So, with that in mind, I'd say the only thing that could possibly stand in the way of a possible playoff berth is Haynesworth himself.
I haven't mentioned this yet, but it must be addressed. Haynesworth has been extremely dominant the past two seasons, which coincided with his being in contract years. Before the 2007 campaign, Haynesworth was not nearly such a powerful force. Whether he has the motivation to work hard and remain the league's top defensive lineman with $100 million in his back pocket is something that must be questioned.
Did anyone else find it humorous that the Redskins took all of two seconds to hand in their card? I still can't believe Brian Orakpo fell to No. 13. It's also rare that Daniel Snyder can take advantage of the stupidity of other general managers.
Kevin Barnes was solid draft value at No. 80, but he didn't fill a need. He is insurance, however, if DeAngelo Hall once again becomes a problem in the locker room.
Washington couldn't find much value in the later rounds. The team also ignored its need for a right tackle. Well, at least Snyder didn't trade away any future selections.
Grade given on 4/27/09: B-
2009 NFL Draft Picks:
13. Brian Orakpo, DE, Texas
Washington's defensive line is scary. Brian Orakpo is going to face lots of one-on-one coverage with Albert Haynesworth and Andre Carter playing next to him. It's seldom that I can compliment Daniel Snyder for a great draft pick, but Orakpo was a no-brainer at No. 13. (Pick Grade: A)
80. Kevin Barnes, CB, Maryland
Kevin Barnes could have been drafted in Round 2, so once again, the Redskins are getting outstanding value with their selection. I just don't know what they plan on doing at right tackle. Corner wasn't a big need. (Pick Grade: B)
158. Cody Glenn, OLB, Nebraska
A bit of a reach here, but the linebacking depth isn't great in this class. Cody Glenn also fills a need at strongside linebacker. (Pick Grade: C)
186. Robert Henson, OLB, TCU
Another outside linebacker and another reach. However, this is the sixth round, so if you really like someone, you can't really wait around too much longer. (Pick Grade: C)
221. Eddie Williams, TE, Idaho
This pick has no value and doesn't fill a need. It's the seventh round, so whatever. (Pick Grade: C)
243. Marko Mitchell, WR, Nevada
Maybe the Raiders meant to draft this guy in the second round. The Redskins will need receiving depth down the road, and Marko Mitchell is solid value here. (Pick Grade: B)
The things we take for granted... Coming off improbable back-to-back road victories against the Cowboys and Eagles, the Redskins had a very easy game against the Rams. Unfortunately, they took that contest for granted and lost to a St. Louis team they simply overlooked. Had they beaten the Rams, they would have been 9-6 going into the final week of the season, which would have set up a meaningful win-and-in battle at San Francisco. Instead, the Redskins were 8-7 in Week 17 and had nothing to play for.
Redskins cut OLB Alfred Fincher
Texans sign OLB Khary Campbell
Redskins sign WR D.J. Hackett
Redskins cut WR Roydell Williams
Redskins acquire DE Jeremy Jarmon for 2010 3rd-rounder
Lions sign OT Jon Jansen
Redskins cut OT Jon Jansen
Dolphins sign DE/OLB Jason Taylor
Redskins sign WR Roydell Williams
Redskins sign G Jeremy Bridges
Steelers sign P Dirk Johnson
Redskins sign RB Marcus Mason
Redskins cut P Dirk Johnson
Redskins sign OT Mike Williams
Redskins sign P Hunter Smith
Redskins re-sign DT Kedric Golston
Redskins sign OLB Robert Thomas
Raiders sign DT Ryan Boschetti
Redskins re-sign DE Phillip Daniels
Redskins re-sign DT Anthony Montgomery
Redskins re-sign K Shaun Suisham
Redskins re-sign S Reed Doughty
Redskins re-sign OLB Alfred Fincher
Patriots sign CB Shawn Springs
49ers sign DE Demetric Evans
Redskins cut DE Jason Taylor
Redskins sign G Derrick Dockery
Redskins cut CB Shawn Springs
Redskins sign DT Albert Haynesworth
Redskins re-sign CB DeAngelo Hall
Redskins cut OLB Marcus Washington
Redskins sign RB Anthony Alridge
Right Tackle: Washington's offensive line is a mess and it really needs to be upgraded, starting at right tackle. Jon Jansen, who just turned 33, has terrible knees and is an abomination when it comes to pass protection.
Two Guards: The guard position is also a major issue. Pete Kendall and Randy Thomas are both old and unreliable. Jason Campbell will continue to struggle with inconsistency as long as the offensive line is in shambles. Signed Derrick Dockery and Jeremy Bridges
Defensive End: Aside from the offensive line, Washington's biggest problem was not being able to get to the quarterback. The team totaled just 24 sacks, and no player had more than four. The Redskins need a pass-rushing specialist on the outside to complement Andre Carter.
Defensive Tackle: In addition to getting someone who can generate pressure from the outside, the Redskins should try to find a dominant defensive tackle who can get to the quarterback up the middle. If all of the top tackles are gone at No. 13, Washington might consider Ole Miss defensive tackle Perry Jerry. Signed Albert Haynesworth; re-signed Anthony Montgomery
Strongside Linebacker: It looks like Marcus Washington will be a cap casualty this offseason. That's fine; the Redskins needed an upgrade here anyway. Signed Robert Thomas; drafted Cody Glenn and Robert Henson
Center: This isn't as big a need as some of the other offensive line positions, but Washington should definitely start thinking about an upgrade for the pedestrian Casey Rabach, who surrendered 5.5 sacks in 2008.
Middle Linebacker: London Fletcher should be OK for one more year, but the Redskins must find his successor sometime soon.
Cornerback: The Redskins barely have any good picks and they have no cap room at all, so I doubt they'll be able to find some cornerbacking depth this offseason. Re-signed DeAngelo Hall; drafted Kevin Barnes
2009 NFL Free Agent Signings:
Albert Haynesworth, DT, Titans. Age: 28. Signed with Redskins (7 years, $100 million; $41 million guaranteed)
The most dominating 4-3 defensive tackle in the game, Albert "The Hamstring" Haynesworth figures to cash in big time this offseason, given that the Titans can't franchise him. My only concern is that Haynesworth was merely playing for a contract these past two years.
Hunter Smith, P, Colts. Age: 32. Signed with Redskins
Hunter "The Punter" Smith remarkably had just two punts go for touchbacks this season. That's the least amount of any punter with at least 25 attempts. Smith had a 44.2 average and hit 23-of-53 tries inside the 20. That's a pretty impressive ratio.
Derrick Dockery, G, Bills. Age: 28. Signed with Redskins (5 years, $26 million; $8.5 million guaranteed)
Derrick Dockery can stock run block pretty well, but he was completely lost in pass protection last year, giving up 8.25 sacks. He was also whistled for five penalties.
Anthony Alridge, RB, Broncos. Age: 25. - Signed with Redskins
D.J. Hackett, WR, Panthers. Age: 28. - Signed with Redskins
Robert Thomas, OLB, Raiders. Age: 29. - Signed with Redskins (1 year, $1.3 million)
Jeremy Bridges, G, Panthers. Age: 29. - Signed with Redskins
Marcus Mason, RB, Jets. Age: 25. - Signed with Redskins
Mike Williams, OT, None. Age: 29. - Signed with Redskins
Washington Redskins Free Agents:
Salary Cap (As of Feb. 7): -$3 million
DeAngelo Hall, Redskins. Age: 25. Re-signed with Redskins (6 years, $54 million; $22.5 million guaranteed)
There's no questioning DeAngelo Hall's talent level. It's more his attitude and work ethic that the Redskins should be concerned about. Something tells me Hall will steal money from Daniel Snyder, just as he did from Undead Al.
Demetric Evans, DE. Age: 29. Signed with 49ers (2 years, $3.8 million)
Demetric Evans is great against the run and can occasionally get to the quarterback (four sacks).
Anthony Montgomery (RFA), DT. Age: 25. Re-signed with Redskins (1 year)
Anthony Montgomery, a very talented defensive lineman, didn't make the leap expected of him this season because of a broken hand and a knee injury. The Washington Post predicts the Redskins will slap a second-round tender on Montgomery.
Shawn Springs, CB. Age: 34. Signed with Patriots
Shawn Springs is a talented corner who played very well in 2008 - when he was in the lineup. Springs has missed 14 games in the past three years. Age is also a huge issue.
Reed Doughty (RFA), S. Age: 26. Re-signed with Redskins (1 year)
Reed Doughty did a great job for the Redskins at safety after Sean Taylor's tragic passing. However, he was lost for the year with a back injury in early October. Doughty will have to look elsewhere for a starting gig because Chris Horton played extremely well for Washington as a rookie.
Marcus Washington, OLB. Age: 31.
Should be a great backup and a decent spot starter for his new team. However, Marcus Washington turns 32 in October and has suffered some recent injuries.
A rotational nose tackle who just had ankle surgery. That's not much of a concern.
Khary Campbell, OLB. Age: 30. Signed with Texans
Not much of a factor on defense, but a very good special-teamer.
Jason Taylor, DE. Age: 35. Signed with Dolphins (1 year, $1.1 million)
Jason Taylor had two sacks against the Eagles in a Week 16 battle, which is a good sign. Still, he's way too old to be anything other than a rotational guy.
Pete Kendall, G. Age: 36.
The Redskins can get away with having Pete Kendall as a starter if he continues to play the way he did in 2008. However, he's 36, so there's a good chance he could really regress. Washington needs a long-term solution at left guard.
Shaun Suisham (RFA), K. Age: 27. - Re-signed with Redskins (1 year, $1.01 million)
Durant Brooks, P. Age: 24.
Justin Geisinger, C. Age: 27.
Ryan Boschetti, DT. Age: 27. - Signed with Raiders
Alfred Fincher, OLB. Age: 26.
Jon Jansen, OT. Age: 33. - Signed with Lions
Mike Green, S. Age: 32.
Phillip Daniels, DE. Age: 36. - Re-signed with Redskins (1 year)
Roydell Williams, WR. Age: 28.
Darrell McClover, OLB. Age: 28.
James Thrash, WR. Age: 34.
Ryan Plackemeier, P. Age: 25. - Signed with Bengals
Divisional Rival History: Dallas Cowboys: Remember when the Redskins could never beat the Cowboys? Well, they've somehow won five of the past eight battles, including a stunning win in Dallas as double-digit underdogs. Go figure. New York Giants: The Giants dominated the Redskins in two meetings this season. They won the two contests by a combined score of 39-14. Philadelphia Eagles: Remember what I said about the Eagles losing games they should win? Well, they were large favorites over the Redskins twice in 2008. They lost both games.
Features to be Posted This Offseason:
2009 NFL Draft Grades (Pick-by-Pick NFL Draft Grades as well - Live on Draft Day!)