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2007 Season Previews
Washington Redskins (Last Year: 5-11)
Veteran Additions:
OT Jason Fabini, MLB London Fletcher, CB Fred Smoot, CB David Macklin, CB Jerametrius Butler, S Omar Stoutmire, ST Derrick Blaylock.
Draft Picks:
QB Jordan Palmer, TE Tyler Ecker, OLB Dallas Sartz, MLB H.B. Blades, S LaRon Landry.
Major Subtractions:
RB T.J. Duckett (DET), WR David Patten (NO), G Derrick Dockery (BUF), OLB Warrick Holdman (DEN), OLB Jeff Posey, CB Kenny Wright (CLE), S Troy Vincent, K John Hall.

Offense This Year: Ah, my final team season preview for the summer of 2007. I think I'm going to cry. Let's make this my best one. If you're a Redskins fan, you may be upset to learn that I don't have your team qualifying for the playoffs. But don't worry; I've botched my Redskins season previews the past couple of years, so you're guaranteed to make the postseason. Hogettes in D.C. rejoice.

Simply put, I'm not as high on Jason Campbell as some residents in Washington are. Granted, it was his first glimpse of NFL action, but Campbell completed 50 percent or less of his passes in four of his seven starts. The good news is Campbell tossed 10 touchdowns to just six picks, though his final five contests saw that ratio decline to six scores and five interceptions. Campbell also displayed an ability to scramble; he rushed for 107 yards and fumbled only once.

I think Campbell's going to be OK, but the 2007 season will be a long and arduous learning process for him. Luckily, he'll have the support of two outstanding running backs, Clinton Portis and Ladell Betts. Everyone knows about Portis; prior to an injury-ridden 2007 campaign, Portis had rushed for at least 1,300 yards every year. When Portis went down, Betts stepped in, and compiled about 1,600 total yards and a 4.7 yards-per-carry average. That clip happened to be much higher than Portis' (4.1), so I expect Joe Gibbs and offensive coordinator Al Saunders to utilize a two-headed ground attack this year. Unfortunately, left guard Derrick Dockery signed with the Bills, creating a massive hole on an exceptional offensive line that surrendered just 19 sacks in 2006.

Santana Moss and Chris Cooley will ensure Campbell's growth accelerates as quickly as possible. Moss managed only 790 yards last year, a drop from 1,483 in 2005, but that can be attributed to injury and the fact that there was a rookie quarterback under center. Cooley, meanwhile, reestablished himself as one of the premier tight ends in the NFL, catching 57 passes for 734 yards and six scores. Unfortunately, Campbell won't have any other legitimate target to throw to; Brandon Lloyd and Antwaan Randle El were both wasted signings last year.

Defense This Year: Let me present a set of numbers to you, so you can tell me if the Redskins' offseason complacency makes any sense whatsoever. Washington was ranked 29th against the run in 2006, permitting 4.7 yards per carry to opposing rushers. The team also accumulated a meager 19 sacks - barely one sack per game. The defensive line was obviously at fault. So, why in the world did the Redskins fail to make any sort of change to the front?

I guess Gibbs and defensive coordinator Gregg Williams don't like putting pressure on opposing signal callers; they'll once again be going with defensive ends Andre Carter and Phillip Daniels. Carter, who's as overrated and overpaid as they come, led the team with a whopping six sacks. Daniels, who celebrated his 34th birthday in March, was second on the squad with three sacks. Daniels has aged unceremoniously with defensive tackle Cornelius Griffin, who was a major reason Washington couldn't stop the run last year. Sixth-round rookie Kedric Golston, who started right next to Griffin, didn't help matters much either.

On a positive note, the defense gets better the further back you go. The linebacking corps should be solid; Rocky McIntosh, a second-round selection in 2006, saw more action during the latter stages of the season. He recorded 15 total tackles against the Rams and Giants. London Fletcher, brought in this spring, should be an upgrade in the middle. However, it has to be noted that Fletcher might be the latest of Daniel Snyder's over-the-hill, overpaid signings; Fletcher just turned 32 and his best years are obviously behind him. The third member of the crew is Marcus Washington, a marginal player who recorded 86 tackles in 2006.

I love Washington's secondary. The cornerbacks are strong with Shawn Springs and Carlos Rogers once again penciled into the starting lineup. They're also deep, now that Fred Smoot, David Macklin and Jerametrius Butler joined the team. If Smoot can rekindle the magic he had in Washington the first time around, the Redskins may own the top cornerbacking trio in the entire league. The safety position is also stout, with Sean Taylor and extremely promising rookie LaRon Landry. Landry was taken sixth overall in April's draft, and will immediately contribute to a weak defense. It's just a shame that this secondary isn't complemented by a pass rush that can, you know, actually garner 20 sacks in a single season.

Schedule and Intangibles: The Redskins scored two touchdowns on special teams and didn't allow any in 2005. They repeated their performance last year, as Antwaan Randle El and Rock Cartwright each took returns to the end zone. ... Shaun Suisham is Washington's new kicker. Replacing John Hall, Suisham connected on 9-of-11 attempts, including 2-of-3 from beyond 40 yards. However, it should be noted that Suisham is inexperienced, and those three attempts from 40-plus were the only ones in his career. ... Like the rest of the teams in the NFC East, it appears as though the Redskins secured a manageable schedule. New England, Chicago and the Jets will pose a difficult challenge, while Miami, Detroit, Minnesota, and perhaps Green Bay and Arizona could be easy victories.

Additional Reading: Endless Banter coming soon.

Positional Rankings (0-4 stars):
Quarterbacks
Offensive Line
Secondary
Running Backs
Defensive Line
No stars
Special Teams
Receivers
Linebackers
Coaching


Divisional Rival History:
Dallas Cowboys: Remember when the Redskins could never beat the Cowboys? Well, they've somehow won three of the past four battles. Go figure.
New York Giants: Home split, anyone? The host has won five of the previous six meetings, with the exception being a 34-28 Giants victory in Washington on Dec. 30. The pathetic Redskins surrendered 234 rushing yards to Tiki Barber.
Philadelphia Eagles: Pure domination. The Eagles have claimed eight of the past 10 battles.

Fantasy Football:
Jason Campbell: Jason Campbell failed to record more than 220 passing yards in any of his seven starts. Not exactly what you're looking for in a fantasy quarterback.
Projected Stats: 2,800 passing yards. 19 passing TDs. 200 rushing yards. 1 rushing TD.
Projected Fantasy Points: 280.

Clinton Portis: Clinton Portis will regain his job as starting running back, but he'll likely split carries with Ladell Betts, who proved himself last year.
Projected Stats: 900 rushing yards. 200 receiving yards. 7 total TDs.
Projected Fantasy Points: 152.

Ladell Betts: I can't see Al Saunders going away from Ladell Betts, who had a higher yards-per-carry average (4.7) than Clinton Portis (4.1).
Projected Stats: 700 rushing yards. 300 receiving yards. 5 total TDs.
Projected Fantasy Points: 130.

Chris Cooley: Chris Cooley's numbers actually increased with Jason Campbell under center. A good sign if you're planning on taking the Utah State alumnus.
Projected Stats: 850 receiving yards. 6 TDs.
Projected Fantasy Points: 121.

Santana Moss: Santana Moss' stats won't be as high as they were in 2005, but definitely won't be as low as they were in a disappointing 2006 campaign.
Projected Stats: 1,100 receiving yards. 7 TDs.
Projected Fantasy Points: 152.

Antwaan Randle El: Should have better numbers now that Jason Campbell has a year of experience under his belt. Not well enough to warrant fantasy consideration, however.
Projected Stats: 500 receiving yards. 3 TDs.
Projected Fantasy Points: 68.

Brandon Lloyd: Other than Santana Moss, don't bother drafting a Redskins receiver.
Projected Stats: 300 receiving yards. 0 TDs.
Projected Fantasy Points: 30.

Shaun Suisham: Not really sure what to expect with Shaun Suisham. His offensive sucks anyway.
Projected Stats: 17-22 FG (1-3 50+). 25 XP.
Projected Fantasy Points: 82.

Redskins Defense: No sacks, no picks, no glory. Don't bother.
Projected Fantasy Ranking: Bottom 5 Defense.

Analysis: I don't think this is going to be a promising year for the Redskins. But as I wrote earlier, I've botched my previous two Redskins season previews. Let's go 3-for-3.

Projection: 4-12 (4th in the NFC East)


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