No one’s quite sure what to make of the 2017 version of the Washington Redskins. They’ve lost their top two receivers from last year in Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson. They have new coordinators on offense and defense in Matt Cavanaugh and Greg Manusky, respectively. Matt Jones, Washington’s most seasoned running back, is buried deep on the depth chart. And the future for quarterback Kirk Cousins remains murky after 2017, as he’ll be playing under the franchise tag once again this year.
The 2017 season provides the perfect backdrop for someone to emerge as a dominant force for the Redskins. Cousins seems like a prime candidate, as he’ll be motivated to improve on his Pro Bowl 2016 season where he threw for 4,917 yards, 25 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. He’ll be headed for a major payday for 2018 regardless if it’s with Washington or another NFL team searching for a quarterback.
Wide receiver Terrelle Pryor is another candidate for dominance. The Redskins aren’t used to having large wide receivers. But the Redskins just couldn’t resist signing Pryor, who’s six foot four, 240 pounds, and runs the forty yard dash in 4.38 seconds. He’s also playing on a one year deal, so it would be beneficial for him and Cousins to form a lethal passing combination. Linebackers Junior Galette and Zach Brown are also both playing on one year deals. Galette has been injured the past three years and is looking to regain his dominant pass rushing form he displayed while with the New Orleans Saints. Brown was a tackling machine with the Buffalo Bills last season, and he’ll want to remain true to form this season.
The Redskins have two rookies in defensive end Jonathan Allen and running back Samaje Perine that should see extensive action. Allen was drafted in the first round this year to become a force on a Washington defensive line that sorely lacked one. He should start Week One against the Philadelphia Eagles and will be expected to solidify the pass rush. Perine has an uncanny combination of power and speed that will make him stand out among a pedestrian running back contingent. If Perine can exhibit and maintain ball security, he could be the starting running back at some point during the season.
The aforementioned players all have something to prove for various reasons. Redskins’ fans have been accustomed to their team slogging through season after season of bad football. This season’s roster might not produce a playoff team, but they should make fans forget about the years of dysfunction. So sit back and relax, Redskins’ fans. It’s going to be some kind of ride.
Gregory Bradshaw is the staff writer for the Washington Redskins at EndZoneScore.com. You can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/knisheatah or contact him at [email protected]