Thursday, January 2, 2014
Washington Redskins season wrap-up
By John Keim
Arrow indicates direction team is trending.
Final Power Ranking: 31
Preseason Power Ranking: 10
Biggest surprise: The complete collapse. After last season's strong finish and all the youth on offense, the Redskins appeared poised to have an excellent year. Their defense looked good this summer, too, and welcomed back linebacker Brian Orakpo. But instead of fighting for a playoff spot, they're now battling other teams to find a head coach. It was not difficult to see the Redskins doing worse than last year, considering the cap penalties and Robert Griffin III's knee. But 10-6 to 3-13? That was tough to predict.
Biggest disappointment: The return of the circus atmosphere. The locker room held together well during the losing and maintained their support of the coaching staff. But the consistent leaks led to one story after another taking shots at Griffin, his father and the Shanahans. It led to speculation about why certain stories emerged. It also turned a bad season into a horrible one in which it became clear change was necessary. And the rift between Griffin and coach Mike Shanahan widened. One year ago the future appeared bright for the franchise. Now they'll enter the offseason with a lot of questions about their future.
Biggest need: Head coach. They already needed secondary help, another linebacker, a pass-rushing lineman and another receiver -- plus an offensive lineman or two. Now they need someone to lead the franchise. This is the sixth time owner Dan Snyder will have to find a new head coach in the offseason, which suggests his approach has not worked. No coach will have lasted more than four years under him. Not everything is his fault, of course, but it is a fact. Snyder will need to find someone who can develop Griffin, which means the offensive coordinator hire will be highly important as well. The Redskins likely will look to an offensive-minded head coach (for the fourth straight time under Snyder). But what they need to find is a good head coach. Otherwise they'll repeat this scenario in three or four years.
Team MVP: Wide receiver Pierre Garcon. He set a franchise record with 113 receptions, a testament to his consistency as he caught at least five passes in every game. He made the occasional flashy catch -- a one-handed grab or when he slipped and fell and caught a ball while sitting. But for the most part it was just about consistency, from the way he ran his routes to his approach to playing. Garcon played with passion and emotion and also contributed in the run game with his blocking. Garcon excelled at getting yards after the catch on horizontal routes because of his fearless style. Though running back Alfred Morris had a strong season, too, Garcon was more consistent.