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Online Redskins Lines & Predictions - Washington Future Odds - Free NFL Betting Previews

2006 Washington Redskins Season Preview

2006 Redskins NFL News - August 22nd, 2006
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2006 NFL Previews - By: Tony Moss For

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For the first time in a long time, it felt good to be a Washington Redskins fan again in 2005. One of the NFL's most storied franchises had gone six straight years without a winning season or a playoff appearance,

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and between 1999 and the 10-6 campaign of 2005, Redskins fans had mostly been left to lament the likes of failed coaches Steve Spurrier, Marty Schottenheimer, and Norv Turner, as well as struggling starting QBs like Tony Banks, Danny Wuerffel, Shane Matthews, and Tim Hasselbeck.

Last year might not have quite made Skins fans forget all of that hardship, but it did represent a giant step in the right direction. Hall of Famer Joe Gibbs led the organization that he had formerly established as one of the league's best back into the postseason, where they beat the Buccaneers on the road and were a break or two from taking down the Seahawks and reaching the NFC Championship game. Mark Brunell, not so long ago a pariah in the nation's capital, magically morphed back into an effective NFL starter, heaving the ball downfield to Santana Moss and in turn resurrecting his pro career.

Now, the mission for Gibbs and Brunell will be to keep the Redskins at or near that lofty perch, to secure the team's first NFC East title since '99, and make a serious bid for the club's initial Super Bowl appearance since the 1992 season.

In a division that projects to be the toughest in the entire league in 2006, maintaining that position figures to be a mighty challenge.

Below we take a capsule look at the 2006 edition of the Washington Redskins, with a personnel evaluation and prognosis included therein:

2005 RECORD: 10-6 (2nd, NFC East)

LAST PLAYOFF APPEARANCE: 2005, lost to Seattle, 20-10, in NFC Divisional Playoff

COACH (RECORD): Joe Gibbs (140-76 in 14 seasons with Redskins, 140-76 overall)



OFFENSIVE STAR: Clinton Portis, RB (1516 rushing yards, 11 TD, 30 receptions)

DEFENSIVE STAR: Marcus Washington, LB (93 tackles, 7.5 sacks, 1 INT)

OFFENSIVE TEAM RANKS: 7th rushing, 21st passing, 13th scoring

DEFENSIVE TEAM RANKS: 13th rushing, 10th passing, 9th scoring

FIVE KEY GAMES: at Dallas (9/17), at N.Y. Giants (10/8), at Philadelphia (11/12), Carolina (11/26), N.Y. Giants (12/30)

KEY ADDITIONS: QB Todd Collins (from Chiefs), WR Antwaan Randle El (from Steelers), WR Brandon Lloyd (from 49ers), TE Christian Fauria (from Patriots), C Mike Pucillo (from Browns), OL Tyson Walter (from Texans), DE/OLB Andre Carter (from 49ers), LB Jeff Posey (from Bills), LB Rocky McIntosh (2nd Round, Miami (FL)), CB Mike Rumph (from 49ers), CB Kenny Wright (from Jaguars), S Adam Archuleta (from Rams)

KEY DEPARTURES: QB Patrick Ramsey (to Jets), WR Taylor Jacobs (to 49ers), WR/KR Antonio Brown (released), TE Robert Royal (to Bills), C Cory Raymer (released), DT Brandon Noble (released), OLB LaVar Arrington (released), CB Walt Harris (released), S Omar Stoutmire (to Saints), S Ryan Clark (to Steelers), S Matt Bowen (released), P Tom Tupa (released)

QB: Mark Brunell (3050 passing yards, 23 TD, 10 INT) had a bounce-back year in 2005, throwing a career-high 23 touchdown passes and eclipsing the 3,000-yard plateau for the first time since 2001, when he was with the Jaguars. That effort was a bit of a mixed blessing, however. Brunell will be 36 on September 17th, and the longer he is reasonably effective, the longer it will take for 2005 first-round draft choice Jason Campbell, who represents the future of the franchise, to get on the field. The Redskins dealt Patrick Ramsey to the Jets in the offseason in an effort to help Campbell move up the depth chart, though what it will take for him to actually unseat Brunell is a burning question. Todd Collins, who has not started an NFL game since 1997 but is familiar with the offense of new coordinator Al Saunders, is an insurance policy should Brunell go down and Campbell prove himself unready.

RB: After struggling at times during his first season in Washington, Clinton Portis (1516 rushing yards, 11 TD, 30 receptions) rebounded with his third 1,500-yard season in four years during 2005. Portis reeled off 100-yard outings in each of his last five games to help secure the Redskins a playoff berth, though he failed to get untracked in two postseason outings (33 carries, 94 yards, 1 TD). Back to spell Portis is Ladell Betts (338 rushing yards, 10 receptions, 2 TD), who played well when called upon last season, and Rock Cartwright (199 rushing yards, 2 TD), who had a 100-yard game against the Rams last year and might be the best third-string running back (and backup fullback) in the NFL. When the Skins have gone to a traditional look and utilized a fullback (as opposed to h-back Chris Cooley), Mike Sellers (12 receptions, 8 TD) has been their go-to guy.

WR/TE: Santana Moss (84 receptions, 9 TD) had a brilliant first year in Washington last season, and his Pro Bowl campaign was made all the more remarkable by the fact that he had absolutely no one to take the pressure off on the other side of the field. No other Redskins wide receiver scored a touchdown over the course of an 18-game season, prompting the team to add free agents Antwaan Randle El (35 receptions, 1 TD with the Steelers) and Brandon Lloyd (48 receptions, 5 TD with the 49ers) in the offseason. The signing of Randle El made bigger headlines, though Lloyd, who was a No. 1 receiver in San Francisco, has a chance to make more of an impact in the passing game. David Patten (22 receptions), who was a total bust after coming over from the Patriots, might struggle to get on the field in '06, if he is able to make the team. Fellow holdover James Thrash (14 receptions) will battle with Patten for a roster spot. Apart from Moss, Brunell's only regular target in '05 was h- back Chris Cooley (71 receptions, 7 TD), who could play more of a traditional tight end role in Saunders' offense. Former Patriot Christian Fauria (8 receptions, 2 TD with New England) is expected to occupy the No. 2 tight end spot.

OL: An unsung key to the Redskins' 2005 success was the play of the offensive line, which managed to open holes for Portis and keep Brunell upright for the entire season. The same unit is back for '06, with tackle Chris Samuels and guard Derrick Dockery manning the left side, tackle Jon Jansen and guard Randy Thomas the right, and center Casey Rabach maintaining his spot in the middle. A couple of free agent pickups, center Mike Pucillo and guard Tyson Walter, should stick around to provide depth, as should holdover tackle reserve Jim Molinaro.

DL: The Redskins failed to generate a consistent pass rush in 2005, a problem the coaching staff hopes that the addition of free agent Andre Carter (44 tackles, 4.5 sacks) helps eliminate. Carter is a former first-round pick who has never quite lived up to his billing, but the team feels that he and holdover Phillip Daniels (48 tackles, 8 sacks) give them a solid combination at end. Washington is set on the interior with Cornelius Griffin (35 tackles, 4 sacks) and Joe Salave'a (31 tackles, 0.5 sacks), who were both quiet yet effective in '05. Renaldo Wynn (30 tackles, 0.5 sacks), who started 15 games a year ago, can provide depth at both tackle and end, and fellow holdovers Cedric Killings (13 tackles), Ryan Boschetti (7 tackles), and Demetric Evans (22 tackles, 3 sacks) have experience as well.

LB: Gone after six seasons in the nation's capital is LaVar Arrington (47 tackles), though his defection to the Giants might not be as significant as it would seem. Arrington was a Pro Bowler from 2001-03, but failed to maintain that form amid injury problems and off-the-field feuding with the coaching staff and ownership over the past two seasons. Warrick Holdman (23 tackles) has been tabbed to replace Arrington on the weak side, though there are whispers around the organization that once 2006 second-round pick Rocky McIntosh (Miami (FL)) develops, either he or current middle linebacker Lemar Marshall (98 tackles, 4 INT, 2 interceptions) could end up at that position. Marcus Washington (93 tackles, 7.5 sacks, 1 INT), still one of the team's top playmakers, is set on the strong side. Offering depth along with McIntosh will likely be Khary Campbell (13 tackles), Chris Clemons (9 tackles, 2 sacks), and Robert McCune (4 tackles), all of whom saw the field in 2005. Ex-Bills starter Jeff Posey (61 tackles, 3 sacks) was claimed off the scrap heap during the preseason, and figures to play a reserve role on the outside.

DB: The most sweeping changes on the team are in the secondary, where four players that saw significant minutes in '05 - cornerback Walt Harris (57 tackles, 1 INT) and safeties Ryan Clark (57 tackles, 3 INT), Matt Bowen (14 tackles), and Omar Stoutmire (17 tackles) - have all departed. The starting holdovers are free safety Sean Taylor (70 tackles, 2 INT, 1 sack) and cornerback Shawn Springs (50 tackles, 1 INT), with another part-time starter, second-year man Carlos Rogers (46 tackles, 2 INT), holding down the other corner slot. The most significant newcomer is projected starting strong safety Adam Archuleta (70 tackles, 3.5 sacks, 1 INT with the Rams), who has struggled mightily with injuries and inconsistency over the past two seasons, but is still an upgrade over Pierson Prioleau (42 tackles, 3 sacks), particularly in pass coverage. Prioleau and former Jaguars and Titans corner Kenny Wright (64 tackles, 2 INT) should be capable backups, and holdover Ade Jimoh (18 tackles) should make the roster as well. Preseason injuries to Springs and Jimoh caused the team to acquire former first-round pick Mike Rumph (12 tackles with the 49ers), who can play either cornerback or safety. Rumph has missed 27 of a possible 32 games over the past two seasons due to injuries.

SPECIAL TEAMS: John Hall (12-14 FG) has missed large chunks of the past two seasons due to quad, groin, and hamstring injuries, but the 32-year-old kicker still resides atop the depth chart at his position. The team also appears to be sticking with punter Derrick Frost (40.4 avg.), though undrafted free agent David Lonie (Cal) has a shot to unseat him with a strong camp. Ladell Betts (25.9 kickoff return avg., 1 TD) gives the Skins a valuable weapon in the kickoff return game, but the team is looking for someone to handle punt returns. Wideout Ataveus Cash, who is in his fourth NFL training camp with his third different team but has never appeared in a regular season game, was listed atop the depth chart there early in camp.

PROGNOSIS: Every team in the NFC East has its weaknesses. The Giants have uncertainty in the secondary, the Cowboys are soft on the o-line, and the Eagles lack a No. 1 receiver. But the Redskins' potential trouble spot - the quarterback position - could be the biggest deficiency of all. Brunell is operating on borrowed time until Campbell is handed the reins of the offense, and though Gibbs would likely prefer to see the veteran hang in as the starter and be effective for 16-plus games, Brunell's advancing age and recent history render that a shaky proposition indeed. In a division this strong, even if every other element of the team is solid and accounted for, any hiccup at the quarterback position could be the Redskins' undoing. If Washington manages to avoid that problem, they'll challenge for the division title and a playoff berth again. If not, don't be surprised to see them finish fourth in the NFC East.

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