Washington Redskins 2008 Season Preview – Betting Odds
by Badger of Predictem.com
2007 Record 9-7 (7-7-2 ATS)
Earned an NFC Wildcard spot
Lost in first round to Seattle (35-14)
Stadium: FedEx Field
Head Coach: Jim Zorn (1st Season 0-0)
Current 2008 Super Bowl Odds 30-to-1
Training Camp Site: Redskins Park, Ashburn, Va.
A wildcard birth and an early first round exit just isnt good enough
for Washington Redskin fans and their rich young owner, Dan Snyder,
so the Redskins went with a minor overhaul of the roster to try again
More importantly though, the Redskins will be doing it all with a new
head coach, Jim Zorn. Zorn was named the surprise winner as the new
boss of the Skins mainly because hes never been above a
quarterbacks coach before getting the head job. The position was
available because legendary coach Joe Gibbs decided it was just too
much to handle.
Zorn will install his own version of the West Coast offense in
Washington and the Skins will try and stay competitive in the NFC
East Division that saw three teams qualify for the playoffs in 2007.
Whos In/Whos Out
When I mentioned above that the Redskins did a minor overhaul of
their roster, I was mainly referring to their presence in free
agency. Besides resigning a bunch of their own free agents (QB Todd
Collins, RBs Rock Cartwright and Nehemiah Broughton, DT Ryan
Boschetti, P Derrick Frost, G Jason Fabini), the Redskins took a
cautious approach to the free agent pool.
The Skins did sign safety Stuart Schweigert to add depth in the secondary and traded for oft-injured DE Erasmus James, for who knows
Then, just one day after losing end Phillips Daniels with a torn ACL,
the Redskins made major news with a trade for former Miami Dolphin
sack specialist Jason Taylor on July 20th.
The Redskins did see a few wily veterans walk away in the offseason, most notably QB Mark Brunell, WR Keenan McCardell and LB Randall
Godfrey, but they replaced them with a solid crop of rookies in the
2008 draft class that could contribute right away.
Without a first-round pick to use, the Redskins got three players in the second-round that should all see some action in WR Devin Thomas
(Mich. State), TE Fred Davis (USC) and WR Malcolm Kelly (Oklahoma).
The rest of the Redskins draft class, including sixth-round QB Colt
Brennan (Hawaii), will be lucky to make the roster, yet alone see
action on the field in 08. Then again, maybe his showing in the Skins’ first preseason game will prove that he belongs.
This will be the major question mark coming into the season, as Zorn will bring his West Coast offense to the forefront. How quickly
starting quarterback Jason Campbell (2,700 yds., 60 comp%, 12 TD, 11
INT) can adapt and thrive in the Zorn-led offensive scheme will
determine how far the Skins go in 08. Collins was stellar as a
backup when called upon last year, which is why they resigned him to
provide the same insurance again.
Running back Clinton Portis (1,262 yds., 11 TD) is still a workhorse back and should be a little more comfortable running with the ball
outside the tackles, something the old offense under Gibbs rarely
asked him do the last few seasons. Portis should also improve on his
47 pass receptions last year, as Zorns scheme will work to try and
get him the ball in space out in the flats. Cartwright, Ladell Betts
and fullback Mike Sellers are all capable backups to spell Portis for
a few plays during the game as well.
Another player who should enjoy playing in the new offense is tight end Chris Cooley. Cooley led the Skins with 66 receptions for 786
yards last year and eight touchdowns, but all three numbers stand to
improve if Campbell is willing to work the middle of the field.
Santana Moss (3TD) and Antwaan Randle El (1 TD) were disappointing
last season, but they will be called upon to mentor the new receivers
in the core with rookies Thomas and Kelly joining the ranks.
The offensive line will be stronger too, as right tackle Jon Jansen returns from the broken ankle that knocked him out for the season
last September. Jansen and Chris Samuels are solid bookend tackles
that should protect Campbell, while Pete Kendall and Randy Thomas
join center Casey Rabach as solid run-blockers up the middle.
With the acquisition of Taylor from Miami, the Redskins significantly
upgraded their pass rush that finished with only 33 sacks last
season. End Andre Carter will be the main benefactor to the addition
of the dancing Taylor, as his 10 sacks led the team and he will
likely no longer be the main focus of the offensive line at the line
of scrimmage on certain passing downs.
Anthony Montgomery and Cornelius Griffin join the resigned Boschetti on the inside of the d-line, but their sole focus is to keep blockers
off of linebackers London Fletcher and Rocky McIntosh. Fletcher (128)
and McIntosh (87) finished one and two in tackles for the Skins last
year and will need to continue to flow to the ball to help stop the
opponents running game.
Washington should be featuring two of the games best safeties in
Sean Taylor and LaRon Landry (95 tackles, 2 sacks as rookie in 07),
but Taylor was murdered midway through last season and the Skins have
yet to find a strong enough replacement for him. Reed Doughty is
good, but he is nowhere near the talent that Taylor was in his prime.
With starters Shawn Springs and Carlos Rodgers being backed-up by
Fred Smoot, the Skins have three strong corners even though they are
all a step slower out of the break as they advance in age.
The unit as a whole is good enough for the Redskins to make the playoffs, but if the offense has a hard time adapting to Zorns new
scheme and they are forced to play a lot of snaps, they will wear
down because there is a lack of quality backups behind the starters.
The Redskins return game last season failed to reach the end zone, so
there is plenty of room for improvement. Randle El (6.1 yard ave.) is
the main punt returner, while Cartwright (25.8 yard avg.) is the main
kick returner. Neither possesses the game-breaking speed you would
like from a returner, but they are steady and sure-handed which is
all the old Gibbs-regime demanded from them.
Kicker Shaun Suisham was accurate on field goal attempts (29-of-35, long of 50) and has plenty of leg to help the kick coverage unit as
well with good hang time and six touchbacks in 07.
Frost was brought back at punter after a strong 2007 season, where he averaged 41.0 yards per kick (36.4 net) and dropped 23 down inside
the 20-yard line.
Sept. 4 at New York Giants
Sept. 14 NEW ORLEANS SAINTS
Sept. 21 ARIZONA CARDINALS
Sept. 28 at Dallas Cowboys
Oct. 5 at Philadelphia Eagles
Oct. 12 ST. LOUIS RAMS
Oct. 19 CLEVELAND BROWNS
Oct. 26 at Detroit Lions
Nov. 3 PITTSBURGH STEELERS
Nov. 9 Bye
Nov. 16 DALLAS COWBOYS
Nov. 23 at Seattle Seahawks
Nov. 30 NEW YORK GIANTS
Dec. 7 at Baltimore Ravens
Dec. 14 at Cincinnati Bengals
Dec. 21 PHILADELPHIA EAGLES
Dec. 28 at San Francisco 49ers
Betting Odds and Projections
The Washington Redskins reached the playoffs last season, but it was
a smoke-and-mirrors type of season that didnt inspire a whole lot of
hope going into this year. Plus, add the fact that they are going
into battle with an untested head coach and a whole new offensive
system and you can understand why they are currently listed as slim
30-to-1 odds at Bet Online to win the 2008 Super Bowl.
The Redskins werent a bad team to bet on in 2007 per se, you just needed to pick your spots, because over the long haul they would have
lost you money as the Skins ended 7-7-2 against the spread. Their
over/under record of 7-9 could turn into more overs in 2008, as the
new pass-early offensive scheme will open it up more for more scoring.
The key to the Redskins season will be to get into their bye week with a record above .500. Not only do they open the season on the
road versus the defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants, but
they also face NFC East rivals Philly and Dallas on the road as well.
Home games versus strong AFC teams Cleveland and Pittsburgh will be
tough, and with five of their eight home games being played before
the break, the Skins should view a potential 5-4 record into the bye
as a major achievement.