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NFL Sneak Peak – The Washington Redskins

NFL Football Futures Betting – 2009 NFL PreSeason Analysis – Redskins Football Gambling

The Redskins got a nice break out of the starting gate, winning four of their first five and six of their first eight and included in those wins included key division road wins over Dallas and Philadelphia.

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Beginning with a 23-6 home loss to Pittsburgh, though, things started to crumble, and it has hard to right the ship as the ‘Skins just stopped scoring. Ultimately it was an 8-8 season (6-8-2 ATS) and a lot of questions being raised about quarterback Jason Campbell.

Why will things be different on offense this year?

Let’s take a look at the numbers:

Odds To Win NFC East

New York Giants +165
Dallas Cowboys +250
Philadelphia Eagles +210

To Win Super Bowl: +3300
To Win NFC title: +1600
To Reach Conference title game: +700
Under 8 wins -125
Over 8 wins -105

There was a lot of talk out of training camp last season that Jason Campbell really “got it” and was ready to become a much more productive NFL quarterback as he was grasping Jim Zorn’s version of the West Coast attack. This was important, as Todd Collins had been the guy who steadied this team and brought it on a playoff run in what turned out to be Joe Gibbs’ final season as head coach.

Campbell had the ‘Skins out to a 6-2 start, and things looked good. Then the offense hit the brick wall, and the 2-6 record in the second half of the season featured five games in which they scored ten points or less. Campbell doesn’t really provide the answer at quarterback in the NFL, and team management recognized this, as it tried to make a deal for Jay Cutler, then attempted to trade up for Mark Sanchez. So on top of the fact that he is no more than a middle-of-the-road QB, Campbell (3245 yards, 13 TD’s) knows they don’t have confidence in him, which is why they’re happy to keep Collins around.

There are some pretty good performers on this offensive unit, though. Clinton Portis (1487 yards last year) is a legitimate #1 NFL running back, if he can stay healthy, and he’s backed up by Ladell Betts. Portis seemed to tire from the workload in the season’s second half, so expect them to use Betts a little more to let him pace himself. Santana Moss is a dangerous wide receiver, and Antwaan Randle-El is not a bad second banana. They’ll need to get something out of one the wideouts they drafted high last season – Malcolm Kelly or Devin Thomas.

Tight end Chris Cooley caught 83 passes last season and is one of the best in the business. He will once again be a favorite outlet of Campbell (or Collins). Fred Davis, the tight end who was drafted on the second round out of USC last season, should be more of a part of the offense and give them a chance to do some double-TE situations, if he can stay out of Jim Zorn’s doghouse. The protection is relatively solid with left tackle Chris Samuels manning the position. We already know that this offensive line can open holes for the running game. Because Campbell is so non-explosive, they are going to have to do it again.

Defensively, this team could not put together a pass rush last season, and Jason Taylor, who they acquired from Miami (and who has since gone back), was out with injury for most of the year. That problem was addressed. The Redskins made one of the bigger splashes of the free agent season when they signed Albert Haynesworth, the All-Pro from the Titans. Haynesworth not only plugs up the run from his defensive tackle position, he also generates an awful lot of pressure on the quarterback for an inside lineman. Then, with the 13th pick in the draft, Washington took Brian Orakpo of Texas, recognized as one of the better pass rushers in college football.

More pressure on opposing passers will make a good secondary even better. D’Angelo Hall, if he can get back to his Pro Bowl form, helps enormously opposite Carlos Rogers, and Laron Landry and Chris Horton, a second-year man, are a very capable pair of safeties. Beyond London Fletcher, the linebacking corps has some holes that need to be plugged up.

Washington will live and die by the running game, but that isn’t quite enough. If they continue to try justifying selecting Campbell in the first round four years ago, this is a team that may not climb from the limbo of .500 football. Because I think at some point they will turn to Collins, and the defense has become more dynamic, I would go “over” eight wins (-105) in the BetUS NFL football futures odds, but it would not be a strong recommendation.

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  1. Matt Martz says:

    The Redskins had a big off-season, signing DT Albert Haynesword from the Tennessee Titans, and drafting DE Brian Orakpo in the first round of this year’s draft. The defense will be very strong in 2009. QB Jason Campbell struggled as the season progressed last year and will once again have problems in 2009. WR Santana Moss will continue to shine out on the field, running routes almost unequaled in the NFL. RB Clinton Portis will not be as productive as years past and the Redskins will struggle some offensively. The Redskins will end the 2009 season last in the division with a disappointing 7-9 record.