NFL Football 2013: Washington Redskins Preview
When people try to get a handle of the Washington Redskins this season, they must first come to terms with the reality that Robert Griffin III, the team’s star quarterback, will defy the odds if he starts all 16 regular season contests. Griffin is still learning how to be a pro quarterback. He’s far ahead of many of his second-year peers in the NFL, but that doesn’t change the fact that his body is still somewhat slight, and it also doesn’t alter a more fundamental point: Griffin’s playing style puts his body at risk. This is not a display of imprudence on Griffin’s part; his running ability is part of what makes him such a lethal offensive force. Yet, one must realize that much like Michael Vick in Philadelphia with the Eagles, Griffin is going to be at risk for injuries as long as he continues to run the ball with wild abandon.
There’s no real way to prevent Griffin or a player like him from running; he’s going to make plays with his legs, much as Vick did for many years. It will take more time for Griffin to cultivate the habit of trying to make a play in the pocket with a pass if he has a chance, and to eschew an open-field run if he can. In the meantime, the best bit of advice one can give to Griffin is to slide or run out of bounds and not put himself in position to be hit. That’s all that can be done at the present moment. At any rate, bettors need to be ready to expect an injury at some point in the season. This is not idle speculation that would rival anything that happens in a succession of online poker games. It is a bottom-line part of the bigger picture for the Redskins, who will probably need to call upon backup quarterback Kirk Cousins at some point. How Cousins responds in a few pressure points during the season might well determine whether Washington gets back to the playoffs or not. What will help is that the Redskins are in the NFC’s weakest division. Recent NFC East champions have not won more than 10 games in a season. A 9-7 record could win this year’s division.
For people interested in football betting, the Redskins must also pay attention to the way they defend the New York Giants and the Dallas Cowboys in the NFC East. Both the Giants and Cowboys have big-time pitch-and-catch combinations, and one of the reasons the Redskins prevailed in the NFC East last season is that their defense limited big plays and managed to contain both New York’s and Dallas’ passing attacks. Washington used a piecemeal approach on defense due to early-season injuries to high-profile players such as Brian Orakpo. However, the reserves answered the call, and that kind of “all hands on deck” model of contribution will need to remain in place in 2013. If Washington once again contains both Eli Manning and Tony Romo, it will be in the NFC East driver’s seat as long as Griffin can remain healthy for at least 12 games.