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Redskins 7 - 9?


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TSN's Vinny Iyer's prediction:

My projected order of finish for the NFC East in 2002:

1. Eagles (11-5)

2. Cowboys (9-7)

3. Redskins (7-9)

4. Giants (4-12)

Vinnie Iyer is the NFL projects editor for The Sporting News. Email him at viyer@sportingnews.com.

Here's the entire story:


Hey guys and gals, e-mail Vinny with your thoughts....

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7-9 is not an unreasonable prediction considering we have a new coaching staff with new systems on both sides of the ball. The defense on paper looks to be pretty strong but the offense is full of question marks. We have new QBs who have, at best, been mediocre to date. We have a WR group that is very young and/or unproven. We have an interior O-line that must be a concern.

We'd like to think we're better than last year and since we were 8-8 last year we shold improve on that, but everybody doesn't see it that way. There's a fine line between the overwhelming choice of members of this board in the poll (9-7 to 10-6) and TSN's prediction of 7-9. One injury. One trick play. One mistake in any articular game could put us there.

At this point in the year I'm usually an optimist. I would predect better than 7-9 right now. But not much ... and 7-9 wouldn't be a big surprise.

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The only way we are going to be 7-9 is if the injury bug hits us hard.

We play the Cardinals in the first game at home. How are we going to lose to them with their quetions in the secondary and on the D line?

I'll grudgingly admit that are chances arent good at frisco or greenbay but other than that comeon.

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This is not a bad prediction. With what we know of as Shane Matthews being our leader, I'd be pleased with 7-9. Now, if Spurrier can get from him some consistency and solid play, 7-9 will be very soundly bettered by this team. But, no team with Shane Matthews at QB can complain about this type of prediction because this is what our situation appears to be. We lend more weight to the greatness that we hope to be Spurrier. I hope we are right to do so. But Matthews leading the way is certainly not a comforting thing.

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I am sorry, but I just CAN'T put a larger number in the lose column than in the win column. I believe in this team.....I believe Double S will ignite a spark in the players and it will all come together. 9 wins at least.


Texas Blondie

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I don't disagree with you and what you say is reasonable and logical. However, the difference right now is that last year the team came together under a unifying desire to play to spite Marty on collective pride that wound up making it so much better towards the end than otherwise it could have been given that start.

Spurrier has more to work with than Marty did because he's willing to do things on offense that will improve it and Marty was not. But, again as Blondie says, our faith is in Steve Spurrier first. Spurrier will be successful and I think this is a reasonable view and hope. If it's correct, 7-9 will be far too low for this team. If, however, Matthews lack of physical skills limits what Spurrier can do in the NFL until Ramsey is ready, then 7-9 isn't unreasonable. I'm further up the scale in my early prediction. I'm just not going to take offense when someone picks us at 7-9 given who we have at the helm.

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I think that's a good prediction (I mean the 7-9).

Our DL will be at best as good as last year, and maybe worse. Our OL could be a lot worse. And say what you will about Westbrook, the sobering reality is that none of our receivers this year have even done what Westbrook has done.

We have new QBs, new coaches, four new defensive starters, and four-five new offensive starters (depending on how you define "new").

We are going to have trouble with the Cowboys, who are built to beat us with their big offensive line and quick defense. (Man, remember the days when we had the big offensive line?) And how often does the NFL let the Cowboys lose on Thanksgiving?

Plus we have road games with the Niners and Packers.

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More than anything else I think what wrangles some is the somewhat heady prediction that Dallas at 5-11 last season is going to finish second in the East and two games ahead of the Redskins. :)

Now, some of that is surely our own natural antipathy towards our Texans friends, but the rest is based on a comparison of comments and assumptions made about the two teams:

1. Iyer and others note Dallas' acquisitions of Glover, Hardy and Westbrook and contend those are impact players for the Cowboys. I don't things are that certain regarding Hardy and Westbrook. Both are coming off a history of serious injuries and in Westbrook's case has never had the kind of year that would make you believe he is at 29 ever going to be among the top corners in the NFC despite his early draft position.

2. The quarterback position. Shane Matthews may not be this team's savior, but his career stats look a lot better than the cumulative totals of what Carter and Hutchinson have so far been able to achieve. It would be naive to think that younger players such as these can be counted on to make the kind of leap to steady performer in one season that is being all but assumed at this point by some of the writers. There is plenty of room in my mind to think that Matthews playing in a familiar system here under Spurrier will be as effective as a lot of other starting quarterbacks in the league in that #10-#32 milieu of non-star performers. With the defense here that should be good enough for a respectable record, with some luck with injuries perhaps a lot better than 6-10 or 7-9.

3. Failing to consider the impact of the Redskins free agent acquisitions. Yes, everyone mentions adding Trotter and Armstead and Wynn but rarely does anyone outside of Washingto think that CUMULATIVELY it will lead to that much improvement in the performance of the defense. This is nonsense. While Hardy and Westbrook have hobbled through much of the past 2 or 3 seasons, Trotter has lead the NFC in tackles during that time, and yet I read articles on Trotter's supposed unreliability because of his knees? :laugh:

Hey, where I come from, you have to get on the field FIRST to be considered a player. :) Other than Glover, the rest of the Cowboys free agents from those defenders to Tony McGee at tight end have all had the injury bug bite them and to the point where their performances have suffered for it.

Armstead had an injury last season and his performance slipped some from previous years, but he remained out on the field and gutted out a full season out of circumstances that would have landed most players on IR.

4. Failure to give Spurrier/Lewis credit as coaches. If the ability to lead men is considered an important asset in sports and an ingredient of success, then the team has done remarkably well considering the dearth of leadership exhibited over the past couple of seasons from Norv Turner and Marty Schottenheimer. Yes, reputations in the NFL have to be earned. The Spurrier end of the pairing has yet to be tested, but a defense that has a very able DC and solid starting 11 should keep the Redskins in the hunt, especially in the East where there are no dynasty teams.

The flip side of the equation is that SOMEONE is giving the Cowboys under Dave Campo and his staff an awful lot of credit for being able to develop Quincy Carter and the rest of the team and integrate the new players with relative ease.

While Campo has shown that he and his staff can get the Cowboys to play hard in each contest, I haven't seen any creativity or offensive know-how that is going to produce a top flight attack. There is some talent there, old talent on offense with Smith, Ismail and Galloway. And in the latter two injury-prone talent.

But it could come together given the right circumstances. But are the right conditions there now for that to happen?

I am going to have to see it to believe it. :)

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"And how often does the NFL let the Cowboys lose on Thanksgiving?"

Dallas' record on Thanksgiving over the last 4 or 5 years isn't too good by my recollection. I can think of 2 losses to the Vikings and I seem to recall another loss or two. And, of course, I'll always have fond memories of Lett's "snow blunder" vs. Miami though that was more than a few years ago.

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The Cowboys have not won the East since when?

My recollection is the team was 5-11 the past two seasons and a .500 squad in '99 even when it managed to slide into the playoffs via the backdoor :)

the simple truth is the Redskins and Cowboys have not bee good teams for the most part over the past 4 or 5 seasons, but for the past 3 the Cowboys have finished the year looking UP to the Redskins in the standings.

That's what we call getting real. You can take all the expectations and crowing about winning the head to head games, but after 16 weeks are completed the Cowboys are looking up in the NFC East.

Will that change in 2002? Maybe.

But there is as great a chance that the Redskins under Spurrier will find some bouyancy and field a competent if not spectacular offense to go with a superior defense and finish 9-7 or 10-6 to make the playoffs or at least come very close. :)

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I agree with Bulldog on this one. I don't understand why we hear so much positive press about the Cowboys, and hardly any towards the Skins. We've made some great additions during the offseason, with minimal losses IMO. I guess it's a combination of our consistent let downs over the past few seasons, but I really believe we have a whole new ballgame this year.

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Until Spurrier gets adjusted to the NFL for maybe a year or so, 7-9 is not out of the question. Eventhough it may seem kind of harsh to predict the team going 7-9, especially from an outsider, it's not out of the question.

If you look at it, new offense, new receivers and new head coach coming from the college ranks. Eventhough spurrier is an proven college coach, and a offense of genius(so we say), he still has to prove himself in the NFL.

I was watching the best "Dam" sport show this weekend, and Michael Irvin was kind of interviewing Jimmy Johnson on how he thought spurrier's transition would be in the NFL from the college level. Now, I think Jimmy Johnson was a dam good coach when it comes to the eye for talent and getting the best out of your players. Also, he built IMO, a superbowl team that won 2 for him. Anyway, he was saying that when he first got to the league, coaches were telling him about no East Carolina's on the schedule. But he then stated that he realized that his team was the East Carolina. Now, I mention that to say this, because I know you guys then heard that statement before. I think the defense will be okay, it's the offense I'm worried about. Folks, it's got to be some kind of adjustment period for spurrier. I don't think he's gonna just come in and start tearing up the league.

Also, I think we have a killer schedule in IMO, and if the offense takes awhile to get adjusted. The defense may start wearing down at the end of the season. I see us going 8-8 at best, and 9-7 give or take. Depending on if we can beat the cowboys twice and the Giants twice.

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I think the most important thing in comparing the Skins and Cryboys is looking at the lines.

It pains me to say it, but the 'Girlz have a top flight offensive line. Every year they draft another stud lineman on the first day. They have a big, physical, mean line. We have not been able to stop their running attack at all since Stubby left (and we were hardly great at it before he left). That OL will win some games for the 'Girlz, no matter who they put under center.

Our offensive line, if things continue, is going to start to get me very angry at our personnel people. We have two top flight tackles who can both run and pass block at Pro Bowl levels. And we continue to shop for guards at the Payless Guard Source. This idea that we are going to plug in a new, rejected, 30-year old vet at guard every year and come out with a decent offensive line is ridiculous. We need to draft at least one young guard on the first day and plug him in there next year.

On the defensive line, I don't know. Ekuban and some of the other 'Girlz don't seem like beasts...until they play us (of course it helps that the NFL decides that Ekuban dragging Jeff George around by his neck isn't a personal foul). But our defensive line is no world beater either.

My point is...talent-wise, we look a lot like one of Norv's teams...some fantastic skill players (Davis, Bailey), some great linebackers, and a handful of great linemen...but we just don't have a dominant unit on either line. We have a dominant linebacking unit, a dominant corner unit, etc. But the lines are not complete units, and teams like that don't go 11-5.

Having said all that, I think the future is bright. But every coach needs a couple years to get things going.

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I think the Skins and Dallas wil both finish between 7-9 and 9-7. It seems like people who are predicting a big turnaround for Dallas this year will point to their acqusitions, the new offensive system, and the way they lost some of their games last year (a record 6 blocked kicks that resulted in 3 losses). I think two of Dallas' acqisitions will have a pretty big impact (Glover and Robinson-the deep snaper). Westbrook and Hardy are big question marks but may end up being big improvements. Im not too optimistic about them, but their contracts dont make them too big of a risk and last years starters at their positions are still on the team. If Dallas can put together a legit top 5 defense then they should finish at .500 and above. By legit I mean keeping the opponents yardage down and making some big plays (which they didnt do last year).

In Dallas it all comes down to the QB play on offense. Carter must show improvement for Dallas to become a playoff contender. He improved over the course of the season last year, but he has to get much better to show that he is the QB of the future. I think he has a 50-50 shot of becoming a quality starter.

I also question how big an impact Coslet will have on the Dallas O. I think he is a great coordinator and is replacing a horrible one, but I wonder about how well the players fit the system.

As for the Skins, I think there are a number of reasons they could fall short of 8-8 this season, there are also reasons why they could improve. Only time will tell.

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The Redskins didn't stop the run with the Stubby/Wilkinson pairing because both players didn't work hard enough, especially the former.

We know this because in 2000 Ray Rhodes told Stubby when he was hired that he needed to get into much better shape than he had seen on the '98-'00 game films.

In Wilkinson's case he had perhaps the best year of his career in 2001 and I for one think it is because Kurt Schottenheimer and the defensive coaches made him work harder in camp to prepare himself for the season.

When people talk about not having superior lines, let's consider the 2000 Giants and 2001 Patriots, both conference winners.

The Giants imported 38 year old Lomas Brown and 35 year old Glenn Parker as minimum free agents.

Last year the Patriots had exactly whom of note on the OL before the draft and free agency period? Wasn't their line one of the worst in the AFC in 2000?

How soon we forget.

In fact the Redskins plugging in Szott and Coleman DID work last year as the offensive line had a very good season.

Banks got enough time to throw the ball but didn't execute well enough.

Davis had some room to run the ball, although facing 8 man fronts because of the qb situation, it didn't appear so at first glance.

But the line did well in Philly and against the Bears, New Orleans and some other good defenses.

Should the team have signed Brown or resigned Coleman?

Probably. It would have given some insurance for 2002, the stability of having a guy that has considerable experience in place.

With Coleman the question has always been, are his knees going to hold up?

Last year he got on the field but only after missing most of camp and the first 3 games of the regular season.

I am sure if he were totally healthy the team would have made more of an effort to sign him once the season was over.

At 31, he was a better bet for the near-term of say 1-2 years than Szott, who was already 35 and had personal issues with playing this far South of his home.

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Originally posted by Skins56

I agree with Bulldog on this one. I don't understand why we hear so much positive press about the Cowboys, and hardly any towards the Skins. We've made some great additions during the offseason, with minimal losses IMO. I guess it's a combination of our consistent let downs over the past few seasons, but I really believe we have a whole new ballgame this year.

Maybe it's because they are "America's Team".:puke:

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didn't the Ravens do a little better than 7-9 with a backup quarterback starting for them, a big running back with some speed to the outside and a strong defense lead by Marvin Lewis? :)

I know what is bothering people about this. We don't have Qadry Ismail and Brandon Stokely to throw the ball to outside :laugh:

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Bulldog, others, there is a point here you are missing. This Redskin team, had it been largely together the last two or three years, could well be expected to perform at a Super Bowl level, such as the Ravens. But, this team has not been together and very much like last year, Bulldog, when you were wise enough to realize that it takes time for a group of individuals thrown together to become a team, this Redskins team isn't probably going to line up right away and prove to be a cohesive, powerful unit.

Now, unlike last year, I agree that we have huge advantages in that we have skill players who already fully know the system and perhaps our getting to know you phase won't be as dramatic as it could be. But, when people credit the Cowboys with improving, they are doing not so much because of a few key additions. Rather, they are doing so because the Cowboys kept their own and added a few key guys.

It is often said keeping your own guys, sometimes even if they aren't the players that other free agents are, is better for your team. I think Wynn is a better, more consistent pro than Lang. But, it may have been more wise to keep Lang here. I think Rod Jones is superior to Ben Coleman, but, Coleman might have been better to keep. This list can go on and the possible advantages of players we've lost is that others on the team have already gone into battle with them and the learning and trust process has already been undertaken.

I think Spurrier's addition of Florida players at QB and WR will make this team come together rapidly. I believe Lewis' status as a coordinator will cause each defensive player to strive to listen, knowing what Lewis has proven capable of producing. Ultimately I think we are going to be a very, very good team. But, traditional football thinking would tend to be against our views on this.

We have a turned over roster of marginal pro football talent -- on offense -- and a guy like Shane Matthews as our projected starter at the most key spot in football. Traditional thinking of such a situation is not one that is going to predict greatness.

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I cannot see us losing more than 6-7 games based on our D alone. Great LBs and great corners will make it tough to get the big play against us. Marvin will figure out how to keep us in almost every game while SOS is tweaking his offense to succeed against the athletes in NFL.

Skins will go 10-6 and finish 2nd in the East just behind the Eagles at 11-5.

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