Heading into camp, we’ll take a quick look through the opponents on the 2014 schedule.
Fourth up: The Washington Redskins
When: Sunday, Oct. 6, 5:30 p.m. at FedExField
Last season: 3-13; season ended with 20-6 loss to the New York Giants (the Redskins won their three games by a total of 20 points)
What went right: The work of running back Alfred Morris and wide receiver Pierre Garcon. Morris finished fourth in the league in rushing, just eight yards behind Kansas City’s Jamaal Charles. Morris continues to be one of the few bright lights in Washington. His rookie season, he ran for 1,613 yards. Not bad for a sixth-round pick out of Florida Atlantic. Garcon was eighth in the league in receiving yards with 1,346, a touch ahead of new teammate DeSean Jackson. Garcon led the league in targets with a staggering 184 and receptions with 113. Washington’s second-leading pass catcher? Tight end Jordan Reed. He caught just 45 passes.
What did not: How much time do you have? The former coach, Mike Shanahan, seemed to be stuck in perpetual drama with owner Dan Snyder — a bringer of drama himself — and quarterback Robert Griffin III. Griffin underachieved. Washington tied for 30th in points allowed per game. Griffin was sat down the final three games to avoid risk of further injury — at least that’s what Shanahan said. The Redskins lost eight in a row to close the season.
2014 Super Bowl odds: 50-1
Key offseason addition: Defensive tackle Jason Hatcher. Washington gave the former Cowboy a four-year, $27.5 million deal ($10.5 million guaranteed) to help a sagging defense. Hatcher is 32, but had his best season for Dallas last year, when he had a career-high 11 sacks. Lots of work remains on defense, though the signing of Hatcher and drafting of former Stanford defensive end Trent Murphy should help.
Key offseason loss: London Fletcher. After 16 seasons, Fletcher’s effectiveness was on the decline. But, he had spent the last seven seasons in Washington which entrenched him as one of key members of the franchise. The Redskins reached a three-year, $13 million deal with Perry Riley to ostensibly replace Fletcher.
What’s more: Contrast how the Seahawks and Redskins have gone about building the their teams the last three seasons.
Two years have passed since the Redskins joined the rest of the league in the first round of the NFL Draft. Griffin excelled during one, was hurt and struggled in the other and remained at odds with Shanahan throughout both.
Washington general manager Bruce Allen opted to deal for the second pick in 2012 to take Griffin. That cost him the Redskins’ No. 6 overall pick in 2012, second-round pick in 2012, and their first-round picks in 2013 and 2014 in a trade with the St. Louis Rams.
The Rams have turned those picks into six likely starters (and eight total players): defensive tackle Michael Brockers, cornerback Janoris Jenkins, linebacker Alec Ogletree, wide receiver Stedman Bailey, running back Zac Stacy and offensive tackle Greg Robinson. Together, those six will count approximately $3.5 million more toward the 2014 salary cap than Griffin alone.
The Seahawks play rookies in the preseason more than any other team in the NFL since 2010. The Redskins were 29th. The Seahawks led in average playing time per year for undrafted free agents. The Redskins were 25th.
No team has released more drafts picks in the last four years than Washington. The Redskins have jettisoned 10 picks in that time while its roster continues to age. The Redskins had the second-oldest roster in the NFL last season. The Seahawks were the youngest team to win a Super Bowl.
Last regular-season meeting: Nov. 27, 2011, the Seahawks lost, 23-17. The Redskins scored 16 points in the fourth quarter to win.