By JOSEPH LANGLEY
Just like that, the 2018 NFL Season is just on the horizon. With the University of Mary Washington being roughly an hour away from our nation’s capital, students of Mary Washington have their takes on how the local Washington Redskins will fare this upcoming season.
The Redskins ended the 2017 season with a losing record of 7-9, which left a bitter taste in fans’ mouths as the potential for their beloved franchise absolutely dissipated. Former starting quarterback Kirk Cousins parted ways with the team after entering free agency and signing with the Minnesota Vikings for 3 years with a salary of $84 million. The Redskins responded to Cousins’ departure by acquiring notable veteran Alex Smith from the Kansas City Chiefs. Smith’s contract specifically includes $94 million as an overall salary and $71 million of those dollars being fully guaranteed. The Redskins also lucked out in the 2018 NFL Draft, picking mostly defensive players to add more depth to such a depleted squad.
These headlines present enough background already to be able to form opinions on how the team will actually fare, and I took the time to ask students here at the University of Mary Washington how they think the Redskins will do in 2018. Junior Jonathan Bohannon grew up a die hard Redskins fan, and believes that his team has a lot to prove this season. “The Redskins have a very tough schedule this year…” Bohannon tells the Blue & Gray. “With the NFC East already being the hardest division in Pro Football, the Redskins have an underdog label even before they play a single snap.
The reigning Super Bowl Champion Philadelphia Eagles play the Redskins twice every year, and this year will not be any easier. Along with the Eagles, the New York Giants and the Dallas Cowboys got better in the offseason. Whether it was the draft or free agent acquisitions, improvements were made. The Redskins play the New Orleans Saints, Atlanta Falcons, Green Bay Packers, all whom made the playoffs in 2017. The Redskins will play 6 teams that made it to the playoffs this past year. While the schedule is not in their favor, I believe that this Redskins team will come out aggressive.” Bohannon is right, the Redskins will face countless stars at the quarterback position this upcoming season including: Drew Brees, Deshaun Watson, Carson Wentz, Eli Manning, Aaron Rodgers, Cam Newton, along with Matt Ryan.
It seems as if the years that we, as Redskin fans, doubt the Redskins the most, they come back to surprise us. “I feel that we’ll be 8-8 at best, while most of the sporting world believes we won’t win more than 2-3 games.” Junior Edward Mussey was more critical of the team. I feel like the Redskins have little to no hope for this year. With the loss of rookie running back Derrius Guice, the mojo the Redskins had from this past offseason seems to have dissipated. Signing veteran running back Adrian Peterson was just another classic publicity stunt by the Redskins, I’m very doubtful that a 33 year old running back can have success in this league nonetheless in the gruesome NFC East.
While the Redskins added to their depth on both sides of the ball this offseason, I just don’t see how they could succeed in the majority of these games. If they have any hopes of being in the postseason, they need their veterans to step up to the challenge quickly. Veterans like cornerback Josh Norman, linebacker Ryan Kerrigan, and safety DJ Swearinger need to get a hold on their defense as early as possible. On the offensive side, the Redskins need Alex Smith to play at a $94 million level, which is highly doubtful at his age of 34.”
I think the Redskins will do a lot better than people expect, but I might be the most optimistic fan on campus. This team has the ability to turn heads quickly as they have done so before countless times.