The Washington Redskins were essentially left for dead in 2005, predicted to finish in 3rd or even last place (that was assuming the Eagles would be good. Wrong.) After seeing a good start dwindle, they were left for dead with 5 weeks left in the season. Instead, they ran the table and made the playoffs.
Once again, they were left for dead in the wild card round of the playoffs in Tampa Bay. Two key turnovers, a fumble and an interception, paved the way for another shocking victory. The Redskins would finally lose to Seattle a week and half ago; however, the 2006 season is already looking bright because of the addition of Al Saunders.Saunders was hired last week away from the Kansas City Chiefs, where he was the offensive coordinator. He takes over an offensive that was mostly run by head coach Joe Gibbs last year. It was an offense that shone at times (look at the last 5 games of the season) and was dreadful at others (example: the playoff game in Seattle).
Saunders will be inheriting an offense that boasts a dynamic running back in Clinton Portis, a not so over-the-hill quarterback in Mark Brunell, and wide receiver Santana Moss, coming off of the best season in his career.
Excluding the 36-35 loss to Tampa Bay in Week 10, the ‘Skins averaged just over 11 points per game in their other 5 regular season losses. The ‘Skins offense, meanwhile, only showed up for a handful of games. The Redskins scored a measly 40 points (13+ per game) during their first three victories, one of which was a 9-7 defeat of the Chicago Bears on opening day. In fact, the Redskins scored 21 or more points in only 5 of their 11 wins, including the postseason.
However, having the offensive mind of Al Saunders on their club next year gives the Redskins offensive hope for next year. Saunders manned an offense in K.C. that featured the likes of Trent Green, Preist Holmes, and Larry Johnson and, under his offensive leadership, the Chiefs were one of the most feared NFL teams offensively over the past few years.
Bringing Saunders aboard in D.C. will give the Redskins a new-found offense to add to their already skilled defense, led by ex-Bills coach Gregg Williams. In the past two years under Williams, the Redskins defense has been one of the most potent defenses in the NFL.
With Joe Gibbs, a Hall-of-Famer, still at the helm, Williams still in charge of one strong defensive unit, and Saunders coming in to turn the Redskins offensive into a well-oiled machine, the Redskins year could be 2006.
NOTE: The free-agency period has not yet begun, meaning that the Redskins could add key players at key positions to strengthen their position even further.