The turnover ratio for the 2017 Washington Redskins was -4 at season’s end. Giving the ball and thus possessions/opportunities away twenty-seven times (13 INTs – 14 FUM). While forcing twenty-three takeaways (16 INTs – 7 FUM). This differential found the team tied for 23rd in the league, with TEN, NYJ and ARI. The latter of which they will be standing across from to start the season in three days.
It’s no surprise that turnovers have been looked at as a chief concern in HC Jay Gruden’s being 0-4 in opening games during his tenure in Washington. After all, if you can’t hold on to it, it’s hard to do anything with it. However, Washington is clearly banking on a different kind of turnover this season, to change the misfortunes of the last two.
The type of turnover that has led to the 2018 Skins on paper, being the most talented of Jay’s time with the burgundy and gold.
Out with the old, in with the new
Upwards of sixteen (16) new faces appear on the Redskins current 53-man roster to start 2018. And at more than just depth/rotation positions.
- Quarterback: Out goes Well Franchise Me Then Kirk Cousins. Who got an unprecedented deal from MIN in the offseason.
Enter Alex Smith. The 34 year old QB, walks into a new conference and team, fresh off of his best statistical season ever.
- Running Back: Out goes the RB law firm of Kelly, Thompson & Perine.
Enter the ageless mutant, Adrian Peterson as the new RB1 in the Nation’s Capital. Until next season…
- Wide Receiver: Out goes arguably one of the greatest training camp WR’s of all-time, Terrelle Pryor. Along with Gruden favorite, Ryan Grant.
Enter Paul Richardson and a ?? healthy Josh Doctson ?? to lead a revamped receiving corp.
- Defensive Line: Out goes Stacey McGee and Terell McClain
Enter Da’Ron Payne (R) and Tim Settle (R)
- Corner: Out goes Bashaud Breeland and Kendall Fuller
Enter Adonis Alexander (R), Greg Stroman (R) and Danny Johnson (R)
These names and positions were singled out, because of their high visibility. And the likelihood, that they will play large roles either immediately or very early on into the season. And for a team that has finished 8-7-1 and 7-9 respectively over the last two campaigns, these will prove to be make or break changes.
Turnover: Team Gives Keys to the Kids
Contrary to the views of some, Scot McCloughan during his short run, legitimized the idea of drafting players to build a foundation for the future. A novel concept that the team seemed to refuse embracing for a decade plus prior. Since his exit, the franchise has done a much better job at acquiring and cultivating their young talent. In 2018, we get to see if it bears fruit in two key areas.
In the defensive line room, the affably intense Jim Tomsula has Ziggy Hood and a bunch of pups. Albeit some very large pups. 2017 first round pick Jon Allen is back healthy from the season-ending Lisfranc injury he suffered early last season. Skins fans got a taste of the future with his being paired with now third-year man Matt Ioannidis. Together they did something Washington has been woeful at for far too long, stop the run. And when Allen went down, so did that ability. 2018 first rounder Da’Ron Payne and 2018 fifth rounder Tim Settle add talent, size and more youth to a group that show promise, but needs to find consistency fast.
Quinton Dunbar and Fabian Moreau, all eyes are on you. With Josh Norman coming off a bit of a down season, Dunbar who slides into the spot vacated by the outgoing Bashaud Breeland becomes a focal point. In spot duty, he’s done well during his time here. But being a 16-game starter on the outside is a different ball game. If Norman returns to form this season, Dunny can expect to see a lot of action.
Moreau, a presumed 1st to 2nd round talent in last year’s draft has the misfortune of sliding into a spot vacated by Kendall Fuller (traded to KC in Alex Smith deal). Where they are similar, is both corners had slow starts to rookie campaigns due to injury. Fuller in his second season blossomed, playing the nickel at an elite level. The team is banking on Moreau having a similar transformation. Because if not, corners four thru six on the roster, all rookies.
Roster turnover aside, there are a lot of other factors that will contribute to a better season for Washington. Namely good health. But the collective level of production from the myriad of new faces in key positions, will directly determine how much HAILing to the Redskins we’ll be doing.