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Carl's Divisional Breakdown: Washington Redskins

<b>Carl continues to breakdown the teams in the NFC East, today he'll take a look at the Redskins.Year two of Steve Spurrier's "Fun-N-Gun" experiment begins on September fourth when the New York Jets visit Washington to kick off the 2003-2004 NFL season. Redskins fans should be treated to a more exciting offensive year than was shown last season. Spurrier now has a full year of NFL experience under his belt and has had ample time to start putting the pieces to his puzzle together.</b>

Offensively, Spurrier's biggest additions will be wide receiver Laveranues Coles (Jets) who is a legitimate number one receiver and running back Trung Candidate (Rams). Candidate will replace long time RB Stephen Davis and will be better fit for Spurrier's offense. He's a smaller, faster and better receiver than Davis and will finally get a chance to prove he is worthy as a starter in this league after backing up Marshall Faulk in St. Louis. The Skins also felt they stole a first round talent in second round, when they picked WR Taylor Jacobs who played for Spurrier in Florida. Jacobs should become an immediate solid number three/slot receiver. The biggest question once again for the Redskins this year will be at the quarterback position. Last year Spurrier made changes at QB almost weekly. His team was never able to adapt to one QB and it caused tremendous inconsistency throughout the offense. It appears Spurrier will lean to second year man Patrick Ramsey. He feels Ramsey is the QB of the future for this franchise and has recently acquired veteran Rob Johnson (Buccaneers) for Shane Matthews to teach and mentor Ramsey. Look for the Redskins to score a lot of points this season. But the question will be how many will they give up?

The defense is the question mark heading into training camp. Although ranked fifth in the NFL last year, there have been some dramatic changes on this side of the ball. Last year's defensive coordinator Marvin Lewis accepted the head coaching job in Cincinnati and the Redskins have promoted linebacker coach George Edwards to replace him. They've also lost defensive tackle Darryl Gardener who signed with the Broncos. Gardener was their best lineman if not defensive player last season. Washington has attempted to address the issue by signing DT Brandon Noble (Dallas) who started every game last year. They also brought in DT Jermaine Haley (Dolphins) who will see some playing time. The biggest boost though will be the return of DE Regan Upshaw who missed most of last year with a torn ACL. He will help sure up the front line if he can stay healthy.

My Prediction

The Redskins will be improved this year statistically. The problem is so will every other team in the NFC East. The Skins were only 1-5 last year in the division and probably won't fair too much better this season. I see the Redskins finishing 7-9 again due to the strength of their schedule, possibly 8-8 if they beat Dallas twice. They will again compete with the Cowboys for third place in the division. They could be a Super Bowl quality team within the next few seasons, but unfortunately for them, it won't be this year.

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