Unit 10: The quarterbacks
Who else is in contention: N/A. No other quarterbacks are on the roster right now.
What to watch: Griffin is the completely, totally, obvious answer here. It feels like there’s more pressure on him than Barack Obama to deliver this fall. All eyes will be watching the fourth-year pro to see if he can produce in 2015. He’s had a healthy offseason. He has a new quarterbacks coach. The team addressed the offensive line, and has some more weapons to use out wide and in the backfield. The Redskins have done all they can to put him in position – now it’s up to him to succeed. If he doesn’t play well this year, he’ll be changing addresses.
Why the quarterbacks land at No. 10: Even the most optimistic Skins supporters (count me among them) have to acknowledge how up in the air things feel under center. It’s nice to think that Griffin will finally show he can be a polished passer, but what evidence is there? This unit lands in last place because of the potential it has – whether it’s an injury to Griffin, another Griffin/Cousins controversy, or one final poor audition from McCoy – to launch the team’s season into a tailspin. Almost every other unit looks much improved, but the QBs sure don’t.
Unit 9: The tight ends
Who else is in contention: Chase Dixon, Je’Ron Hamm, and Devin Mahina are also currently on the roster. We'll ignore Chris Cooley for now.
What to watch: Reed’s health is the thing to monitor with the Redskins tight ends. He’s a mismatch nightmare when healthy, but he’s as durable as a pile of soggy napkins. He’s already a bit dinged up going into training camp, so it’s in the team’s – and Reed’s – best interests to get #86 in the best shape possible heading into 2015. His ability has never been in question, but for a guy who misses three or four contests a year, you have to wonder how much longer Washington is willing to keep him around. Let’s see if he can finally establish himself as a consistent threat on offense.
Why the tight ends land at No. 9: There’s really not a whole lot to be excited about when looking at these three names. Reed can’t be counted on. Paul is a fine special teamer, but nothing special on offense (no, I’m not exactly on the Niles Paul Bandwagon after last year. Basically, one-fifth of his receiving yards came against the Jaguars). For a guy who has the reputation of being a blocking tight end, Logan Paulsen doesn’t seem to be very good at blocking. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like any of the other tight ends in contention have a serious shot of making the team, so these three uninspiring options will be back for another go-round. Unless Reed surprises everyone and turns in a full 16-game season, expect more mediocrity out of this trio.