In inverse order, here are my rankings of the Redskins starters, including punter and kicker, based on what I think they might do in 2006. Their 2005 rankings here (Part 1, Part 2), where applicable, are in parenthesis:
8. G Randy Thomas (12)—He may well have been headed to Hawaii before he went down with a broken leg in Week 16. The leg will limit him in preseason activities but he should be fine for the start of the season.
7. DE Andre Carter (NR)—Carter will have to adjust from being a standup linebacker last year to playing with his hand in the dirt. If he can adjust, and stay healthy, he'll be the answer to the one glaring need the defense has had the last couple of years, a strong pass rushing presence on the line.
6. T Chris Samuels (7)—The time may have passed for him to move up into the ranks of the truly elite left tackles in the league, but he's as solid as they come.
5. Sean Taylor (5)—A full offseason with the defense staff and his teammates should help make him the deadly force in the defense that seemed to be his destiny when the Redskins drafted him.
4. Cornelius Griffin (1)—When he missed some time with a groin injury last year the defense suffered from the lack of his dominating presence in the middle of the line.
3. RB Clinton Portis (2)—After Portis set the team season rushing record last year, do you notice how he's no longer being called a "system back".
2. LB Marcus Washington (3)—He blitzes, stuffs the run from sideline to sideline, covers as well as any linebacker in the game, and has a knack for making the big play. In addition, Washington is now the inspirational leader of the defense; his great worth ethic and relentlessly positive attitude make him a natural for the job.
1. WR Santana Moss (9)—The comment here last year was, "He had better contribute a lot of big plays, as it appears he's not capable of much else." He did contribute a lot of big plays and, on top of that, he displayed a talent for turning little plays, like a slip screen pass behind the line of scrimmage, in to big ones. Everyone is looking forward to see what he can do with some more effective receivers on the other side to draw some of the defensive attention away from him.
Rich Tandler is the author of The Redskins From A to Z, Volume 1: The Games. This unique book has an account of every game the Redskins played from when they moved to Washington in 1937 through the 2001 season. For details and ordering information, go to http://www.RedskinsGames.com