Although the Redskins won’t play a meaningful down for a couple of months, everyone’s got an opinion [link to magazine post] about how things will unfold in Washington this season.
NFL.com went as far as to name the ‘Skins as one of five teams that has “every reason to talk playoffs” – except for one “nagging -- potentially fatal -- weakness.”
That weakness, according to the, is the team’s lack of a “bell-cow” in the backfield.
“RG3 goes into battle without anything resembling a bell-cow in the backfield,” the article says, referring to first-year quarterback Robert Griffin III. “Roy Helu did solid work as a rookie, but coach Mike Shanahan hasn't found a way to duplicate the ground-game success he had with the Denver Broncos.”
“Defenses don't believe in this running game,” it continues.
It’s possible, of course, that the assessment is spot on, and the Redskins’ recent history does nothing to dispel that notion. After all, the ground game has ranked 25th or worse each of the past three seasons.
But it’s also possible it underestimates a young backfield anchored by Helu and Evan Royster that showed plenty of potential down the stretch in 2011 and figures to benefit greatly from the return of Tim Hightower. (Assuming Hightower is completely healthy.)
Helu posted three consecutive 100-yard efforts in Weeks 12-14, while Royster rushed for 132 and 113 yards, respectively, in the season’s final two games.
One guy who is hoping it’s the latter? The quarterback, no doubt. Because if the running game again struggles to be a consistent threat, it will certainly make “things interesting for RG3,” as the article concludes.