Week 1: New Orleans Saints Vs. Washington Redskins
- QuarterbackYou can’t argue with Drew Brees when it comes to passing accuracy and aggressiveness at the quarterback position. Brees has complete confidence in his ability and his decision-making is almost always stellar while running the Saints attack.The Redskins should be a fun team to watch this season with Robert Griffin III at quarterback. He gives them explosive athleticism, a strong and accurate arm and the intelligence and desire to run Mike Shanahan’s offense. While RGIII has unlimited talent, it will take him time to become consistently effective.
- OffenseThe Saints have a multitude of weapons, particularly at the receiver position. Marques Colston can get open whenever Brees needs him to while Devery Henderson can go downfield and get it. Tight end Jimmy Graham may be the best receiver on the team and running back Pierre Thomas keeps opposing defenses honest.The Redskins may eventually have an All-Pro quarterback, but they don’t have a very solid complementary cast at this point. Pierre Garcon has a chance to be the kind of receiver who can bring out the best in Griffin, but there’s not much else in the cupboard. The offensive line looks shaky at best.
- DefenseThe Saints have been devastated by the punishments associated with the Bountygate scandal. Steve Spagnuolo leaves the quagmire in St. Louis to run the Saints’ defense and he will have a difficult time keeping this unit respectable without linebacker Jonathan Vilma all season. A lack of cohesiveness will hurt the Saints badly.The Redskins showed significant improvement under Jim Haslett last year and they have become acclimated to his attacking 3-4 style of defense. The Redskins love to attack the quarterback and they have the power up front with Adam Carriker, Barry Cofield and Stephen Bowen to cause significant damage.
- Special TeamsThomas Morstead is one of the best kickoff specialists in the league, having led the league with 68 touchbacks a year ago. Darren Sproles is still one of the best and most elusive return men in the league.The Redskins have a solid weapon in punter Sav Rocca, who excels at directional punting and giving his coverage teams a chance to get down the field. The Skins do a solid job at both punt and kickoff coverage.
The Redskins probably will be a much better team by the second half of the season than they are in the first half. Robert Griffin III is extremely gifted but he needs experience. The Saints will have their offensive moments this year and this should be one of them. They should be able to handle the improving Redskins.