Washington Redskins 2011 Season Preview: Mike Shanahan Era Enters Year Two

LANDOVER, MD - SEPTEMBER 01: Head coach Mike Shanahan of the Washington Redskins walks the sidelines during the second half of a preseason game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at FedExField on September 1, 2011 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

SB Nation is previewing the 2011 season for all 32 teams and up today is the Washington Redskins. Check out all of our 2011 NFL season previews.

The 2011 NFL season is almost here which means it's time to preview every team's chances this year. SB Nation's Hogs Haven gives us the scoop on the Washington Redskins. 

Record Prediction

The Redskins are a tough team to predict. Year two of Mike Shanahan has shown massive upgrades to the defensive and offensive lines, which were easily the two most frustrating parts of the squad last year. I correctly predicted the Redskins at 6-10 last year, and I think they'll repeat that number this year.

As a whole, the Redskins are better everywhere. Tim Hightower and Roy Helu, two new running backs, have been shredding defenses this pre-season. Jabar Gaffney has been a reliable receive opposite Santana Moss. OJ Atogwe finally brings a ball-hawk element to the free safety position. Barry Cofield adds stability at the nose tackle position, and the Redskins finally gave Brian Orakpo a pass rushing compliment with Ryan Kerrigan. The problem is the Redskins have a much more difficult schedule having to play the AFC East. In addition, the lack of depth at nose tackle, both safety positions (Laron Landry is nursing two injuries), and cornerback has me worried. 

Best Game On The Schedule

There are several must-see games, including a neutral site game vs. the Bills in Toronto, but the Redskins Monday Night game at home vs. the Cowboys is the one to be at.

Player Who Takes A Step Back This Year

When thinking about fading stars, Chris Cooley is a player on the wrong side of the bell curve. He battled through meniscus pain in both knees last year and has been sidelined the last few weeks with knee swelling. The Redskins have Fred Davis and Logan Paulsen who proved to be quality tight ends last year, so I think the slow ending to the fantastic Chris Cooley era has begun. I expect Roy Helu, the rookie running back out of Nebraska, to be the breakout player. He's the fastest running back on the roster and is a perfect fit for Shanahan's scheme. With Ryan Torain often-injured, Helu will get a lot of carries.

Best Redskins Player Others Have Never Heard Of

The best player on the Redskins you've never heard, who you probably have now since he suffered an ACL tear last week, was defensive lineman, Jarvis Jenkins. The second round pick out of Clemson was a clear standout in pre-seasons and without a doubt would have been a key member of our defense. Backup safety Dejon Gomes has dazzled in pre-season and I look forward to seeing his growth potential.

Fantasy Football Outlook

In regards to fantasy football, I think three quality additions one can steal late are Tim Hightower, Santana Moss, and the Redskins defense. Mike Shanahan is all about ball control, and with the Redskins showing a vastly improved run offense, that means much more time and yards for Hightower and Moss. Santana nearly had a career year last year. The Redskins defense is focused on forcing turnovers and that is evident so far in pre-season. In addition, the fact the Redskins offense has controlled the ball around 38 minutes (out of 60 minutes) minutes a game means less time for offenses to rack up yards and points against the Skins.

Best Media Personality In Washington D.C.

The DC media has so many quality personalities it's hard to name just one. The Junkies on 106.7 THE FAN are probably the best. Mike Jenkins from Comcast SportsNet and Dan Hellie from NBC4 also bring quality with creativity. They all add a great element to my Twitter timeline.

Best Players To Follow On Twitter

The best Redskins players to follow on Twitter are no longer with the team: Andre Carter and Phillip Daniels. They are always tweeting interesting and funny news and respond to fans. Lorenzo Alexander, Anthony Armstrong, and Brandon Banks are very active as well and make for great follows for Redskins fans.    

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