After winning the NFC East with a 9-7 record in 2015, the Washington Redskins overcame a 0-2 start and finished 8-7-1. It marked the first time since 1996 and ’97 that the franchise managed consecutive winning campaigns. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough to ensure a return to the playoffs for a second straight year. The team has been in the news lately as they failed to sign their Pro Bowl quarterback to a long deal. But the bottom line is that head coach Jay Gruden, and team president Bruce Allen made plenty of changes this offseason and Kirk Cousins is their quarterback for 2017. The team reports to Training Camp on July 26, and there’s a lot to sort out when it comes to this squad.

Major additions this offseason

The vast majority of the additions made over the course of the last few months have been designed to fix the defense. And that’s because the Washington Redskins have allowed the fifth-most yards in the league in each of the past two seasons and three times in five years since 2012. Up front, the club lost defensive end Chris Baker to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers but signed Terrell McClain (Dallas Cowboys) and Stacy McGee (Oakland Raiders). The club also used the 17th pick in the draft on University of Alabama defensive end Jonathan Allen.

Other key defensive additions include rookie outside linebacker Ryan Anderson (2-Alabama) and 2016 Pro Bowl inside linebacker Zach Brown, late of the Buffalo Bills.

The new safety combo is made up of D.J. Swearinger (Arizona Cardinals) and Su’a Cravens, who spent his first season in D.C. at inside linebacker. On offense, wideouts Terrelle Pryor (Cleveland Browns) and Brian Quick (Los Angeles Rams) would offset the departures of DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon.

And look for 2017 fourth-round draft choice Samaje Perine (Oklahoma) to challenge running back Rob Kelley for starting duties.

What to look for

It all depends on how quickly the team can get all of their new pieces on the same page, particularly on defense. New coordinator Greg Manusky has a lot to work with, and the additions of Cravens and Swearinger in the secondary are encouraging.

Now the Washington Redskins run defense must rise to the occasion. With Cousins and all those offensive weapons, you can once again expect this team to consistently put points on the scoreboard. But if Gruden’s team wants to make it back to the postseason for the second time in three years, this team needs to gel in a hurry this summer.

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