MX23RW : Saturday, January 19 00:44:20

End of season review: Washington Redskins

Sports Mole looks back at the Washington Redskins' 2013 season in the NFL.

The Washington Redskins slipped from NFC East champions in 2012 to bottom of the division with a 3-13 record in the 2013 NFL season.

Despite quarterback Robert Griffin III being cleared to return from a knee ligament injury in time for the start of the campaign, the 2012 offensive rookie of the year was unable to match his previous season's performances.

The Redskins have now finished last in their division in six of the previous eight seasons.

Sports Mole looks back at their 2013 campaign.

Pre-season expectations

Following the record-breaking rookie season of Robert Griffin III, the Redskins were expected to be strong again in 2013, despite the quarterback coming off a serious knee injury. Washington did not make a great amount of change to their roster in the off-season, having given up their first-round Draft pick in a trade with the St Louis Rams to acquire RG3 the year before, while also serving a salary cap penalty. However, the lack of new faces did not hurt the team in pre-season, as they won all four of their games in preparation for the regular season.

Highlight of the season

After a difficult start to the campaign, the Redskins' week seven victory over the Chicago Bears gave them hope that the season could be saved. The Bears had been in impressive form in the opening weeks of the season, but a three-touchdown game from running back Roy Helu secured the 45-41 success for the home side.

Biggest disappointment

After an 0-3 start to the season, Mike Shanahan's side had a chance to make it three wins from their last four outings when they travelled to the Denver Broncos in week eight. The Redskins stunned the Broncos in the first half, leading 21-7 early in the third quarter, but threw away their lead in dramatic fashion, as the Broncos surged to a 45-21 victory. The game also saw Griffin forced off after tweaking his knee.

Player of the season

With Griffin hindered as he continued to recover from his knee injury, the quarterback was forced to rely on his passing game more often in 2013, with wide receiver Pierre Garcon emerging as his top target. The veteran wideout topped the 1,000 receiving yard mark for the first time in his career in 2013 with 1,346, as well as five touchdowns.

Unsung hero

In his final year in the league London Fletcher let the likes of Brian Orakpo and Ryan Kerrigan make the headlines for the defense with their impressive sack totals, but the 38-year-old linebacker maintained his record of never missing a game in his NFL career, while making the second most tackles for the team during the regular season. He finished his 16th season with 111 tackles, two sacks and a forced fumble.

Off-season changes

The Redskins started making changes as soon as the regular season was over, firing head coach Mike Shanahan and replacing him with highly-rated Cincinnati Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden. The Redskins will not have a first-round Draft pick again this year, but stand to make a big impact in the free agent market, with an estimated $30m (£17.9m) of space on their salary cap.

2014 prospects

A lot will depend on the moves that they make once free agency begins, but the Redskins are in a strong position to bounce back from their dismal 2013 season later this year. RG3 should be stronger, having had more time to put his catastrophic knee injury behind him. However, the increasingly-competitive NFC East will not be an easy division to win, with all three of their rivals also capable of making the playoffs.


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Robert Griffin III #10 of the Washington Redskins runs the ball against the Seattle Seahawks during the NFC Wild Card Playoff Game at FedExField on January 6, 2013
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