49ers opponents 2013 preview: Washington in free agency and the draft

Geoff Burke-US PRESSWIRE

We take a look at Washington in anticipation of the upcoming season.

Veteran Additions: DE Darryl Tapp, WR Donte' Stallworth, OT Jeremy Trueblood, WR Devery Henderson, CB E.J. Biggers.

Veteran Subtractions: CB D.J. Johnson, OT Jammal Brown, CB Cedric Griffin, DE/OLB Lorenzo Alexander, S Madieu Williams.

Rookie Additions: CB David Amerson, TE Jordan Reed, S Phillip Thomas, RB Chris Thompson, DE/OLB Brandon Jenkins, S Bacarri Bambo, RB Jawan Jamison.

Strengths: Like my discussion of the Titans a couple of days ago, this discussion of Washington complicates my strengths and weaknesses format in previewing teams, something that hadn't been a problem until recently. Really, the hard part about evaluating Washington is the fact that their team is a giant health question mark right now. Obviously the big one is Robert Griffin. That has gotten a lot of press - and quite rightly. He had a huge season and his injury really hurt the team. If he can return healthy, and if (and this is the big if) he can stay healthy, then this team has a great shot at contending. He should be that good.

His presence helps all the other strengths on this offense: Alfred Morris looked like a stud RB when playing alongside Griffin. He was helped by a strong offensive line (for the most part - they could upgrade RT Tyler Polumbus) that doesn't mind running blocking for both Morris and Griffin.

And defensively, Washington will improve with the return of some key, yet injured, players. If Brian Orakpo, for example, can come back from his injury sustained in week two last season, then the pass rush would greatly improve since last year saw Ryan Kerrigan carry the team in that regard. Adam Carriker, who also suffered an injury last year in week two, would also bolster the pass rush with his return. S Brandon Meriweather, another oft-injured player, would help the secondary with this return.

So, Washington needs to hope that their strengths return to health this season, lest they be drug down by their...

Weaknesses: Unfortunately for Washington, they do have some glaring weaknesses. WR Pierre Garcon was quite effective for Griffin last year, but he has had injury problems as well. Our beloved Josh Morgan didn't do so hot for Washington pulling in 48 receptions for 510 yards. That's a measly 10.6 yards a pop (which is pretty bad for him, since during his four years with us, he had 16.0, 10.1, 15.9, and 14.7 yards per reception). To round out this receiving corps, Washington has Leonard Hankerson, Santana Moss, and TE Fred Davis, who - you guessed it - is coming off an injury.

Defensively, Washington will probably have a difficult time stopping the pass. After drafting CB David Amerson and S Philip Thomas, Washington has to be hoping that they can upgrade on DeAngelo Hall at CB (who rates at a -2.5 in pass coverage on PFF) and Reed Doughty at S (-2.7 in coverage).

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