The Washington Redskins attempted to avoid guarding Amari Cooper for years to come by offering him a massive contract this offseason. Their effort to steal him away from the Cowboys failed, as the former top-5 pick opted to take less money to re-sign in Dallas. Washington will have to face off against the top WR in the NFC East twice a year.
The Cowboys boast the best wide receiver corps in the division with Cooper and Michael Gallups, though they don’t stand much competition. The Eagles’ wide receivers were a mess last season. New York doesn’t have any star talent and Redskins’ Terry McLaurin flashed big-play potential last season, though he’d need to take a Gallup-like step to really make any defense truly concerned.
Last season, the Redskins held Cooper to eight catches, 136 yards and one touchdown over their two contests, including a meaningless week 17 matchup where Dallas was up big for the majority of the game. Gallup tallied 11 catches for 166 yards and three touchdowns over those games.
Guarding that Cowboys’ unit will rather difficult for the Redskins in 2020 yet again.
Washington struggled overall in its attempts to defend the pass in 2019, ranking 24th in the league, per Football Outsiders. The franchise was well aware of the deficiency and attempted to revamped its secondary this offseason.
It brought Kendall Fuller back to town while adding Ronald Darby on a one-year deal. Fuller just helped the Chiefs win a Super Bowl while Darby spent the past three seasons in Philadelphia where just two years ago, he assisted in the club in stealing a Lombardi Trophy from Tom Brady. Darby has showcased the ability to play at a high level, though injuries ultimately headlined his tenure with the Eagles.
It would be surprising if the team doesn’t address cornerback in the draft given Darby’s injury history and lack of depth at the position. Washington cut ties with Josh Norman this offseason and shipped Quinton Dunbar to Seattle.
The decision to move on from Dunbar was a curious one. Yes, he was looking for a new contract, but the cornerback had a fantastic 2019 season, as Richard Sherman was the only player at the position to have a better campaign, per Pro Football Focus. The University of Florida product played 347 snaps last year, allowing just two touchdowns, and he allowed just 17 first downs across his 52 targets, which is the 10th best rate in the league.
Yes, Fuller will help but this secondary still projects to be iffy at best. Expect the pair of Cowboys receivers to eat yet again when playing Washington in 2020, barring another move this offseason.
Washington’s Wide Receiver Opponents
In addition to the teams in the NFC East, the Redskins play the following teams in 2020:
- (at) Arizona
- (at) Cleveland
- (at) Detroit
- (at) Steelers
- (at) 49ers
- (vs) Rams
- (vs) Seahawks
- (vs) Ravens
- (vs) Bengals
- (vs) Panthers
The Skins will have to go up against the likes of Deandre Hopkins, who was shipped to the Cardinals this offseason, Odell Beckham, who this franchise knows well, and 2019 breakout star Juju Smith-Shuster among other threats.
Cooper Draws Unfair Criticism
Ryan was hyper-critical of Cooper’s contract, concurring with an unnamed executive who wasn’t Cooper’s biggest fan. Ryan said he wouldn’t have paid the former Alabama product because he doesn’t show up against top competition. While he was sidelined for unknown reasons in the Cowboys’ late in the December contest against the Eagles, Ryan may be out of touch with what the wide receiver brings to the table.
Cooper’s route running and precision is a work of art and his sheer presence on the field elevates the offense. In 2019, only two wide receivers (Michael Thomas, Chris Godwin) provided more value to their respective offenses than Cooper did for the Cowboys.
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