Three weeks into free agency, the salary cap-strapped Redskins have focused mostly on retaining their own players. But that doesn’t mean their 2013 opponents haven’t been busy adding free agents to fill holes and reshape rosters. Recently, we examined Washington’s NFC EAST foes, the Giants, Eagles and Cowboys. In the coming weeks, we’re going to check in with the rest of the teams who appear on the Redskins’ schedule next season.
2012 record: 13-3
Key acquisitions: WR Wes Welker, CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, OL Louis Vasquez, DT Terrance Knighton
2013 outlook: Although the Broncos finished the regular season with 11 straight victories, it’s obvious from the team’s aggressive offseason that they aren’t content being very good.
They want to be great.
In fact, next season’s beefed-up Broncos appear to be more formidable than last season’s edition – even after losing Elvis Dumervil’s 11 sacks to a fax machine mix up.
In the opening three days of free agency, John Elway acted swiftly and decisively to bolster his team's roster on both sides of the ball. He added wide receiver Wes Welker to a strong corps of deep threats that already boasts Eric Decker and Demaryius Thomas. Now Peyton Manning has one more prolific option in Welker (five seasons with 111 plus receptions).
Manning also figures to benefit from an offensive line that’s been fortified with a new starting right guard, 6 foot 5, 335 pound Louis Vasquez.
Elway also made some significant improvements on defense. After a mostly forgettable stay in Philly, cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (16 career interceptions) will attempt to find some consistency while starting opposite Champ Bailey. The Broncos also signed tackle Terrance Knighton, who should step right into the starting lineup, and linebacker Stewart Bradley, who will battle for a starting job.
Add those pieces to a team that ranked second in both points scored (30.1) and points allowed (18.1) last season and you’ve got your early 2013 AFC favorites.
Okay, we’re going to come right out and say it: on paper, the Broncos will be the best team the Redskins will face next season. And the fact that game will be played in Denver’s thin air and in front of the Broncos’ raucous fans only adds to the challenge.