The defensive line is only fair; Bob Toneff is a strong tackle, but he and Ray Krause will be playing beside rookies, and rookies—no matter how good—need help. The defensive ends, with first-year-man Andy Stynchula, look very good, but Nixon's 1959 bugaboo—lack of linebackers—is still with him.
OVER-ALL: A wholesale replacement program, carried out through trades and a determined campaign which saw the Redskins sign almost all of their top draft choices despite the strong competition from the American Conference, will give the Redskins a different look. In 1959 Washington could not put a halt to the competition by land or by air. It will do better this year, mostly because of its fine new players, but a creaky passing attack and a case of first-year-it is add up to another drab and losing season in Washington.
COACH: WEEB EWBANK
1959 RECORD: W 9, L 3, NFL CHAMPION
1960 EXHIBITIONS: W 2, L 2
The best passer throwing to three of the best receivers behind the most adamant pass protectors adds up to the finest passing attack in the National Football League. John Unitas is easily the most valuable quarterback in football; Raymond Berry and Lenny Moore are incomparable receivers, and Jim Mutscheller is only a short step behind them. And there are new receivers coming up who are also exceptional.
Ewbank could use a strong, tough halfback on the order of the Giants' Alex Webster, both for blocking help in the backfield and to relieve Fullback Alan Ameche of some of the ball-carrying load. Lenny Moore is an unequaled slot back; Ameche is a sound, strong and dependable fullback. But the Colts need a topflight replacement for L. G. Dupre.
The quickest, ball-hawkingest linebackers in the league spearhead the very fine Colt pass defense, and the deep men are opportunists who run like mad when they intercept. The one question here is whether the linebackers will retain their mobility in the face of the growing age of the men up front. They may have to tend more closely to trench warfare this year, and this would cut down on pass interceptions.
The impregnable Colt line is back—but is it intact? Someday age will have to show somewhere. If it doesn't this year, the line will continue to rank with the Giants' and will stop the enemy cold.
OVER-ALL: This is still a magnificently balanced-team with no real weaknesses. The defensive linemen average 32 years in age, and have a total of 34 years of professional experience behind them. But Gino Marchetti, Big Daddy Lipscomb, Art Donovan and Don Joyce showed no sign of slowing down in 1959 and there are some good younger replacements on hand. The bewildering, powerful Colt offense has not deteriorated and Unitas seems likely to last for at least another decade. The Colts should win the title again.