Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Washington Redskins 2010 Midseason Grades


Donovan McNabb - B - : McNabb has had to carry the Redskins offense so far. He has had the running game help him seldomly, and is third on the team is yards rushing himself. He has done this dealing with nagging injuries all season, so a week off will help.

His accuracy tossing the ball has been wildly erratic for the most part. Though he has had more pressure than most NFL QB's due to a porous offensive line, so he won't get a fair grade unless he can have at least just a few games of competent blocking in front of him.

Enjoy him now Redskins fans, because the Shanahan's have made it quite clear he will not be back next season.

Rex Grossman - D - : One of the worst backup quarterbacks in the NFL. He was called into one game and promptly fumbled a ball that was returned for a touchdown by the opponents.

Running Back

Clinton Portis - C - : Most pundits felt the 29-year old was running on flat tires before the season began, and he did little to dispel those opinions in the four games he played before getting hurt.

After averaging barely three yards on his first 31 carries, Washington started handing the ball off to other players more often. His last 18 carries bumped up his yards per carry average to four, but his main contribution this year was pass blocking.

Ryan Torain - A : Torain has been a very pleasant surprise. He did not even make the team coming out of camp, and was only given the chance because head coach Mike Shanahan drafted him in 2008 during the fifth round with the Denver Broncos and getting hurt after two games..

Torain has played just six games, after playing none last year,, but leads the Redskins in rushing with 391 yards and three scores while averaging 4.5 yards per carry. He also has eight catches and another touchdown. If he had not given Washington this, their record would be a lot worse right now.

Keiland Williams - A - : Williams made the team as an undrafted free agent rookie with just a few starts in college. He soon found himself placed as the teams pass catching specialist out of the backfield.

He was cut after week three when Portis went down, but was back a week later. He is third on the team in receptions, and did a good job filling in for an injured Torain by scoring. His pass blocking needs improvement, but that is a typical quandary for rookies.

Mike Sellers - B : Sellers is consistent when asked to catch the ball. He has 12 receptions so far, but his main job is to run block. He has been inconsistent in this area, and seems to have lost a step at 35-years old.

Tight Ends

Chris Cooley - A + : Cooley leads all NFC tight ends in receptions and is second in the NFL behind Antonio Gates of San Diego. His two scores is also tied for the team lead.

Cooley came into the season excited to play with McNabb, hoping to become a favorite target. He has done just that and is also a very underrated blocker who appears headed to his third Pro Bowl.

Fred Davis - D : The question about Davis has always been how much he really likes football, considering he has said he isn't much of a fan of the game when not playing it. Shades on ex-Redskin Michael Westbrook.

After coming up big last year when Cooley went down for the year, he has been virtually invisible so far this season. He has nine catches so far, and has not blocked very well often in jumbo sets.

Wide Receivers

Santana Moss - A : Moss has been the steady receiver Washington needs. He already has 48 receptions and has also shown to be an excellent blocker down field. He is quietly putting together one of the best seasons of his career.

Anthony Armstrong - A+ : Easily the best rookie the Redskins has this season. He sat on NFL practice squads for a few years, as well as playing in the Intense Football League, before making a squad in desperate need of receiver help this season.

He has 17 receptions at a 18 yards per catch clip, but he has been more than a deep threat. He has a propensity of always being around the ball, whether it is snagging a pass deflection, falling on a fumble, or making a tackle on special teams.

Joey Galloway - C : It is amazing he even wears a uniform these days at 39-years old. He has pitched in with eight receptions, but is no longer the consistent threat he once was.

Roydell Williams - C : The journeyman rarely plays, and has two receptions so far.

Brandon Banks - A - : He hasn't been used on offense really, and has one catch. That is probably due to the fact he has major ball security issues.

He makes his bones returning kicks, something Washington did not ask him to do until the fourth week this season. After making the team out of camp, the rookie was cut and brought back as the season went on.

He has 16 kickoff returns for 436 yards and a score. The 213 yards he had Sunday almost matched his seasons total, and an additional touchdown called back on a penalty. Banks has also pitched in 17 punt returns for 234 yards. He is exciting when he is able to hold onto the ball.

Offensive Line

Trent Williams - A : The rookie has been everything Washington hoped for since being drafted in the first round. He has struggled at times, bu mostly with his health. A week off will do him good.

Jamal Brown - B - : Brown has done well run blocking, but most of this season has seen him play injured. His return to full health is sorely needed.

Stephon Heyer - B+ : Heyer has been valuable coming off the bench when Williams and Brown have gone down frequently with injuries. He has also cut down on mistakes, which Heyer was known to often make in his previous three years with the club.

Artis Hicks - D : Hicks is a journeyman backup that Washington overpaid to get as a free agent this year. When a flag is thrown for holding or a false start, Hicks is usually the culprit. There have been moments he has run blocked well, but Hicks has generally played poorly so far.

Kory Lichtensteiger - C : He was drafted in the fourth round of the 2008 draft by Shanahan, and he spent his rookie year as a reserve. Denver let him go after firing Shanahan, and he spent about three weeks with the Minnesota Vikings last year but never saw the field.

Washington signed him one week after Shanahan was hired this year. Though his best position is center, Lichtensteiger replaced Derrick Dockery at left guard in week three and has stayed there since. He isn't overpowering, but he rarely makes mistakes either. There is a very good chance he starts at center next year.

Derrick Dockery - D : Dockery earned a starting job early in his rookie year, then went 111 games starting and never missing a game. After the second week of this season, his streak was snapped when Washington benched him. Dockery hasn't been seen since, which says a lot for an offensive line that has played as poorly as the Redskins have in the middle.

Casey Rabach - D : He is 33-years old, but has played a lot older too many times this season. Last Sunday was a perfect example, as he stepped on quarterback Donovan McNabb's foot twice in the first quarter, killing two drives. Only outmatched centers make the error of stepping into the bucket, especially one as veteran as Rabach.

Both Rabach and Hicks have been the weak link of the Redskins offensive line, and the worst kind of pressure a quarterback can face comes from up the middle. Though it may be easy to say Rabach needs to be benched, the backups aren't any better and he was recently signed to a 3 year contract worth $12.3 million.

Defensive Line

Albert Haynesworth- D - : Though he has played his best football for Washington the past two weeks, he still is basically a grossly overpaid reserve who is one of the biggest free agent busts in NFL history. It is doubtful the sullen, immature Haynesworth will be much more than that, given his present state of mind and heart.

Adam Carriker- C - : Carriker had a few flashes this year that showed why he was a first round pick in 2007, yet he has just eight tackles and a half a sack as a reserve so far.

Kedric Golston - D : He has just seven tackles in six games this season. Not exactly stellar production from a starter.

Ma'ake Kemoetu - B - : He is the Redskins best defensive lineman, and leads the unit with 16 tackles from his nose tackle position so far. He is the only consistent run stuffer the team has.

Vonnie Holliday - C : The 35-year old journeyman has pitched in on 11 tackles, a half a sack, and a couple of batted down balls in his five games.

Phillip Daniels - B : The 37-year old Daniels has been helpful when he has played, which is just three games so far. He has seven tackles and a sack.


London Fletcher - A : A true pro. His transition to the 3-4 has gone very well, and he is second on the team in tackles. He also leads the Redskins in forced and recovered fumbles, while showing he can still defend against the pass well.

Fletcher has also pitched in 1.5 sacks, which is just half a sack short of his high mark with Washington. One of the only consistent players on the Redskins roster, the 35-year old may be heading to his second Pro Bowl at this pace.

Brian Orakpo - B : Orakpo is basically just a pass rusher right now. His seven sacks lead the team, and it is tied as the third most in the NFL so far. Though he is not much of a pass defender, Washington would like to see him improve against the run.

Andre Carter - C - : The veteran defensive end has struggled in his transition to linebacker. He has just 19 tackles and a sack thus far, and has lost his starting job. Washington has lately been putting him back at defensive end on passing downs to try to get him going.

Lorenzo Alexander : B + : Mr. Versatile has been found playing along the line on either side of the ball, at fullback, and now at linebacker. He has been so valuable to the team, one must wonder if he could handle kicking or quarterback duties as well.

Alexander has moved into a starters job, pitching in 19 tackles and 1.5 sacks.

Rocky McIntosh - B + : He might be best at the OLB slot, but Washington needs him at ILB and he has done a good job. His two sacks are tied as second most on the team, and his 63 tackles is tied as third most. He has struggled in pass defense, but that is not shocking for a player learning a new position in a new defensive scheme.

H.B. Blades - C + : H.B. makes his bones on special teams. Despite a few penalties that hurt the team, he is one of their better kick return coverage guys.


LaRon Landry - A + : The best safety in the NFL today, he leads the NFL in solo tackles and his 76 total tackles are far and away to most by any NFL defensive back. It is also the third most in the entire league.

Landry is the M.V.P. of the team so far this year, as he has improved on every aspect of his game. His seven passes defended is third most on the team, though Redskins defensive coordinator Jim Haslett loves to send him after the quarterback.

Not only is he on his way to the Pro Bowl, but this current pace will have him First Team All-Pro and in the running for NFL Defensive Player of the Year.

Kareem Moore - C : After missing the first two games of the season because of injury, Moore has done a mostly decent job in his first year as a starter. He still makes mental errors, but he is maybe the only true free safety on the roster.

Reed Doughty - C + : Doughty is an old school player able to play either safety slot. Though he might be the least athletic Redskin defensive back, Doughty has piled up 38 tackles already. He can be picked on in man to man coverage, but he is mostly dependable and consistent.

Chris Horton - D - : After a excellent rookie season in 2008, Horton hit a sophomore slump and seems stuck there. Now playing more tentatively, Washington has used him in just four games in what might be his last season in the NFL.


DeAngelo Hall - A + : Not only does he lead the NFL with six interceptions, his 63 tackles lead all NFL cornerbacks and his nine defended passes are tied as the second most in the league.

He is playing his position the way all expected when drafted with the eighth overall draft pick in 2004, and Hall appears on his way to his third Pro Bowl appearance.

Carlos Rogers - B + : Quietly, Rogers is tied with Hall in passes defended. He also has pitched in 38 tackles and an interception. Though Washington has given up a lot of yards in the air, they leave their veteran cornerbacks on island with little pass rush to help.

Phillip Buchanon - C - : When Redskins general manager Bruce Allen won the George Young Executive of the Year award with the Oakland Raiders in 2002, it was the same year he drafted Buchanon in the first round.

When Allen moved to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2004, Buchanon was traded to Houston but rejoined Allen in Tampa Bay for almost three years in 2006. Now the pair are reunited again in Washington.

While Buchanon has defended eight balls and had 19 tackles, opponents seem to pick on the journeyman, now on his fifth team in ten seasons, often. He has mostly been a disappointment, making mistakes someone as veteran as him should not be making. It makes the fact that Kevin Barnes has yet to show anything that much more painful, because Washington needs an upgrade here.

Kicking Game

Graham Gano - A : The rookie has been solid. Though he has missed both attempts of 50+ yards, Gano has only missed three of 18 other attempts. He is giving Washington a consistency at this position not enjoyed in years, and his kickoffs have allowed the Redskins to have one of the best kickoff coverage units in the league.

Hunter Smith - D - : Smith has been pretty lousy ever since he replaced the injured Josh Bidwell. He has a net punting average of only 33.4 yards, hopefully prompting the Redskins to try out a few free agent punters during their week off.


Mike Shanahan - D : Shanahan has brought more chaos than stability in his first season. He has mishandled a few veterans Washington planned to rely on this season, then dealt conflicting stories to the media when asked about each issue.

Though the veteran coach gets a pass in his first year because he won it all in the past, fans either like his rigid approach or are beginning to see why Denver fired him.

Kyle Shanahan - D - : Let's face it, the guy has the job because his dad is the boss. Though he was given the title of offensive coordinator for two seasons in Houston under his fathers disciple Gary Kubiak, it was Kubiak who called the plays.

His dad says he stays out of the way and allows his son to call the plays, but perhaps this needs to change because the inexperience shows.

In the Redskins 27-24 loss to the Indianapolis Colts, they faced a team that could not stop the run. Torain had 100 yards and two scores on 20 carries. Shanahan mostly ignored the run game in the second half, which allowed the Colts to come back and win. An experienced, competent offensive coordinator would have handed the ball off more than 22 times, as opposed to throwing it 45 times. His play calling lost a winnable game for Washington.

Mike Shanahan was handed $35 million over five years. Perhaps it is time he starts earning his paycheck and start calling the plays again. He won two Super Bowls doing this, and Washington deserves to have the best chance possible at winning too.

Jim Haslett - C + : It is hard to grade Haslett for a few reasons. Not only is the team adjusting to the 3-4 scheme, but the defensive coordinator does not yet have the personnel that fits his system.

His defense gives up a ton of yards, yet the defense has been excellent inside of the red zone. Three games have seen the team give up just one touchdown, and another saw two scored. While they do not harass opposing quarterbacks enough, the defense is tied with the Tennessee Titans and Pittsburgh Steelers as the best in the NFL at creating turnovers.

Considering the team had an extremely difficult time at creating turnovers under ex-defensive coordinator Greg Blache for the past two years, Haslett's defense has brought a welcome wrinkle to their game.

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