With the first quarter of the season in the books, we hear at Redskins 101 are ready to hand out our first set of grades. Let us know what you think or would have done differently! Hail to the Redskins!
Josh – Offense gets an A. When was the last time we watched the Redskins put up so many points and yards? Robert Griffin III is proving to be well worth the price we paid to move up and get him and thus far our receivers (save for Josh Morgan's brain fart at the end of the Rams game) have given him plenty of options to throw to. Our sixth round running back Alfred Morris (taken with the pick we got from the Vikings for Donovan McNabb) is proving to be a workhorse running back in the sense of John Riggins or Ernest Byner. I think he's going to get more and more yards as the season progresses. The line, though not stellar, has done a decent job, especially when they move the pocket. We haven't given up that many sacks and they create just enough running room for Morris to consistently gain positive yards. Trent Williams, though hurt, played his butt off against the Bucs and even with his and Fred Davis' suspensions last season I think they learned their lessons and I doubt they'll be any further problems from them.
Justin – I'll give them an A as well. Through the first three weeks of the season the Redskins were tops in the NFL in scoring. RG3 has looked like a third year pro; completing nearly 70% of his passes, scoring eight touchdowns, and only giving up two turnovers. This is one area that Skins fans shouldn't be worried about for a while. But at the same time, who have they really played?
Josh – The defense is another story, they get a D. If I was grading the secondary alone they'd get an F. However, in spite of the comeback I can't find a lot of fault in the defense or secondary in the Bucs game last Sunday. Josh Freeman made some outstanding passes in the second half and the one to Vincent Jackson was the definition of a perfect throw. DeAngelo Hall had him covered like white on rice and Freeman put that ball where only Jackson could get. No fault on Hall there, there was nothing he could do short of pass interference to stop that play. If this team wants to contend for the play-offs there is a lot of work that needs to be done but I don't think it's impossible, just some guys (especially the back-ups) have to step up their game.
Justin - The Redskins entered the season hoping Tanard Jackson and Brandon Meriweather could provide stability at the safety position. Neither one has seen the field and one won't play at all this year (Jackson). Because their secondary has proven themselves beyond woeful, They can't be better than D overall. I'll be kind and make it a D+ (?) for their run stopping abilities and defensive scoring. They've scored two touchdowns and the replacement refs botched a third. They're really not far from being a decent defense–Packers, Saints, and Patriots all won a Super Bowl with sub-par, turnover based defenses.
Josh – Special Teams gets an F. If you take away some blocked punts and missed field goals this team could easily be 3-1 instead of 2-2. I don't care that Billy Cundiff made the game winning field goal. He should still be cut because that field goal wouldn't have been necessary had he made the other two easy ones. The blocked punts I don't really know what to say about, it's just poor blocking and I'm not sure if blame goes to Special Teams coach Danny Smith, the players, or the offensive line coach, but two blocked punts in the first two games (or even in a whole season) is unacceptable and needs to get fixed fast.
Justin – In what facet of special teams have they even been average? Maybe kick coverage…but the end result is a F. They've had two blocked punts (as Josh mentioned) and Billy Cundiff has yet to impress me, or even make me believe that he was a better choice than Graham Gano. With protection issues in the last two years, Danny Smith has to fix it or go. Lorenzo Alexander is the lone stud on this unit. You could possibly throw Niles Paul in there too, but they desperately need to get things on track.
Josh – Coaching overall gets a C from me. I think Mike and Kyle Shanahan are calling some good plays on offense (sometimes some questionable ones) and are putting RG3 in a good position to succeed. A lot of folks don't like the amount of running he does but in reality if you've got a weapon like RG3 you've got to use him to his fullest to keep defenses honest. Let's face it, teams aren't blitzing him as much because they fear his escapability and don't want to get burned for the big play so that gives him time to find the open guy. Jim Haslett is a bit of a mixed bag. Sometimes he has the right play dialed up then he'll have the wrong play dialed up. I'm not sure how much of the defenses failing is on him and how much is on the ability of the secondary though. Special Teams I have to shake my head at Danny Smith. I know he's not the one blocking or kicking but Special Teams is failing in all aspects and that has got to sit with the coach.
Justin – I'll give them a C too. I couldn't be happier with the Shanahans, both Mike and Kyle. Play calling, game management, and execution have all been positives for the Redskins offense. The same can't be said for Jim Haslett. In fact, I feel the exact opposite way–I couldn't be more upset with him. Granted we don't have much of a secondary, the game plan has been rough and the results even rougher. The Redskins are second to last in average yards per pass against, giving up 8.47 per and dead last in passing touchdowns against, surendering 11. That, along with Danny Smith's troubles is why they don't have at least a B in this section.
Josh – I'm sticking with my 9-7 prediction from the start of the season. I think this offense is going to get better and better and like the Saints a few years ago will be able to over come some shotty play by the defense and just outscore some opponents. Where does 9-7 get us? Maybe a wild card or the division. Right now the NFC East is wide open and none of the teams look to be too dominate. We just have to stay in it until the end and like the Nationals we might be Division Champs come January.
Justin – I'm also going to stick with my pre-season prediction of 8-8. If they can avoid any more serious injuries (knock on wood), I expect them to get better as the season progresses. I do not expect teams to 'catch up' to Griffin this season. Honestly there's just two much he can do and he's far beyond his years in terms of grasping the game. If the other NFC East teams stumble, maybe they do have a shot at the post-season.
Let us know what you think…
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