I’ll start this off by saying that the last time I wrote a positive piece about the Redskins, they dropped three straight games before headed into a much needed bye week. So if that happens again after this article, save your hate mail. I’ll go ahead and put the Skins on my blacklist of things to never write about again.
At the beginning of camp for the 2012 season, some wondered if the Redskins were setting Robert Griffin III up to fail by naming him the starting quarterback before he’d even played in even a preseason game. While it’s still pretty early in his career, he looks to have silenced all of those thoughts.
Being responsible for 24 touchdowns (18 passing, 6 rushing) to just 4 interceptions while on pace to throw for close to 4,000 yards as a rookie is just sick. My only complaints about the way that Griffin has played this season has been that he still looks to tuck the ball and run with it too much. This is something that is going to make his durability similar to Michael Vick’s now, as evidenced by his questionable status for the game this weekend due to a sprained LCL.
Still, find me someone outside of the Redskins fan circle that thought that Washington would win more than 5 or 6 games this season. The Giants were the defending champs, the Cowboys were getting their usual preseason hype and the Eagles were supposed to be primed to get back on track after an off year. This left rebuilding Washington as the division whipping boys to most experts. To be one game behind the division leader with three games left to play is already a stunning achievement for this club.
For all of the credit Griffin is getting, he isn’t doing it alone. After struggling to get the personnel in place to run the complicated zone blocking scheme that head coach Mike Shanahan is a stalwart of, things seem to finally be clicking. With the threat to take off with the ball that Griffin has become, this opened up the scheme for running back Alfred Morris who is having a huge season.
Morris, a sixth round rookie out of Florida Atlantic, isn’t quite getting all the hype that a guy like Doug Martin is getting in Tampa due to his draft positioning. But he’s on pace to rush for 1,500 yards and double digits in touchdowns; numbers that are very similar to the Buccaneers star rookie. Some will call it the scheme, and sometimes that can be true. But sometimes, a guy can slip in the draft and just fit what a team is trying to do. Just look at what Arian Foster continues to do in Houston after going undrafted and sitting on the practice squad for a year.
Outside of the running game, the Skins receivers are doing work. Griffin is spreading the ball all over the field with four guys at, or near, 30 receptions and 450 yards. Sanatana Moss, Pierre Garcon, Leonard Hankerson and Josh Morgan are all having solid seasons. None of their stats are going to jump off the page as individuals, but as a unit, they’re as consistent as it comes.
Finally, if there is a black eye on this team, it is the defense. They’re ranked fifth worst in the league and are allowing 25 points per contest after giving up 388 yards per week. Their pass rush has been underwhelming and if Ryan Kerrigan isn’t getting after the quarterback, it seems that no one is. Their linebackers have been solid, but the secondary has suffered from the lack of a consistent pass rush.
With a shot at the playoffs, it’s easy to nitpick, but no one seriously expected the Skins to turn this around in one season. So to critique them with an expectations almost seems unfair at this point. They have already exceeded expectations. They could lose out and still have exceeded them. Now, with it clear that they have their offense in place, expect them to build on that defense via free agency and the draft. If they draft well, this young team could be making noise in the NFC East for quite some time.
Filed under: Washington Redskins
Tagged with: Alfred Morris, Arian Foster, Dallas Cowboys, Doug Martin, Josh Morgan, Leonard Hankerson, Michael Vick, Mike Shanahan, New York Giants, NFC, NFC East, Philadelphia Eagles, Pierre Garcon, Robert Griffin III, Ryan Kerrigan, Santana Moss, Washington Redskins