1, Lorenzo Alexander
A Pro Bowl alternate last year for his special teams prowess, he's still doing it his thing on kick-off and punt coverage and deputized nobly at middle and outside linebacker as well. Seriously, how many times has this man snagged the Redskins first tackle of the day - because it seems like it's every game. With captain London Fletcher's injures troubles, Alexander has been asked to wear the helmet with the green dot on the back during several critical drives in each of the division game's, helping the 'Skins to 2 wins out of 3. Throw in the monster 1.5 sacks, 1 interception/fumble recovery day in the overdue home win against the Vikings, and the One-Man-Gang due for some kudos.
2, Barry Cofield
The emotional leader of the locker room, most of Cofield's work on the field goes unnoticed. What he does is push the opposing team's center into the backfield, a critical aspect of the Redskins success shutting down running plays in between the tackles through the first eleven games. Cofield was bull-dozing through the Eagles backfield last week when he stripped Shady McCoy to push the Redskins up 17-6 before halftime.
3, Perry Riley
London Fletcher's sidekick has rarely missed an open-field tackle this season. Collecting 85 tackles so far (second only to Fletcher's 88) to go along with a forced fumble, the 24-year-old LSU product has been consistent positive within in an up-and-down (and down, again) defensive unit.
4. Madieu Williams
Recognized by most Redskins fans (and Giants fans) as the guy that got caught flat-footed on the Eli Manning to Victor Cruz 88-yard back-breaking touchdown in the final minutes of the Redskins first divisional game this season, Williams has played better since that misstep, avoiding getting beaten deep (even if he's allowing underneath completions) and making more than a few solid tackles in the trenches to stop opposing backs for minimal gains. Williams is one of four Redskins with a defensive touchdown this season (five if you include Pierre Garcon's fumble recovery @Tampa ) and landed an awesome blow on Dez Bryant to jar the ball out and deny the wide-out his third touchdown in the final minute of last Thursday's rivalry bout.
5 forced turnovers and counting. Give your boy some love!
1. Darrel Young-
Kyle Shanahan isn't enganging in coach speak when he says D-Young is one of the best fullbacks in the league. The numbers say Young is one of four full-backs with two receiving touchdowns, fifth among full-backs in rushing yards with 42, (26 of which came @NY) and 12th in receiving yard with 58. But the numbers don't tell the story. The value of a fullback comes from his ability to clear space for his running back, and ask Alfred Morris, D-Young has done an exceptional job at that for the #2 rushing attack in the league.
2, Brandon Banks Banks caught a lot of flack recently for his decision to try and return a punt from his own 1-yard line in Thanksgiving Day game @Dallas. People forget that we scored a touchdown on that drive and that Banks's third-down catch and run to extend what ended up being our last touchdown drive was a far more pivotal moment. Although it was obviously the wrong decision, I could understand Bank's mindset fielding the punt. He rarely has that much space in front of him when catches a punt; he thought he could make something happen. That said, Banks's production in the return game this season has been underwhelming at best. He's an under-appreciated Redskins, however, because many fans think of him solely as a specialist when he has been a valuable asset in a variety of roles for the Redskins' new-look offense. The potential to break big plays off of bubble screens, option-plays and reverses is nice, but less than half of his value to Griffin's squad. Mostly, he has been a world-class headache for defensive coordinators, who have to dedicate men to keeping tabs the little speedster. His influence as a diversion has lead to some big, big plays.
3. Trent Williams
Next year, Trent hopefully won't be on this list because he will be coming off a pro-bowl, if not an all-pro season. For now, though, he can't get enough love. Playing through injury in the second half of the Bengals game, in the crucial win @Tampa, and even through most of last week's win @Dallas, Williams has lead this team through example and grit.
4, Sav Rocca.
5, Will Montgomery.
Countless shut-gun and pistol plays, 0 bad snaps and counting.