Redskins Have a Bright Future

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Positive Moves of the Redskins Under Mike Shanahan

As fans, we are quick to turn on our team when things are not going well. We all want to point a finger, and we all want proverbial heads to roll. It is the nature of pro football................someone NEEDS to be the scapegoat. The misguided perception often falls immediately on coaches; head, offensive coordinator, and defensive coordinator alike. In the case of the Redskins so far in the 2013 season, some of the blame has even trickled down to the special teams and linebackers coach.


And then there are the players.


In extremely disfuctional franchises, the obvious finger pointing usually lands on the quarterback. Gabbert in Jacksonville has taken extreme heat over the last two seasons, and rightfully so. The Raiders quarterback situation has been horrible for years, and no immediate end appears to be in sight. The Browns are a mess at quarterback, and seemed poised to make a run at Teddy Bridgewater in 2014. The entire league knows, they need a savior at the position. And although not disfuctional by any means, Eli Manning is not immune to criticism after his teams horrible start.


Now the Redskins are a bit different in this area. Every fan knows RG3 is not the problem. Hell, if anything, he's the ultimate solution. Still, coming off of major knee surgery less than nine months ago, most people figured it would take a little bit of time for him to round into the form he displayed on his way to Rookie of the Year honors for the 2012 season.


So, who is the problem, and where do we start the finger pointing game?


Well, we have had plenty of opportunities over the last few weeks to discuss this topic, and it does nothing but frustrate a loyal fan base who was finally beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel. We have discussed how to re-shape this roster going forward, and have lamented on poor free agent signings, and suspect draft choices.


Now may be the time to give the guys in charge of this team some credit for the positive moves the team has made over the last few season, and believe me, I strongly feel they outweigh the negatives.


The Positives:

Trent Williams:  Silverback has grown into one of the best left tackles in the NFL. Some questioned the draft pick when it was made, thinking Russell Okung should have been the choice, but looking back, no one will second guess the selection of Williams.

Grade - A+

Barry Cofield:  Where would this defensive be without Cofield?  Even worse you say? Well, maybe you think that's not possible statistically, but aside from the poor play on defense early last season, and through three of our five games this season, Cofield has been a rock at nose tackle since arriving as a free agent. Many questioned the signing, citing his lack of size for a typical 3-4 nose tackle, but he has done nothing to disappoint. He has become one of the better players at his position in the NFL, and is only getting better with each start in our system. Even with his hand wrapped in a heavy clump to start the season, he was more effective than most, and now that the hand wrap is gone, you can once again see his dominance on the field.


Grade - A+


Robert Griffin III:  Say what you will about the trade, and all the picks we gave up to get this magnificent player; Robert Griffin has single-handedly done more for this franchise in one-and-a-half years, that any player over the last 20 years. The injury was certainly a disappointment, but the player is still one of the best young stars in the entire NFL, and should remain so for years to come.


Grade - A+


Alfred Morris:  His draft status as a sixth round pick, combined with a franchise record 1613 yards rushing, and 13 touchdowns as a rookie, make Morris an easy pick as one of the best moves the franchise has made. If he can continue his early success, Morris will go down as one of the biggest steals in the history of the draft.


Grade - A+



Pierre Garcon:  Yes he was hurt last season, and didn't produce statistically like he could have had he been 100%, but you can see what his presence on the field has meant to the young Robert Griffin. What makes his performance even more impressive, is that Garcon has been able to put up the numbers he has, without the presence of a steady number two receiver opposite him to help ease coverage, and keep defenses honest. Just imagine what he could be doing with another legitimate receiving threat on the outside.


Grade - A


Ryan Kerrigan:  I was one of his doubters when we selected him in 2011. All he has done since is produce at a high level. Kerrigan earned his first Pro Bowl nod last season, and has picked up right where he left off in 2012. He's been one of the few bright spots on the Redskins defense this season. He should be a force in the league for years to come.


Grade - A


Kirk Cousins:  Many scoffed when the Redskins selected Cousins with the 102nd pick in the fourth round of the 2012 NFL Draft, partly because we had just drafted our franchise quarterback 100 picks earlier, and partly because we had so many other needs on the team.  Although Cousins hasn't seen much playing time early on is his career, he can be credited with helping the Redskins secure a playoff birth in 2012 with his clutch performance at the end of the Ravens game, that led the Redskins to a 31-28 overtime victory. The Redskins have the best quarterback situation in the entire league, and that is due largely in part to the draft selection of Cousins.


Grade - A


Chris Chester:  Chester has been a disappointment early this season, but lets not let this take away from what he has done since arriving as a free agent from the Ravens in 2011. Chester took a while to get comfortable with his new surroundings in Washington, but once he did, he showed to be an excellent guard. His play last year was Pro Bowl worthy, and he was a main cog in our record setting offense.


Grade - B+


Perry Riley:  Riley was selected by Mike Shanahan in the fourth round of the 2010 draft, and he has done nothing but improve each and every season. He leads the team in tackles so far in 2013 with 43, and also has two sacks to his credit early on. He is slated to become a free agent in 2014, and re-signing him will be a top priority for the Skins.


Grade - B+


Kai Forbath:  The Redskins have been dysfunctional at the kicker position for over a decade, but that finally looks to be changing since the team signed Forbath in October of 2012 to replace Billy Cundiff. Forbath holds the NFL record for most consecutive field goals made to start a career(17), and was instrumental in the Redskins 2012 playoff run.


Grade - B


Davis Amerson:  It is probably too early to grade a 2013 rookie second rounder, but it looks as though the Redskins may have gotten a steal with Amerson at a position of great need for the future. Amerson ceiling is as high as any young corner in the league, and his skills at the position are obvious. He had first round talent coming out of N.C. State, but a up-and-down Junior season caused his draft stock to slip a bit. Should he continue to develop like he has, we will have a great player for years to come.


Grade - B


Jordan Reed:  Just like Amerson, it is hard to rate a rookie, but if Reed continues his maturation, he will be a fixture of this offense for many years.


Grade - B







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