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War Cry grades the league

Over at War Cry!, the Hail Redskins Blog, Akh offers his Exit Interviews of all the NFL teams. Here's what he's got on your 'Skins:

Team: Washington Redskins
Record: 5-11
Final Grade: D
What went right: Good wins against good teams like Jacksonville, Dallas and New Orleans. The transition of Jason Campbell from unknown/hot prospect to emerging young QB star. Great Oline play. Betts showing he can supplment Portis and be a pass catching weapon. A special teams that was among the best in the league, an offense that looks extremely ready to break out in 2007.
What went wrong: Systemic defensive failures. The defensive failures starts and ends with the inability for the LB corps to attack the qb and the running game and this led to Williams trying to fit square pegs into proverbial round holes. Inability to stay healthy. Penalties.
Outlook for next year: If the defense is fixed, then the team could contend.
The one player available in fa that would help the most: Nate Clements.
The one player available in the draft that would help the most: Alan Branch

What we agree on:

  1. The grade. D is a deserving measure as it indicates a failure of a season.
  2. Mostly What Went Right is right on. Jason Campbell, Ladell Betts, and the Offensive Line play were all worth praising in 2006. Whether we're "ready to break out" I leave to history, but remain hopeful.
  3. He's got "What Went Wrong" about perfect, except I'd extend the pressure criticism to our defensive line, which I think he does by proxy in later mentioning Alan Branch.
  4. Defense is the problem. Fix that and wins should naturally follow.
What we disagree on:
  1. Special teams among the best in the league doesn't seem to be supported by the numbers. A few truly memorable moments -- Punt returns against Indy, blocked FG and kickoff TD against Dallas, etc. -- do not necessarily make you a complete unit. Prior to Suisham we were booting easy kicks, and we had short kickoffs throughout the year. Derrick Frost took some time to show up, though thankfully he did by year's end. Suisham's development was excellent news as well.
  2. Nate Clements might be the best player to help this team in Free Agency, but then again he might not be. I don't know enough yet to evaluate him vs. Asante Samuels fairly, as I think their respective asking price is and should be a major part of that consideration. Samuels, the younger, also has more of an upside (my opinion).
  3. I don't even know that Alan Branch is the best Defensive Linemen available (he might be) but I know that there's considerable value at this position. I'd prefer a pass-rushing DE to a gap filler in the middle, as our pressure on the QB was a bigger issue than run-stopping (although both were weak). I've exhaustively argued in favor of a trade down, so I might have left this blank given the opportunity.
Overall Akh is on point. Go give his full post the attention it deserves.