Naming an MVP from a 4-12 team can come off a little...uhhhhhhh...flat I suppose, but 16 games were played and there were some men wearing burgundy and gold that worked their butts off to earn this distinguished honor. I figure there will be plenty of time to break down all the areas of weakness and the myriad of solutions to fix them in the coming weeks. We might as well sprinkle in some positive vibes!
I'll suggest a few deserving candidates and should I omit a player that the masses feel strongly about, the comments section awaits. I'll count rec's as votes for those players.
DeSean Jackson, WR
I guess I shouldn't be surprised that we can't have this conversation without including DeSean Jackson. We knew how good he was before he came here, and sure enough, he brought that game all year long. His 1,169 receiving yards, while somewhat impressive, don't tell the whole story of what he brought to our offense. He had 16 plays of over 20 yards, which puts him just outside of the top ten in the league, but his 13 plays of over 40 yards puts him in at the top of the league--and it's not close. The second best tally belongs to Jordy Nelson, who finished the season with eight such plays. DJax is a difference maker, and a threat to take it all the way every time he touches the ball. In a word, he is elite. He was a bright spot for an offense that operated in darkness most of the season. He is deserving of an MVP nod for sure.
Trent Williams, OT
On an offensive line that performed below expectations (too nice?), it is hard to single anyone out for accolades, but we all know who Trent Williams is--and the league does too, rewarding him with a hard-earned Pro Bowl spot. He played through a laundry list of injuries and ailments all season to stay on the field for a team that--is it possible--may have fared even worse without him. Trent is a straight bulldozer. Did he have bad plays? Oh yeah...we all saw them, but his steady presence on the line of scrimmage as quarterbacks moved in and out of both the pocket and the lineup was noteworthy. We have all seen guys quit on teams like this before. Trent stayed in and stayed available. He worked to avoid one of the worst crimes you can commit in an NFL locker room: letting your teammates down. It says here that if the Washington Redskins invest in talent to put around Trent on the offensive line, his production, efficiency and impact would be exponentially greater. As it stands now, we have a hell of an offensive tackle in place.
Ryan Kerrigan, OLB
You all must know that I struggled with the decision of whether to go with Keenan Robinson or Ryan Kerrigan. I spent all summer last year pimping Keenan as the reason why our defense was going to survive the loss of London Fletcher. I love the way he plays and I think he could have very easily been in this spot, but in the final analysis, I thought that Ryan Kerrigan led the defense and his stats support him getting the nod over Keenan. Ryan had the fifth highest sack total of all linebackers, besting both Terrell Suggs and Clay Matthews (Von Miller beat him by a half-sack). Among the top twenty or so linebackers in the sacks column, he had the second highest amount of tackles (trailing only Justin Houston). He led all linebackers with five forced fumbles. Ryan Kerrigan started every game this season (he has started every game since entering the league) and played every play as if the Super Bowl was on the line (at least from where I was sitting). He has emerged as one of the faces of not just our defense, but of our franchise. This is a good thing, and certainly something worth celebrating.
Tress Way, P
I have cooled on the idea of punter as team MVP, but if you think I am not going to give this kid a little more print, you clearly don't know me at all. Tress led the league with his 47.5 yard average distance, and his net average of 40.0 yards keeps him in the top ten there. In a season where our offense struggled mightily on third down, Tress got plenty of work in on most days. We all pretty much knew that if we didn't get it done on second down, Tress Way was going to have to come in and boom a kick that would give our defense a chance. He was a monster in the field position game, regularly forcing the opposing offense to travel long distances to score. The left-footed rookie would seem to have a bright future in Washington, and I won't be sleeping on having a nicely cemented piece of our special teams in place. My vote will likely go to one of the aforementioned players, but we can't deny that Tress Way had a great season.