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Redskins Players Are What Their Stats Tell Us They Are

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NFL: Washington Redskins at Arizona Cardinals Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Fan is short for Fanatic.

fa·nat·ic

fəˈnadik/

noun

a person filled with excessive and single-minded zeal.

synonyms: zealot, extremist, militant, dogmatist, devotee, adherent; More

adjective

filled with or expressing excessive zeal.”his fanatic energy”

Fans of all teams in the NFL debate about their players all the time. Some converse with blinders on, and use blind-homerism as their point of contention. Most fans over-value their own players; this is common given the nature of their fandom.

What do many fans not like to hear?... The Truth.

Fans don’t like to hear how their quarterback is not top 10 in the league. They do not like when people suggest their running back is pedestrian or a “system back”. They take offense when others say their inside linebacker can’t cover, or their safety can’t tackle.

What it really boils down to is production not prediction.

Fans WANT their player to do well, and will often use unrealistic claims to mask their lack of production, or cherry-pick certain stats to try and formulate an argument favoring that players. Point is, it all comes down to “what have you done for me lately” in today’s NFL.

The Proof is in the pudding.


There is an on-going debate in Redskins “fantasy” Land that some of our players are not what the stats say they are.

The reasons often give:

-Rookies

-Injuries

-“what the system dictates”

-...and many, many others

Some of these are legitimate reasons to why a player may not have preformed his best to this point of his career; but they are still just excuses. Point is, players will be lauded when they preform, and chastised when they don’t - it’s the nature of the beast, and it’s the nature of our fandom.


Every year, scouts and talent evaluators watch hundreds of college athletes in an attempt to predict where they may be valued in the NFL Draft. Talking heads from all around do these crazy things called Mock Drafts, where they try and guess what teams will take certain players, and it what round those players will go. Most of these predictions are based on the production the athlete had in college (although projections weigh heavily into this too). Not having seen the athlete compete yet at the professional level, these projections have to be based on something to compare them to their peers. This is where their collegiate resume comes into play.

If a college running back, for example, had three years where he received at least 150 carries, and averaged just 3.9 YPC, then comes to the combine and doesn’t test very well, odds are that player may find the rigors of the NFL to be extremely challenging.

Where projection comes into play is if you have a raw athlete who, as an example, may have just started playing football his junior season in high school. He may be a bit undersized, and/or need a lot of development on the field. Say this player was a one-year starter in college, but you can see the tools are there for a team to mold - this is where production may not match the spot the individual was drafted.

Another reason some players are more projection that production is if that individual switched positions in college. You sometimes see this with a big tight end who moved to offensive tackle, or an over-sized safety who moved to linebacker. It’s very hard to judge a guy when there is so little film of them at the position they are projected to play at the next level, but coaches and scouts may see certain skills that make them believe they can be successful at their new position regardless of college production.

These are two reasons why athletes are sometimes drafted on projection instead of production. The rest of the time, it’s “what have you done for me lately”.


Fans, being the fanatics they are, often criticize players from their team or others, for poor play or a lack of production. It’s only fair to do, because like I said above, this is a “what have you done for me lately” league. But it’s not only the fans; it’s the media, other players, websites who use metrics and stats to grade players, and even sometimes the player himself.

For Redskins fans in particular, patience has grown thin.

Many of the older fans remember the glory days of the 80’s and 90’s, and fear they may never see that type of football again from their squad. The younger generation has never seen that type of team success, so they don’t really know what a winning culture feels like, and they harbor animosity for recent team failures. Then there is the group in between. This is where I fit in. I was a bit young in the glory days to remember some of the greats, but I did get to experience at least a little bit of that winning culture. Then I got to see the tables turned, and watched as my once-proud franchise turned into a dumpster-fire, and league laughing stock.

Whatever category you fall into, we all have one thing in common - we’ve had to watch the dysfunction that has been the last decade of Redskins football.


So now that I’ve laid the foundation for why some fans act like complete fanatics about their team and its players, let’s take a look at some of the guys who have been under the microscope, and see if the reasons for the criticism are justified.

Jordan Reed:

Season - 6th

Games Played - 54

Receptions - 285

Yards - 2916

Touchdowns - 23

The problem with Reed is obviously availability. When he’s healthy and available, he’s a major weapon for this Redskins offense. The problem is, he’s missed 28 games over the last five seasons. A players with his talent should have double the reception, yards and touchdowns - the guy just can’t stay healthy.

It is fair or unfair to criticize this player for his lack of availability?

Rob Kelley:

Season - 3rd

Games Played - 24

Carries - 234

Yards - 906

YPC - 3.9

Touchdowns - 9

The issue with Kelley is production and athleticism - and he’s lacking in both departments. Where fans have taken exception, is him being listed above others who people feel are more talented than he is. He was undrafted out of Tulane, and his lack of collegiate production was probably the reason for that. It didn’t help that he tested poorly at Tulane’s Pro Day, and that shows up on tape. He lacks speed, vision, burst and lateral movement skills. What he does do however is protect the football.

Is it fair for fans to criticize this player for his lack of production?

Josh Doctson:

Season - 3rd

Games Played - 20

Receptions - 42

Yards - 616

Touchdowns - 6

The issues with Doctson, as fans have relayed their concerns, are many. First, he was drafted in the first round to be a number one receiver for this team. Second, is his lack of production so far in his career. Third is his availability - he’s missed significant time due to injuries. And finally, fans have questioned his desire and toughness. These are all legitimate concerns for a player with his skill-set. His athleticism is off-the-charts, but the production on the field has never quite match that amazing athleticism. Fan grow frustrated when he’s running around on the field, and quarterbacks are not even looking his way. When they do, he’s had a touch time securing the football. Now, some of the catches he’s criticized for not making have been difficult...but that’s what he was drafted here to do.

From James Dorsett’s article on offensive snap counts: A few weeks ago, Gabe Ward spoke with Football Outsiders about Doctson, and they told him Doctson’s career average 33 receiving yards per game in his first two seasons ranks 51st among the 73 receivers drafted in the first round between 2000 and 2016.

I get the fans frustration with our former first round pick, but is it warranted?

Shawn Lauvao:

*with the Redskins

Season (with the Redskins) - 5th

Games Played - 43

Lauvao’s main issue with the Redskins has been his inability to stay healthy. He’s started 41 of a potential 64 games over the last four seasons. Even when he’s “healthy”, fans still call him the weak link of the offensive line, and point to his play as being below average.

Does Lauvao deserve the criticism fans lump on him?

Preston Smith:

Season - 4th

Games Played - 50

Tackles - 119

Sacks - 20.5

Forced Fumbles - 4

Preston Smith often gets heat from fans about his disappearing act from game to game. Sometimes that will go on for a few games, then out of nowhere, he’ll start producing like he’s Von Miller - then, just like a fart in the wind, he’s gone again. His talent is undeniable, but his consistency is frustrating. He has two seasons where he’s put together eight sacks, but fans want more. He’s in a contract year this season - let’s see if he ups his game.

Is the criticism Preston Smith gets from fans warranted?

Ziggy Hood:

*with the Redskins

Season (with the Redskins) - 3rd

Games Played - 33

Tackles - 61

Sacks - 1.5

Forced Fumbles - 1

Many fans thought Ziggy Hood should become expendable when the Redskins drafted DaRon Payne and Tim Settle this spring. Many more felt the decision to keep the veteran defensive tackle over the younger Anthony Lanier and veteran Phil Taylor was a poor decision. Hood does not offer much, if any, pass rush ability, and he was a major liability against the run the last two seasons as a nose tackle.

James Dorsett had this to say about Hood in his defensive snaps article: Evander “Ziggy” Hood played 18 snaps in Sunday’s game. He failed to generate any pressure on his ten pass rushes, which makes this the 14th time in his last 25 games that he has not pressured the opposing quarterback once.

Hood did make it onto the stat sheet with two stops in the running game. He stopped one rush for a gain of a yard on a first down and stuffed Nyheim Hines for no gain on a 2nd-and-1 rush.

His 40.1 PFF grade for the game ranked dead last on the team among players who were in for more than one snap from scrimmage.

Dustin Hopkins:

Season - 4th

Games Played - 41

FG Attempted - 92

FG Made - 77

Missed Extra Points - 5

Hopkins is pretty good inside 40 yards, but as the field goal attempts get longer, his accuracy goes way down (which is to be expected). He’s attempted 38 kicks over 40 yards, and has made just 25 of them. His misses often come at the worst possible times.

Is the fans criticism of Hopkins warranted?


The book is not finished, but the chapters so far are not very good...

Ryan Anderson:

Season - 2nd

Games Played - 16

Tackles - 16

Sacks - 1

Forced Fumbles - 0

To say Ryan Anderson has had little impact over his first 16 games played is an understatement. The second year outside linebacker recorded his first NFL sack in week one against the Cardinals, but came back down to earth Sunday against the Colts. His lack of bend and quick-twitch ability is lacking on film, and he offers no ancillary moves to complement his bull-rush as a pass rusher. Is his future in the league at fullback?

Is the criticism fans give Ryan Anderson warranted?

Troy Apke:

Season - 1st

Games Played - 1 (special teams only)

Tackles - 0

Passes Defended - 0

Interceptions - 0

The criticism of Apke comes from draft position - which is really not his fault. Most projected the one-year college starter to be a sixth or seventh round pick, or undrafted free agent...that is until he blew up the combine with ridiculous testing numbers, which included a 4.34 40-yard dash. The collegiate production however, never matched the athleticism. Apke struggled with tackling, poor angles and play recognition at Penn State, and that continued during the preseason for the Redskins.

Fans and the media questioned the draft pick when it was made. Is that criticism warranted?


Some names from the recent past:

There have been many players in the past who have taken a lot of criticism for numerous different reasons from the fans and media. Here is a list of some more notable ones, with the reasons they took that heat listed next to their names.

Kirk Cousins - Turnovers/Couldn’t finish games

Su’a Cravens - ...Ugh, where do I even begin

Terrelle Pryor - Couldn’t catch a cold

Ryan Grant - Practice hero/coaches pet

Will Compton - Too slow, too weak

Pierre Garcon/DeSean Jackson - Too much money; not enough production

Robert Griffin III - Couldn’t read a defense if he tried/Invested too much for him

Jason Hatcher - He was from Dallas...and he sucked

Kory Lichtensteiger - Was just plain bad

Matt Jones - Ball security

Alford Morris - System back

David Amerson - Poor work ethic/preparation


Poll

Which current player do you feel deserves the criticism given to them by Redskins fans and media?

This poll is closed

  • 2%
    Jordan Reed
    (28 votes)
  • 5%
    Rob Kelley
    (58 votes)
  • 60%
    Josh Doctson
    (676 votes)
  • 10%
    Shawn Lauvao
    (114 votes)
  • 2%
    Preston Smith
    (32 votes)
  • 11%
    Ziggy Hood
    (126 votes)
  • 2%
    Dustin Hopkins
    (30 votes)
  • 4%
    Ryan Anderson
    (48 votes)
  • 0%
    Troy Apke
    (11 votes)
1123 votes total Vote Now