JP Finlay and I did our bye week grades on the Redskins’ position groups (you can find the links to all of them at the bottom of our post on special teams). But that doesn’t cover everything that needs to be evaluated before we turn out full attention to the second half of the season. Here is my report card on various individuals and other aspects of the Redskins in the first half of the season. Note that part-time players don’t get an A from me unless they are truly outstanding.
If I’m way off, or if I missed a player or coach you think needs a grade, let me know in the comments.
Ever since Spencer Long went in at center things have clicked for the Redskins’ offensive line. They have allowed seven sacks in five games and have rushed for 100 yards or more in four of those games. We will have to see if they can maintain this grade with Trent Williams watching games at home while serving his substance abuse suspension.
You couldn’t ask much more out of Jamison Crowder than 40 receptions (leads Redskins wide receivers) for 498 yards and four touchdowns (both lead the team). On top of that, however, Crowder also leads the NFL in punt return average at 19.2 yards and he scored a key touchdown with an 85-yard return against the Ravens.
I gave Kirk Cousins an A- in the grades series on CSN and there’s no reason to change it here. He has left the field with the Redskins having a very good chance of winning the game for six consecutive weeks. Sure, there are areas he could improve but he is doing his job.
Others: TE Jordan Reed, RB Chris Thompson
You certainly can quibble about some of Jay Gruden’s play calling and clock management. And I still haven’t figured out why he went for it on fourth and short in the red zone against the Bengals. But week after week he has had his team ready to play and in all but one game they have had a chance to win at the end. That’s about all you can ask out of a head coach, especially one with a roster not exactly loaded with Pro Bowlers.
Josh Norman has played well, although he has missed some potential big interceptions. He was probably in A territory before the Bengals game. A veteran has to learn to adjust his game if they are continually going to flag him for hands to the face. He’s been an excellent addition but if he’s going to take some flags (overall he’s the most penalized player in the league) he needs to make a few more big plays.
What grade should DeSean Jackson get? He hasn’t been very productive but it’s not all his fault. Clearly he has been getting open and Cousins has been going elsewhere with the ball. A grade of B seems fair.
If I had told you before the season started that Trent Murphy would have a grade of B at midseason you would think that the grading would have to be on some sort of a severe curve. But with six sacks and three forced fumbles he is on a roll.
I know many will scream with the offensive play calling getting an above average grade. But they are near the top of the NFL in yards per play (2nd), third-down conversions (6th), and fewest three and out series (1st). The only area that needs major work is the red zone and I’m convinced that play calling is only part of the issue there. The execution has been subpar at times as well.
Others: OLB Ryan Kerrigan, CB Kendall Fuller, K Dustin Hopkins, WR Pierre Garçon, TE Vernon Davis, ILB Mason Foster, ILB Su’a Cravens, RB Rob Kelley
This was the grade that Twitter gave the Redskins on the first half of the season in the poll I ran yesterday. It was a solid majority of 60 percent and I see no reason to make a case that it should be higher or lower.
Punter Tress Way has gone from being special to being, well, average. He is near the bottom of the league in touchbacks, punts inside the 20, a net average.
Others: ILB Will Compton, DE Chris Baker, DL Ziggy Hood, DC Joe Barry,
All through training camp and the first part of the season it looked like RB Matt Jones had taken care of his fumbling issues from his rookie year. But then the ball started falling on the ground with alarming regularity. He needs to get it back together.
Preston Smith might earn a C in a vacuum but his ability and the expectations for him move him down to this level. He’s too talented to have just 1.5 sacks and no fumbles forced or recovered put him here.
It’s the same story with Bashaud Breeland. His first two years in the league he played on a B-/C+ level most of the time. This year with higher expectations he’s scuffling. And what was up with him missing almost half of the Bengals game with cramps?