For Week 2 of the regular season, ESPN’s NFC East blogger Dan Graziano compiled his all-division team.
Last week, I was critical of a few selections, particularly of Mike Sellers as the top fullback in the division when he went on to be deactivated for Sunday’s game.
This week, the Redskins secured six awards, up one from last week. Graziano notes that the criteria for this week is based strictly on a player’s performance in Week 1:
Fullback: Darrel Young, Redskins (Mike Sellers)
Left guard: Kory Lichtensteiger, Redskins (David Diehl)
Outside linebacker: DeMarcus Ware, Cowboys, Ryan Kerrigan, Redskins (Ware, Brian Orakpo)
Punter: Sav Rocca, Redskins (Steve Weatherford)
Kick returner: Brandon Banks, Redskins (Banks)
Punt returner: Brandon Banks, Redskins (Dez Bryant)
Not a bad list for the boys in Burgundy and Gold.
Young played well, despite the struggles in the running game. Blocking was a factor in Hightower’s pedestrian yards-per-carry average, but Young performed well in his first start.
Lichtensteiger was in a similar position, and performed well on the line. He, like the man to his left and right (Trent Williams and Will Montgomery) are still settling in, and need time to become cohesive as a unit. A good first showing, however.
In one week of play, Kerrigan not only outplayed his bookend blitzer, he also outplayed most linebackers in the league. Graziano was very complimentary of his first big league showing:
Kerrigan snags an outside linebacker spot basically by virtue of the one play, but (a) it was an incredible play — tipping the pass, intercepting the pass and running it back in for the touchdown and (b) I thought he looked better in coverage than he had in the preseason. If he’s effective there and as good at rushing the passer as he clearly is on raw talent alone, my Rookie of the Year pick is looking good.
The Redskins had great kickoffs, coverage, and returns on Sunday, so Rocca and Banks were good selections. Graziano assessed their performances as well.
Banks gets both return spots because he’s really the only one who returned anything. I do think DeSean Jackson is better at punts, yes, but since we’re basing this on Sunday’s games only, Jackson offered us nothing on which to grade him.
Rocca, with four punts inside the 20 and two fair catches, was better than both [Steve Weatherford or Mat McBriar], even if he was a couple of yards per punt behind them.
That’s a good assessment, and tells you a lot more about the effectiveness of a punter than raw yards-per-punt averages. Yards and net yards are largely dependent on conditions that are outside of the punters control–namely, offensive field position. If you’re punting from deep, yards increase. If you’re punting from mid-field, the art of coffin-corner punts and dropping it inside the 20 become more important.
Clearly with four downed inside 20 and the best punting debut in Redskins history, Rocca earned his spot on the list.
Graziano also admitted that Grossman probably deserved the quarterback spot:
Okay, on quarterback, yes, Rex Grossman’s passing numbers were better than Vick’s…I honestly wrestled with this (and truthfully, Tony Romo looked like the winner until… well, you know), but I gave it to Vick by a hair for the same reason I ranked him No. 1 in the division before the season began — because he can and does make winning plays other quarterbacks can’t. This doesn’t mean he’s got the spot for the year, but his overall game Sunday gave him the edge, for me, over Grossman even though Grossman was the better passer Sunday.
And maybe, just maybe Fred Davis was the top tight end in the division too:
Strong honorable mention for Washington’s Fred Davis at tight end, yes. No idea how the Giants kept letting him get that open.
Those are pretty weak explanations for overlooking two standout performances, but at least he admits it. Congratulations to all, until next week.
Tags: all-division team, brandon banks, Dan Graziano, Darrel Young, espn nfc east blog, Fred Davis, Kory Lichtensteiger, Mike Sellers, rex grossman, ryan kerrigan, sav rocca, tim hightower, trent williams, washington redskins, week 2, will montgomery
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