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Whooah, We’re Halfway There

Posted by Brian Tinsman on November 7, 2011 – 2:38 pm

AP Image

“Livin’ on a prayer.  Take my hand, and we’ll make it I swear…”

Coincidence?  Or is Jon Bon Jovi a prophet for the Redskins season?

In all seriousness, it’s been a tough second quarter of the season stretch for this team.  After starting out 3-1 and in first place in the division, the team has gone 0-4 and is looking up at the rest of the division.

From a team perspective, there’s nothing nice to say about four straight losses.  From a goals perspective, there’s nothing nice to say about four straight losses.

But it doesn’t mean that there’s nothing nice to say.  Believe it or not, there was a lot to build on from yesterday, and these are the top three reasons:

1. Youthful additions paying huge dividends.

Yesterday, the Redskins featured seven-of-12 picks from April’s Draft, starting a season-high four freshmen.  Not only did those players contribute to the team’s successes, but they also carried the team at different junctions in the game.

Here’s the numbers that rookies put up on offense/out of the total:

Rushes: 10/15 attempts

Rushing yards: 41/52 yards

Receptions: 18/30 receptions

Rec. Yards: 139/254 yards

Here’s the numbers that rookies put up on defense:

Tackles: 9

For A Loss: 2

Sacks: 1

QB hits: 2

That’s awesome production out of a group of players that by in large were not expected to start this year.  These are building blocks that are being turned loose early, but aren’t being exposed against pro opponents.

Helu also broke the single-game receptions record for the Redskins, hauling in 14 for 105 yards, on the day.  The previous mark of 13 is shared by Art Monk (12/15/1985 against Cincinnati, 11/04/1990 against Detroit) and Kelvin Bryant (12/07/1986).  He alone accounted for half of the team’s total offense yesterday, and recorded the most receptions by an NFL rookie this season.  The last time a Redskins running back cracked 100-yards receiving in a day, was when Stephen Davis achieved that in 1998, 213 regular season games ago.

2. Special teams have found a special stride.

I will give all of my Sav Rocca bobble head figures to whomever can answer this question without looking it up: Who can name the four punters that the Redskins used in the 2010 season?

Give up?

It was Hunter ‘The Punter’ Smith, Josh Bidwell, Sam Paulescu, and even Graham Gano got in on the action.

My Rocca bobble heads are safe for another day.

A grand total of zero of those players are still punting for a team in the National Football League.  Meanwhile, noted Australian Sav Rocca is enjoying his retirement from Aussie Rules Football, by putting NFL punters on the map.  Yesterday, he had one punt downed inside the 20-yard line, giving him 17 for the season. He is tied with Miami’s Brandon Fields for the NFL lead in punts downed inside the 20.

He’s been simply outstanding this year, and is well on his way to setting a new standard for punting in Washington and in the league.

His partner in crime, Graham Gano, has exorcised his kicking demons, putting it through from 49, 50, 50, and 59 yards this season.  He has also provided a capable replacement for the Gano of yesteryear, by simply getting better this offseason.

Gano’s crowning moment came yesterday, when his 59-yard field goal to end the first half, set a Redskins’ record and a career long. The team record had previously been held by Steve Cox, who hit a 57-yard field goal vs. Seattle on Aug. 28, 1986.  With the kick, Gano became the 14th different player in NFL history to convert on a field goal attempt of 59 yards or more.

3. At least the Redskins (will soon) have their health (hopefully):

It may be disappointing, but it’s no surprise that the Redskins have struggled without their playmakers.  Members of every unit on the Redskins have missed time or played through injury this year, but the team is looking to get healthy over the next few weeks.

Without any setbacks, the Redskins anticipate the return of a fully healthy left tackle Trent Williams (who played yesterday), receiver Santana Moss, and safety Oshiomogho Atogwe in the coming weeks.  These guys each have Pro Bowl ability when they’re playing healthy, and the Redskins rely on them to perform that way.

Maybe the results don’t measure up to expectations, and maybe the team has gotten off track from their 3-1 start.  But this team has young playmakers that are already getting valuable playing time.

There’s no question that this team is going to be exciting to watch down the stretch.  And maybe, just maybe, we’ll see the birth of a new Redskins star this year.


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Posted in Uncategorized | 10 Comments »


10 Responses to “Whooah, We’re Halfway There”

  1. By richard on Nov 7, 2011 | Reply

    The season is all but done as far as the playoffs are concerned. I’d like to see the team continue to make changes to get younger. I think we look horrible but remember Shanny inherited this mess that took years to create. He has traded for a new younger team. We actually had more draft choices thanIt takes time to turn it around. Give the youth a chance to play and get better. We need a QB and depth across the board. Plating the young players now will create depth for the fututre. All teams have injuries but we have no depth. Next year we will have Jenkins back on the D line, more experience with the entire front seven, more experience along the O line… A lot more youth on this team than we have seen in three decades. It will take a little more time to gel. We have a long way to go before we look like a Green Bay team does now. Snyder should sell to the public. Maybe next year we will be much improved.

  2. By dutchnblue on Nov 7, 2011 | Reply

    So sick of hearing about next year with this organization.

  3. By win one on Nov 7, 2011 | Reply

    it takes time to make a bad team better,and that’s through the draft and smart smart picks in free agency not looking to go to the super bowl every year with old washed up players , come on Redskins nation lets be patient the defense is almost there lets see if they can get the right players next year for the offense if so we will be ready to talk championships and super bowls like the steelers ,patriots,and packers.

  4. By Bee Gee on Nov 8, 2011 | Reply

    Hey Win One… I admire your optimism, but let’s be honest here; Redskins nation has been more than patient (for God only knows how long). I’m with dutchnblue… tired of hearing “next year,” and when “next year” gets here, and they start 2-7, we’ll hear “next year” again. I’d like to get a briefing on their conditioning program. I don’t think they’re conditioned for a 16-game season. After the first four games, they were 3-1 (losing to a broken Cowboys team). I am not optimistic, because they still have to play NYG (again), Philly (again), Dallas (again), NYJ, and NE. But, I’ll be the first to blog that “I was wrong” if they turn their season around; just don’t see it happening.

  5. By BigRedSpear on Nov 8, 2011 | Reply

    So what’s your point? If you’re tired of hearing about it, then pick another team. I’m tired of listening to Redskins fans complain about this season and last season as if we had the tools to put together a playoff team. Shanahan is not a magician and he cannot just waltz in and wave a wand and create a winning roster after a couple of years. Our defense/special teams has shown major improvement over the last year – top 5 in most categories as a matter of fact. Sure it’s frustrating to watch the offense struggle to sustain drives and convert scoring opoortunities for another season, but some key injuries have contributed to that. And as far as looking at their conditioning program – what? Why? Do they look tired to you? Is it because we have so many injuries? Seems to be a pretty common theme around the league, so I’m not sure what looking at the program is going to tell you. There appears to be a pretty good crop of QBs in the draft next year and our list of needs is considerably shorter than it was last year. If you want something good now, go put a burrito in the microwave. If you want a team built to contend year after year, it’s going to take a few years.

  6. By Brian Tinsman on Nov 8, 2011 | Reply

    @BigRedSpear:

    Line of the day: “If you want something good now, go put a burrito in the microwave. If you want a team built to contend year after year, it’s going to take a few years.”
    Well played :-)

  7. By dutchnblue on Nov 8, 2011 | Reply

    Bigspear same excuse different year. Takes time to build blah blah. Rebuilding for 20 years?? How long have we needed a QB or O-Line?? A solid running back that can play a full season? You think we are gonna draft a QB this year and we will be ok? We have seen the types of quarterbacks shanny has brought in and they all stink! I don’t know what kind of sports fan you are that you can just pick another team?

  8. By JMUkid on Nov 8, 2011 | Reply

    I can understand both sides of the big picture here, change takes time vs. there has not been change in 20 years. What has really bothered me is the lack of commitment to any plan, the fans for completely understandable reasons are restless and tired of the constant poor performance and I am with you all there because my dad has been a season ticket holder since RFK. The problem to me is the second there is change we all expect a great season and when it does not work out in the short run (that microwaveable burrito) we all get frustrated and schnieder completely wipes the slate clean and we start over. The redskins need to accept that you will not have overnight turnaround success, so we all need to dig in and let Shanahan do his thing. The quarterback situation is the only thing I have been bothered about with shanny, he did not prepare for this season and had no answer for a starter when McNabb turned to bust, but I believe this offseason will be a good one for the skins. They will get the O-line back and healthy, hopefully draft a QB, address the WR problems and maybe schneider will not screw whatever else up. So to all I know its hard but we have to be patient, Hail to old DC!!!

  9. By JMUkid on Nov 8, 2011 | Reply

    Correction to my own comment, Fight for old DC. My apologies

  10. By httr!!! on Nov 8, 2011 | Reply

    hey, maybe if joe paterno is looking for a job in a few weeks, maybe he can come in as our NEW offensive coordinator, because when it comes to Mike and Kyle Shanahan, it’s unlike father, unlike son. and also, mike has to stop focusing on what he does best (finding runningbacks), and start practicing his skill with qbs.

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