With the calendar reading July 5th and firecrackers being swept away from neighborhood corners, it’s time to get back to football— more importantly, the Washington Redskins.
Last year, the Redskins were one of the most underrated teams in the league as most previews predicated that another year tacked onto the team’s playoff drought was more certain than hot weather in the heart of summer.
Speaking of underrated, the 2012 NFC East crown would have never landed in our Nation’s Capital if it weren’t for two of the five most undervalued players in franchise history.
Let’s take a look at which stars made the “cut”.
To prep you for the impending two-a-days later this month, NFL.com has been analyzing two teams a day to bring you their all-time most underrated and overrated players.
Khalil Garriott (an apparent Redskins fan as he refers to the team/fanbase as “we”) gives you the lowdown on the Redskins bunch.
First up—London Fletcher.
When the Redskins signed No. 59 back in 2007 after splitting the first nine years of his career between St. Louis and Buffalo, they knew they were getting a consummate professional who somehow, someway was constantly overlooked come Pro Bowl selection time.
Even though he now has four-straight all-star game appearances under his belt, the man who went undrafted in 1998 still doesn’t get the “looks” that he should.
“He puts it all on the line each week, playing one of the game’s toughest positions, and he’s the ultimate team player. Without Fletch, the Redskins defense would be without a true leader and the NFL would be without a total class act. Here’s to hoping Canton comes calling for Fletcher someday.”
I’d love to add to that, but Garriott stated what we are all thinking—it’d be a shame if he didn’t.
Next up is a man who went nearly undrafted and has been a hot topic in recent weeks in underrated, and certainly underappreciated talks—Alfred Morris.
While NFL.com (No. 64) and Pro Football Talk (No. 83) have the Redskins’ single-season rushing record holder in the bottom half of their top-100 players list of 2013, Garriott knows Washington has something special in the second year back.
“It’s much too premature to write the story of Alfred Morris‘ NFL career. Still, doesn’t it feel like he’ll go his whole career without getting the national attention he deserves? Redskins Nation knew we struck gold when Morris, a sixth-round pick last year, nearly hit the 100-yard plateau and scored two touchdowns in his debut. He seemed to get better each week during the 2012 season. An amazing campaign culminated in the regular-season finale against the hated Dallas Cowboys, against whom Morris toted the rock 33 times for 200 yards and three touchdowns. You can make the argument Morris deserves as much credit as RGIII for the Redskins winning the NFC East.”
Speaking of backs that never got the attention they deserved, how about Ladell Betts?
Sure he wasn’t Clinton Portis in terms of flashiness, but whenever No, 26 needed a breather, the 56th overall pick in the 2002 NFL Draft did whatever it took to help spill the two-time Pro Bowler.
And of course lead the Burgundy and Gold to victory.
Halfway through the 2006 season after Portis suffered a broken hand injury and was placed on IR, Betts had his first (extended) opportunity at a start gig.
“He had a career season in 2006, when he started nine games in place of Clinton Portis, totaling 1,154 rushing yards and catching 53 passes for 445 more yards that season. His versatility as a lead runner and a receiving threat out of the backfield earns Betts a place on this list. I always appreciated the speed and power with which he hit the hole on his carries.”
While the former University of Iowa star is only ninth on the team’s career rushing list, he did something that no other running back in franchise history has done—ever.
“Did you know that Ladell Betts is the only running back in Redskins history to record consecutive 150-yard rushing games? You do now.”
Enjoy stumping your know-it-all friends with that little tidbit.
Also–there must be something about No. 46.
Monk, who holds eight NFL records, is usually (for reasons unknown) held out of greatest receiver in history talks.
“It’s sad that some remember Monk more by the lack of appreciation he got than by the incredible, consistent production he put up in the NFL. Depending which theory you subscribe to, it’s a shame he got overlooked because of politics, media members playing favorites, his quiet off-field demeanor or not always dominating a game due to the other offensive talent around him. After seven straight years as a finalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame, the great No. 81 finally got his rightful call from the Hall in 2008.”
No. 28, on the other hand–well even though fans outside of Redskins Nation give credit where credit is due, it never hurts to call him underrated.
“Not only was Green the NFL’s fastest man, his career was the model of consistency. ‘Mr. Redskin’ had 1,159 career tackles, 54 interceptions (most in team history) and eight touchdowns from his cornerback spot, and he could dazzle as a punt returner, too. It seems borderline criminal that he made only seven Pro Bowl back when they used to mean something. Off the field, Green always has been a stand-up guy. He’s always been genuine and approachable in his dealings with me and with the community at large. Perhaps because he didn’t play an offensive ‘skill position,’ Green probably didn’t get as much glory as he deserved.”
CHIME IN: Who would you add to the team’s all-underrated team? Let us know below.
Tags: Alfred Morris, art monk, darrell green, ladell betts, london fletcher
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