Point-Counterpoint: Skins midseason report card

Point-Counterpoint: Skins midseason report card
November 11, 2011, 12:42 pm
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By Rich Tandler and Ryan OHalloran
Redskins Insiders
CSNwashington.comA solid first quarter of the season for the Redskins turned ugly in the second quarter an 0-4 record, the loss of several offensive starters for the year and young players who havent yet been up to the task.As the Redskins (3-5) continue preparing for Sundays game at Miami, Professors OHalloran and Tandler hand out their mid-season grades in this weeks edition of the wildly popular Point-Counterpoint.OFFENSERyan OHalloran: Heres the scary part the first-half grade may actually be better than the second-half grade. The Redskins offense is broke in several aspects. They cant run it because they cant get a lead. They cant throw it because, well, look at the roster. And they cant make big plays for that same reason. Searching for a bright spot, receiver Jabar Gaffney (31 catches) has exceeded expectations and left tackle Trent Williams has been more consistent when healthy. Overall, teams that go six straight games without exceeding 20 points arent getting it done.Grade: DRich Tandler: They were pretty good the first quarter of the season even though they never lit up the scoreboard. The running game was clicking, Rex Grossman was staying upright and completing passes and Fred Davis was on his way to the Pro Bowl. Certainly, in the last four games that has fallen apart for a variety of reasons. At first glance I was going to say that the performances in the first two quarters of the season balanced out to the traditional gentlemans C. But then I looked at the cold, hard numbers and they are sub-mediocre 21st in yards gained and a pathetic 27th in points scored.
Grade: DDEFENSEOHalloran: The Redskins were supposed to be better defensively because of the players added in the draft and free agency and theyre vastly improved in several areas. They have given up some big plays in the running game (4.5 yards per carry), but have had success getting after the quarterback (25 sacks) and rookie Ryan Kerrigan has been as good as projected. The only issues are missed tackles, a lack of turnovers and getting in position to use the pass rush teams have been able to get a lead and rush like crazy.Grade: B-minusTandler: As Ryan noted, the defense is playing well and it could be better if the offense could ever get them a lead to work with. As long as the other team can pound out over 30 rushing attempts per game, as they have during the four-game losing streak, the sacks and takeaways that are supposed to come in the 3-4 defense will be elusive. They could help their own cause with some better tackling and perhaps by getting a little luckierthe Redskins have only recovered five of 17 opposition fumbles. The bottom line is that being seventh in the league in points allowed despite minimal help from the offense is a darn good performance.
Grade: A-minus SPECIAL TEAMS OHalloran: After so many years of turmoil on special teams, the Redskins have been consistent this year with Graham Gano (three field goals of 50 or more yards) and especially punter Sav Rocca (41.1-yard net). The coverage teams have done their jobs well but the Redskins need to start getting a larger return from Brandon Banks. Granted, the kickoff rule has negated some opportunities but hes simply not getting it done when he actually catches the punt.Grade: B-plus.Tandler: As one who watched Antwaan Randle El let countless punts hit the ground and roll for another 10 or 20 yards, there is something to be said for Banks actually fielding the punts. Ill forgive a muff here and there and he still hasnt turned the ball over. Gano started out shaky but now he could be a true weapon if the offense could muster a few more drives past midfield. But when the offense cant move, there is Rocca, the team MVP to date with his impressive net average, 17 punts inside the 20, and zero touchbacks, to flip field position.
Grade: BYou can reach Ryan OHalloran by email at rohalloran@comcastsportsnet.com and you can email Rich Tandler at RTandlerCSN@comcast.net . Follow Ryan on Twitter @ryanohalloran and follow Rich @Rich_Tandler.