Since the Redskins’ 2013 season has not been nearly as successful as it was expected to be, there are many areas that disappointed. And despite the lack of wins, there have been some pleasant surprises, as well.
Rich Tandler and Tarik El-Bashir sort out their surprises and disappointments in this week’s edition of Point-Counterpoint.
Tandler: After tight end Jordan Reed missed virtually all of OTAs and minicamp with a quad/knee injury I thought that he would struggle during his rookie season. When he missed some time in training camp I was convinced that his 2013 ceiling would be maybe 25 receptions for 250 yards and a touchdown. But he picked things up very quickly and he soon established himself as one of the favorite targets of Robert Griffin III. Despite missing the last two games and three overall, Reed is the team’s second-leading receiver with 45 catches for 499 yards. Not only that, his blocking, thought to be a real weakness in his game, has been solid. Maybe those OTAs and stuff are overrated after all.
El-Bashir: After being released and then accepting a $6 million pay cut in order to return, DeAngelo Hall has exceeded all expectations, on and off the field. The 30-year-old has returned a fumble and two interceptions for a touchdown. He also leads the team in interceptions (3), forced fumbles (3) and passes defended (10). And, by many accounts, he’s taken his role as a team leader more seriously this season. Hall has also been flagged for only three penalties, a year after being whistled for seven. Additionally, he’s only surrendered three touchdowns, often while covering the opposing team’s top pass catching threat, according to ProFootballFocus.com. Hall’s contract expires after the season, but he’s likely played well enough to earn a multi-year deal – if not here, then somewhere else.
Tandler: The return of Brian Orakpo from an injury that cost him nearly all of the 2012 season was supposed to help the whole team turn up the heat on opposing quarterbacks. Although Orakpo is having a solid season with 8.5 sacks, any extra attention paid to him in protection schemes does not seem to be helping anyone else. Ryan Kerrigan started off strong but he has just 1.5 sacks in the last eight games and none in the last five. Cornerback Josh Wilson’s two sacks equal the total of linebackers Perry Riley and London Fletcher and he’s just a half a sack behind nose tackle Barry Cofield. The timing of the 30 sacks they do have is disappointing as well. They have shown a propensity to rack up sacks in the early going but they are often unable to get to the quarterback during crunch time.
El-Bashir: In 2012, the offensive line proved to be greater than the sum of its parts. In 2013, it has taken a collective step backward, particularly in the consistency dept. The good: for the second straight season, the Trent Williams-led unit has helped the offense sit atop the league in yards per rushing play (5.0). The bad: quarterback Robert Griffin III has been sacked 19 times the past four games and 33 times on the season (that’s three more than all of last year). Griffin, without a doubt, needs to get rid of the ball quicker and more decisively, but too often he’s staring down an oncoming pass rusher before he has the opportunity. In addition, Will Montgomery, Chris Chester and Williams are among the top four Redskins in penalties. Look for some changes along the line this offseason.