It’s Tuesday and Week 9 has just concluded. That means The Washington Redskins have officially played half of their schedule.
At the midway point, The Team finds itself at 4-4 (just like 5 other teams) and in decent shape going into the 2nd Half of The Season.
And while the dust has settled (before heading down the stretch), now’s a perfect time to recognize the recipients of the midseason superlatives!
But before we get to that, a quick word on the 1st Half of the year.
Being 4-4 isn’t upsetting, given the circumstances. If you factor in the brutal schedule along with having to withstand an insane number of injuries, emerging with a .500 record is actually impressive.
I will point out here that Washington is the highest 4-4 team on the list (above 5-3 Tennessee). The takeaway here is that these Redskins get respect. And that respect has been well earned.
Before the year, I did post why I felt The Team would Win. And I still feel that way.
But what I couldn’t foresee was how this team would face such adverse circumstances with pluck and gritty determination.
And we just saw that pluck and gritty determination on display this past Sunday.
In a nutshell – so far, so good. (under the circumstances)
Now for the superlatives.
I broke these down into 3 categories: Team, Coaching, and Player. Up 1st are The Team notables.
Biggest Win: It would have to be the Victory in Seattle. No one thought Washington would Win that game! That was big money stuff.
Worst Loss: Falling to The Hated Rival at Home(!). It’s just pure agony. I don’t care what the circumstances were…just Beat The Rival! That one still hurts my soul. (The Team better git ’em down there.)
Most Surprising Development: Being so damn tough Defensively. I fully expected The Defense to be more of an asset, but them boys have taken their play to another level! At this point, I consider The Redskins Defense to be The Team Strength.
Most Disappointing Development (Negative): The Wide Receiver Corps. Letting Garcon and Jackson go was supposed to be mitigated by the emergence of a young and talented group of Pass Catchers. And surprisingly, that has not happened.
Highest High: Beating the shucking fit outta the Oakland Raiders. I loved everything about it! In fact, I loved it too much because that ballgame proved to me that Washington can beat anybody. And now, I expect them to go to The Playoffs and kick some ass. That game showed me how good this Team can be – and I cannot let that go.
Lowest Low: Losing to The Rivals. That Home Loss to Philly hurt like a sonofabitch too, but nothing is as awful as losing AT HOME to The Rival.
What I Like Most About This Team: Their pluck. I keep using this term because it so appropriately characterizes this Team in a single word. Plucky. These Redskins are definitely that.
What I Like Least About This Team: They don’t Win Division games. That’s the hallmark of a legitimate Contender. Teams that challenge for The Crown are fierce in their own Division. And that box has frustratingly been left unchecked. And that shit has got to stop!
Weirdest Thing About This Team: All of The Redskins Wins this year are against West Coast Teams. Weird, right? Let’s count ’em out: LA Rams. San Francisco. Oakland. Seattle. So you mean to tell me that the best ballclub on the West Coast is The Washington Redskins??? Hmph.
Miscellaneaous: The Skins have (or will play) the Division Leader of 5 of the 8 Divisions this year. Obviously The Team plays the leaders of the NFC & AFC West (because The NFC East goes head-to-head with those Divisions). And they also play inside The East. That’s 3 leaders. But since they drew New Orleans and Minnesota, that gives their Schedule an added degree of difficulty. That sucks.
Best Coach: Greg Manusky’s done an outstanding job & I’m glad we got him. But Defensive Backs Coach Torrian Gray deserves this award. If you don’t know who that is, he is the man largely responsible for this outstanding Pass Defense. Great job Coach!
Worst Coach: Ike Hilliard. This guy is The Redskins Receivers coach. And I hate to put him out there, but The Wide Receiver Corps has gone from being a perceived Team Strength going into this season to becoming a glaring Team Weakness. More damning, Terelle Pryor put up monster numbers in Cleveland last year, and then he gets to DC and can’t run routes?? What the HELL is going on Coach?
Coach Gruden So Far: I’ll be the 1st to tell anyone that Jay Gruden has Won me over. The thing I like most about him is he Wins. And I also like the fact that The Skins play hard for him. And given the murderer’s row schedule and the crippling amount of injuries, he’s done well to keep The Team treading water (while beating some quality freakin’ opponents). Yes, Jay does do dumb shit. And that does annoy me. But the bottom line is he’s The Head Coach & I support him. (I expect Playoffs this year Jay)
Offensive MVP: Chris Thompson. C’mon, who else was it going to be? He still leads The Skins in Rushing AND Receiving! ‘Nuff said.
Defensive MVP: Josh Norman. Yes, Josh Norman. When our Corners are healthy (particularly Josh Norman), teams can’t move The Ball through the air on Washington. The difference he makes to this Defense is noticeable by what doesn’t happen when he’s in The Lineup. Yup. 24 is that good.
(relax, there’s an overall Team MVP coming up)
Player Who Stepped Up: Vernon Davis. He has filled an enormous void created by the lack of Wide Receiver production. Time after time he’s been a Big Play producer for this squad. He deserves this mention.
Who Needs to Step It Up: Jordan Reed. Let’s go 86! We need ya big man. You have got to 1) stay on The Field and 2) make Plays. You’re supposed to be our Big Play guy. The Team needs those Big Plays.
Clutch Performer: Kirk Cousins. Yeah, there is a game I can think of that he wasn’t clutch in, but leading The Team down The Field in KC & making that throw was money (even though Doctson didn’t make The Play). And leading The Team down The Field to BEAT Seattle was cluuuuuuuutch. And Doctson DID make that Play. Well done Cap’n!
Biggest Surprise: Matt Ionaiddis. I didn’t think much of him coming into The Season, but this young fella is a MONSTER. WoW! Has this guy been special, or what? Color me very impressed.
Biggest Disappointment: Terrelle Pryor. Dude, it’s you. Coming into this campaign, Pryor was penciled in as The #1 Wide Receiver. Now, he’s not even starting. That’s a major disappointment, to say the least. I really hope something happens to change this state of affairs.
Most Intriguing: Montae Nicholson. This young man’s been back there at Safety laying the wood on folks! After the Su’a Cravens affair, Safety looked to be a problem (yet again) all year. But when given an opportunity, the Rookie showed flashes of brilliance. And he should be back soon.
Most Infruriating: Jameson Crowder. Boy was I wrong. I honestly thought this was poised to be Crowder’s breakout year. But all he’s done is fumble Punts, and little else. Now (as far as I know) he doesn’t even Return Punts. And that’s what he was drafted for. Get it together dawg.
Biggest Impact: DJ Swearinger. His impact, by all accounts, has been significant. While his play has been okay (he’s made plays, but Wentz sure abused him Monday Night), it’s his leadership that has resonated in DC. That cannot be overlooked, so he deserves mention.
I Can’t Believe He’s Still Here: Shawn Lauvao. Unfortunately, he has been the weak link on The Offensive Line for far too long. And as long as he’s in uniform, that continues.
Never Want Him To Go: Trent Williams. I have maintained since he took his 1st NFL snap that ole Trent is the best Player on The Team. He’s my favorite Redskin, and I hope he plays the rest of his career in a Skins Uniform.
Rookie of the 1st Half: Although he’s out for the year, it’s Jonathan Allen. Even though he hasn’t put up ridiculous stat lines, he did crush Offensive Lines. The kid is a game changer, and I hope he gets fully healthy for next year.
Honorable Mention: Ryan Grant. People crap on him all the time, but he’s made a number of clutch (and heady) plays this season. And if it weren’t for his contributions, the Pass Catching production outside The Numbers would damn near be nil. Guys like him are the difference between Winning and Losing teams.
(Quinton Dunbar deserves a mention for the exact same reasons)
Most Valuable Redskin: That’s easy. Zach Brown. This team stepped up into the big leagues the day he signed with Washington. Not only does he lead The NFL in tackles, but he spearheads our revamped (and nasty) Defense. And it ain’t just me saying it. Zach Brown is The Most Valuable Redskin of the 1st Half of The Season!
— Diehard Otis (@DiehardOtis) November 6, 2017
And that’s the list. Love it, hate it, or just want to rant?
No problem. Feel free to do so in the comments section below.