A Fourth Quarter Farewell To 2011

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Looking strictly at the scoreboard of today’s game, there aren’t a whole lot of positives to take away.  ‘Pride games’ are supposed to end in wins–or at least near misses.  Not 24-point deficits.

But to focus exclusively on the score wouldn’t really be the story of this season.  The story of this season was–and has always been–about development.  And the best way to illustrate the development of this team is to look at how a fully healthy Redskins team fared against the Eagles in Week 6, as compared to the team that took the field today.

In Week 6, the offense managed only 245 yards and turned the ball over four times.  The Redskins had a fully-rested, fully-healthy roster take the field that day, with two playmakers at tight end, a dominant left side of the line, and zero rookies in the starting lineup.  With that team, they managed only 13 points at home.

In Week 17, the offense managed 377 yards and turned the ball over once.  The Redskins were eliminated from the playoffs weeks ago, with a patchwork lineup, including three rookies in the starting lineup.  With this team, they managed 10 points on the road.

In Week 6, the defense yielded 422 yards and had two takeaways.  The Redskins defense had a full-rested, fully-healthy roster take the field that day, with two playmaker safeties, two budding young outside linebackers, and a front seven that was leading the NFC in sacks.  With that team, they yielded 20 points at home.

In Week 17, the defense yielded 390 yards and had two takeaways.  The Redskins defense has also taken hits this season, losing both starting safeties, replacing three defenders altogether due to injury and performance.  They didn’t finish out the fourth quarter that they wanted today, but they still managed to keep the Redskins in the game until late.

The progress that the Redskins achieved on both sides of the ball, despite losing important players during the season, is not something that is reflected in the season record (5-11).  Development isn’t a consolation prize, and it isn’t anything that this team or organization wants to hang their hats on.  But when this team regroups in the coming months for OTA’s and mini camps, it’s something that will be reflected in the elevated play of the young guys on the team.  It’s something that will be reflected in various units, which now have great familiarity with one another. And for a team that isn’t going to the playoffs this year, roster development is something that can pay off for years to come.

Today was an unsung hero sort of day, so here are your unsung heroes of the afternoon:

On defense:

The danger of in-game reporting is in drawing conclusions too hastily.  For example, after the 62-yard touchdown pass to DeSean Jackson, Twitter went crazy with conclusions that Oshiomogho Atogwe’s injuries had reduced his ability to make plays, and that he was, thus far, a disappointment as a free agent.

And perhaps up to that moment, these reports were fair.  Until, on the ensuing drive, Atogwe intercepted Michael Vick for the second time this season, down near the goal line.  He then–with the help of cornerback DeAngelo Hall–returned the ball to the 30-yard line.

All of this is not to say that Atogwe has had his ideal season, but he’s played very well in big games.  Atogwe got all three of his interceptions against division opponents this season, with two against the Eagles and the other against the Giants.  The best part of his contributions to the defense, is that he’s done everything that’s been asked, including accepting and excelling in a reserve role.  His last two interceptions have come in games that he didn’t start.

On offense:

Evan Royster and Roy Helu both gave gritty performances today, with Royster rushing for 113 yards on 20 carries, and Helu catching a touchdown pass for 47 yards.

Both rookie backs had back-to-back 100-yard games to their name this season, a rarity in any organization, and a testament to their ability to step up.  Royster had to be taken to the locker room in the second half for rehydration, while Helu battled leg injuries that visibly hobbled him on his touchdown run.  But both stayed focused and active in the game, supporting each other and keying the offense.

Not bad for two rookie backs taken after the fourth round.

This was a tough day for the 2011 Redskins, but with positives that can allow them to march forward into 2012.  Will this team be able to get healthy and capitalize on the development and maturation of the players in the scheme?  Unfortunately, we’ll have to wait nine months to find that out.  But from the 300 level of Lincoln Financial Field, I think the Redskins will find their stride in 2012.

That’s all from Philadelphia on this New Year’s Day, as the Redskins fall to the Eagles, 10-34.  Here’s wishing everyone a happy and healthy new year.

0 thoughts on “A Fourth Quarter Farewell To 2011

  1. OK what now?
    I started out the season very optimistic as all long time Redskin fans did–Just to crash and burn like so many bygone seasons, I wish I had a solution, the only solution i see is NEW Quarterbacks and new talent on the Defensive side and a great runningback. oh well, it”s just a game:-(


  2. There’s a lot of ways to go from here @ #6 [we ARE at #6 in this upcoming draft, right?].

    One would be:

    1 – QB, 2 – R-OT, 3 – SS, 4 – FS, 4 – OG, 5 – C, 6 – WR, 6 – RB, 7 – SS-ILB, K-FA

    a second

    1 – WR, 2 – R-OT, 3 – QB, 4 – SS etc.

    Another, trade down and get an extra third round pick, then

    1 – NT, 2 R-OT, 3 – QB, 3 – SS, 4 FS, 4 – OG, 5 – C, 6 – WR, 6 – RB, 7 SS-ILB. FA – K.

    A fourth, keep trading back like they did last season and land a truck-load of young talent once again, add a couple decent FA;s including a K, and let the QB situation take care of itself.

    LOT of ways to go here. let’s get crackin’.


  3. As I said, the Skins would “lay an egg” against Philly. You guys have some good takes on what the Skins “should” do with the upcoming draft. Unfortunately, none of you guys are decision-makers, so the Skins’ management will do the exact opposite. Even if we pick up Flynn in free agency, I’ll bet he wouldn’t give the Skins the numbers he gave the Pack today. I’m not looking forward to next season, because I’m tired of saying “we’ll get ’em next year.” I don’t like sounding like a broken record, so what I’ll do is get excited about the remaining college bowl season and the 2012 college football season. If the Skins should make it past the wild card game, I’ll start watching them. But I guess I shouldn’t feel as bad as those who spend hundreds (maybe thousands) of dollars each year on tickets & merchandise. I joked last month about relocating the team to Canada and calling them the Montreal Hilltoppers or something. It wouldn’t bother me at all if they relocated (that’s no joke). Our NFL/NBA/NHL/MLB teams all suck. The only team (in the araa) playing with any kind of dignity is the Baltimore Ravens, so I wish them all the best in the playoffs.


  4. Something is inherently deeply wrong with this organization especially since Snyder arrived. San Fran and Detroit in the playoffs and Detroit just a couple of years removes from an 0-16 season..the Bengals in the playoffs. What happened to this team after Gibbs left the first time ? I don’t have an easy answer. But we got to stop blaming the QB for everything. Grossman managed to lead the Bears to a Superbowl…Hmm maybe he had better coaching and a team arounf him ? No answer for that, but we let Stan Humphries go and he had a good career at S.Diego leading them to the superbowl. Gannon became an MVP and led the Raiders to a SB, Brad Johnson won a Superbowl with TB. Trent Green had a good career with KC. Desmond Howard won a SB MVP and title with GB. Joe Gibbs won 3 Superbowls with 3 different QB’s and only Theisman really had a good career. Doug Williams wasn’t much except one year in TB, Rypien had a great Superbowl year a year after people were screaming for his heah in Washington, then nothing… It isn’t necessarily the QB’s fault people. Look at Alex Smith in San Francisco. Bengals have a rookie QB right ? Something inherently wrong in the coaches and coaching staffs we hire..Look how Gibbs gave up in his 2nd tour ? Comes in gets our hopes up then runs out on us. Same teams in the playoffs year after year mostly, Pitts, Ravens, GB, Patriots, etc…Hmmm could it be their owner/organizations ? Patriots and Packers have really bad defenses…yet….there they are..in the playoffs, and the Giants and Cowboys, fighting for the NFC east every year.. Some of you have so little to say you got to come on here and belittle the Cowboys. I would have enjoyed being in the position to win the division the last game. I dislike the Giants more than the Cowboys, here is a team we beat TWICE (2 out of the 5 wins) that is the division winner…If they win the superbowl they won’t care about those 2 losses. If we had beaten Dallas and Phily just once each we could have been right there. Last time we played the Packers I think we beat them, you think the Packers care about that ? I’m sick and tired of losing, more than that I’m sick and tired of being a losing organization. Proud ? Go back and count the number of winning seasons we have had since the merger folks..Proud of what.. George Allen, Jack Pardee, and Gibbs. Just about the only coaches with winning records. I believe since 1992 that we have 3 post season appearances and only 4 winning seasons


  5. Well yeah, Brian. All that’s true. And the coaching may be suspect. But we’ve got to get the players we need to run their system and see it they’re lousy coaches. After this upcoming draft and next season, 2013 will give us the answer we need.

    My ONLY concern is that players will lose heart before then. Today’s Richmond Times Dispatch quoted BARRY COFIELD as saying, ” I don’t want to go through this losing AGAIN.” That is disturbing.


  6. FA’s to consider:

    C – Scott WELLS [GB]. Fairly young at 30 and healthy with six year’s experience. Moderate price for a Pro Bowler, probably 5 per and 5. The center position must have an upgrade over ERIK COOK. Sooner or later WIL MONTGOMERY is going down with an extended injury. Adequate fill-in is essential. to future success If i were ALLEN, I’d go after him hard.

    NT – Aubrayo FRANKLIN [N.O.] If ALLEN doesn’t want to spend a top pick on a NT, he could go hard after FRANKLIN in FA who was only given a one-year contract by the SAINTS whilr they hope to extend him for a mult-year deal. He’s still relatively young at 31 with a minor injury history, but is obviously looking for a big payday and long-term deal. He, NEILD, and COFIELD could rotate at the position with BARRY sliding over to DE to spell BOWEN in the 3 front d-line and supplant SCOTT.

    Securing these two FA’s would go a long way to stabalizing the lines while freeing picks to use at WR, or TE if DAVIS is not re-signed. I suspect he may not be. Just a hunch of course.

    That would leave us free to use picks at QB, R-OT, OG, WR, TE, RB, SS, FS, CB, and SS-ILB.

    GANO is a RFA, and his kicks don’t pop sufficiently as they cross the line of scrimmage. His accuracy is suspect as well, but he certainly can deliver distance. We need a competant over-all kicker however.

    Re-sign FLETCHER, CARRIKER, and HIGHTOWER and forget having to deal with the DE and RB slots in this draft.

    SS LaRON LANDRY is more problematic. A re-sign may be accomplished due to lack of interest elsewhere because of injury history especially now. A re-signing does not eliminate the need for a SS pick in this draft however. How high that need is depends on what FA’s come and go, and what draft probabilities hold. I would say no lower than third round.


  7. At 11-21, Mike Shanahan’s two year record is worse than both Spurrier and Zorn. He is officially the worst coach we’ve had in a decade. I have no faith in him. I’ve been a diehard fan since 87 and i’m saying this… if either of our current quarterbacks are here next year, i’m done. I’m sick of this mess! I would rather have Jason Campbell than those two clowns! He got better every year and these two bozos got WORSE! The Rex experiment was pointless because he was the same guy he was in Chicago. Our coach flipped a double-sided coin and was confused when it kept ending up tails.


  8. OMG !!!!!!!!! Brian I give you credit for hanging in there all season with the optimism but the end is EXACTLY as I & others called it after the MASSACRE of the skins by philly in their first meeting in fedex. I & others have figured out SNIDER long before this year debacle cause I have been a skins fan since 1968 & KNEW after the first 3 yrs. what SNIDER was trying to do —- TOO MUCH MONEY to WASTE on NEAR BUSTED or WASHED UP PLAYERS yr. after yr. after yr. SNIDER needs to keep making a bunch of $$$$$$ to invest in the REDSKINS but keep his mouth shut about the important decisions to be made about players ABILITY, POTENTIAL, & SKILL LEVEL & DRAFT PICKS !!!!!!!!!!!! & include the coaching staff also !!!!!!!!! lol
    OH YES——- MY SECOND TEAM ALMOST MADE PLAY-OFFS!!!!!!! remeber the raiders Brian ??????????????? C-ya next yr.


  9. redskin fan since 1954 thats right eddie lebaron ralph guglielmi norm snead sonny jurgenson etal am more discourage an disheeatened at the skins prospects than all those 57 yearsn case no one has figured it out or is afraid yo say it REDSKINS WILL NEVER BE A WINNING FIRST CLASS ORGANIZATION AS LONG AS DANIELSNYDET IS OWNNER=IM POPPA RONN AND THATS WHAT ITHINK


  10. Hi popparon, Like your comment But just wondered why Dan Snyder would not want his franchise to be a Winning organization? He appears he has opened up his pocketbook to any need the Redskins has to no avail–I don’t thank you can fault the owner.



    Faulting the owner has been popular in D.C. over the past decade plus, and succinctly valid in my book. Now if he keeps hands off during our darkest hour and let’s ALLEN – SHANAHAN build a winner, I’d say take off the heat.

    By the end of 2013, we’ll know what’s up with the owner and his new puppets. I don’t expect to see SNYDER step in and can the new management before then.

    After all, SHANAHAN said all along the rebuild was a five year prop. I don’t think he really believed it though until mid-season this year.

    After last draft however, I’m encouraged. Once SHANNY tells BRUCE the types of player’s he needs, I have confidence in ALLEN to deliver most of the essentials in FA and this draft.

    BTW, POPPARONN, I’ve been a SKINS fan since SAMMY BAUGH threw his last TD pass, and EDDIE LeBARON was the heir apparant. That’s right 60 years, Dec. 14, 2011.


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