This post may only interest you if you are also a Redskins fan, I don’t know. But I wanted to warn you right off that bat that this post is located deep into “homer” territory. You’ve been warned.
Two-thousand and eleven is an exciting time to be a Redskins fan. While it’s great to see Kyle Shanahan and Rex Grossman (8) working together to make a solid offense, there is precedent for a new quarterback to start off looking like an all-pro for their first four games, only to fall back to earth as defenses have enough tape to figure out how to stop them. For example, look at the ridiculous run to the playoffs in 2007 led by Todd Collins. Not that I expect the Rex Cannon to fall off suddenly, but the similarities are uncanny.
No, the most exciting addition to this year’s team is #91 on defense. I’d like to thank whoever made the decision to trade down in the draft AND pick Ryan Kerrigan, the so-far defensive rookie of the year. I hadn’t even heard of him when they called his name on draft
day. But between him and fellow outside linebacker Brian Orakpo (98), the Redskins have two pass rushers that can’t be blocked one-on-one consistently, and it’s made a huge difference for the whole difference. The team also signed defensive tackle Barry Cofield from the Giants, and looking at his numbers in the Football Outsiders Almanac, (he took part in 7.3% of his teams plays, winning 11 “defeats” and 42″stops” out of his 56 plays). Those aren’t Haloti Ngata numbers, but they’re surprisingly close (Ngata: 8.5%, 16, 56, 67). I’ve noticed former first-round pick Adam Carriker (94) making more plays than I’ve seen since he’s been playing for Washington.
Anyway, what all that means is that this is the best Redskins team I’ve seen since the last time they won a playoff game in 2007. I want to say this team is different that all those other teams since then. That this team is more like that 2005 team, the one that missed a first-round bye on a bogus Mike Alstott non-touchdown against Tampa Bay, and less like the recent Redskins teams that show just enough promise to be disappointing when they inevitably collapse, and the only silver lining all those years was that they opened up more Sundays for me to go skiing.
Washington plays Philadelphia this Sunday. I never bet on the Redskins because my emotions cloud my judgment too much. And the Eagles offense seems to be 1) offensive line breaks down, and 2) Michael Vick (7) eludes everybody and makes a play anyway. The Redskins will have to stop him from doing that either in the backfield or in coverage. If Kerrigan & co can do that, it should be good enough for a win.