Although the injury bug has made its way to Washington and the secondary resembles that of a hole-laden cheese from Switzerland, the Redskins are still just one game under .500. Even after allowing more than 100 points through three games, winning the NFC East isn’t necessarily a forgotten memory.
While the Redskins roster wouldn’t be considered stacked, it’s also hard to deny the talent – some of which is on the rise.
The following helps to breakdown the difference between Redskins players with rising stock and those that have disappointed so far through three weeks.
Other than Robert Griffin III and a strong argument for left tackle Trent Williams, rookie running back Alfred Morris is the Redskins' most important player at this point in the season.
Morris’ 263 rushing yards rank tops amongst rookie running backs and eighth overall in the NFL. He has the third-most rushes of any back in the league and he’s tied for first with three rushing touchdowns.
But even more than the statistics, it’s Morris’ improvement from week to week. Following the Redskins’ Week 1 victory against the Saints in New Orleans, Morris admitted that he wasn't effective in finding his gaps and that he needed to do a better job in cutting upfield at the right time.
Since then, not only has Morris delivered on his promise, but he also has the look of a young man adapting to the speed of the NFL game and getting more and more comfortable with every carry.
No insider trading secrets, here. Even non-Redskins fans are starting to hear about the sixth-rounder in Washington.
Throughout the preseason, new free-agent safety Madieu Williams received praise.
Although his job wasn’t necessarily guaranteed in camp, Williams provided veteran leadership, and he was seen as an intelligent player.
Fast forward to Week 3 and Williams doesn’t look anything like the guy we saw in the preseason. So far, all we’ve seen is late reaction in coverage and poor tackling technique.
During last week’s loss to the Bengals, Williams did have a nice stop against a fake Cincinnati field goal deep in the red zone. Unfortunately, the Redskins are going to need a lot more than that.
Even with the tough loss of Brian Orakpo, the Redskins still have their best linebacker and arguably their best defensive player.
Ryan Kerrigan is that guy.
Coming through with a consistent pass rush on every single snap, Kerrigan is the engine behind the Redskins defense. Not to take away from guys like Stephen Bowen and Barry Cofield who do apply pressure up front, but Kerrigan is the disrupter.
He’s the one that opposing quarterbacks view as the agitator.
Is Orakpo a significant piece of the Redskins defense? Absolutely. And he'll be greatly missed. But take away Kerrigan and the Redskins defense is near extinct.
Based solely out of frustration regarding his injury status, newly-acquired free agent receiver Pierre Garcon makes this list.
And I'm not the only one who's concerned. Listen to head coach Mike Shanahan answer questions regarding Garcon and his nagging foot injury and the boss' frustration is obvious—so obvious that it actually makes you doubt the severity of Garcon's injury.
After forking over top dollar to bring in a speedster receiver with YAC ability, the team deserves better than this.
Garcon and Robert Griffin III built a strong and intriguing relationship over the course of the preseason and so far, through three weeks of meaningful action, we've only been teased.
Being called upon to fill in for a pass-rushing outside linebacker like Brian Orakpo is no easy task. But after an interception and touchdown last week against the Bengals, Rob Jackson has helped suspend Redskin fans' longing for Orakpo, however brief that may be.
According to Shanahan, Jackson will work with Chris Wilson and Markus White at outside linebacker to help fill the void, but Jackson seems to be the front-runner. He's solid against the run and has upside as a pass-rusher.
Coming into the season, the Redskins had big holes along their offensive line and most people knew that. After three weeks, not much has changed.
Despite his speed and ability to extend plays, Robert Griffin III cannot afford to battle constant pressure from the right side of the offensive line.
And who blocks on that side? Tyler Polumbus.
Equipped with the size and attitude to be a starting right tackle, Polumbus just doesn't have the talent. He appears slow in handling speed-rushers, and he seems overpowered more frequently than expected. And he doesn't have the agility to deal with double-moves.
Without bogus salary-cap penalties, there's not a doubt in my mind Shanahan and the Redskins would've addressed the position during the offseason. But unfortunate circumstances have led RG3 to look into a pass rush more often than not.
After finishing strong last season and looking the way he did during practice this summer, there was good reason to get excited about Leonard Hankerson this season.
Bonehead moves appear to have helped increase Hankerson's role in the Redskins offense, as a dummy play from Josh Morgan in Week 2 got him into a small amount of hot water. Not to mention, in that same game, Hankerson pulled in a very nice 68-yard touchdown pass.
Typically an overlooked aspect of the receiver position (especially in Hank's case), blocking has been one of the strongest arguments in supporting Hank and his increased role. He's a legitimate part of the running game.
In deep fantasy football leagues, picking up Hankerson isn't exactly a dumb idea.