The Washington Redskins finished Week 6 with a bang, and that is exactly what they needed. Coming off a disappointing loss in Week 5, capped off with a concussion to Robert Griffin III, the Redskins needed a win badly this week.The 38-26 victory over the Vikings, snapped an 8 game home loosing streak and brought the Redskins to an even 3-3 for the season.
With one third of the season gone at this point, the Redskins have had some notable contributors. At the same time, there have been some disappointing players, failing to live up to expectations.
This piece will explore three of the best and two worst starts to the season so far. Keep in mind that it is still early in the year, but these evaluations are reflective of the performances thus far.
Robert Griffin III has become the D.C. sensation and has made the Redskins an offensive threat in every game. While Griffin struggled and was eventually forced to leave the game last week, the injury did not linger. Griffin returned this week looking more determined than ever, and when the game was on the line, Washington put the ball in his hands, and he delivered a victory.
It should come as no surprise that Griffin's numbers to this point are very impressive: A completion percentage of over 70 percent, with over 1,300 yards and five passing touchdowns. Griffin is also a noted threat on the ground with 55 rushes for nearly 400 yards and six touchdowns.
With numbers like these, RG3 is off to a better start than many could have hoped and is surely in the early talks for NFL Rookie of the Year.
Madieu Williams may not be the first defensive player to pop into your mind for "Best Start", but he needs to be. Week in and week out, Williams has held down the safety position in a way Redskins fans have not seen for some time. Williams has emerged amongst a secondary desperate for a consistent player, and his play is beginning to pay dividends.
What Williams is most celebrated for today is his interception returned for a touchdown yesterday against the Vikings. However, Williams has been an impact player before yesterday's game with 29 tackles and five passes defended. Williams will not win Defensive Player of the Year, but his consistency has been much needed.
Alfred Morris rounds out the three Redskins off to the best starts. Interestingly, all three are new to the team. Morris joined the Redskins as a sixth-round draft pick out of Florida Atlantic University and clawed his way to a starting role. Now it seems as if the Redskins and Coach Shanahan are sticking with the rookie despite a history of switching running backs.
Morris did not accumulate too many numbers against the Vikings yesterday, but he was very much a part of the win. The Redskins consistently ran play-action, which the Vikings were forced to respect because of Morris's ability. Even with a reduced role, Morris was still able to punch it in the end zone for his fifth touchdown of the year.
The Shanahan offense is based off a consistent downhill running game and creating passing lanes off of play-action. Morris fits perfectly into this scheme and is having a better start than any could have predicted. While it is hard to see in the numbers, Morris is a big part of RG3's early success and needs to be recognized as such.
Pierre Garcon leads off the group of Redskins off to the worst starts. Garcon was the Redskins' big acquisition in free agency but so far has struggled to see the field. Throughout training camp and the preseason, Garcon was the consistent name being rumored as RG3's favorite target. At this point, RG3 would probably settle for seeing Garcon suiting up for the game.
Garcon has been sidelined by a nagging foot injury that occurred in Week 1. Since that point, he has been completely ineffective, racking up only eight catches and one touchdown through six weeks. The Redskins have been able to win despite Garcon's injury, but this is not what was expected from a $42 million contract.
Garcon has the chance to turn this season around, but he is running out of time. With only 11 weeks left, the speedy wideout needs make sure he is 100 percent healthy before he rejoins the receiving corps.
Tyler Polumbus embodies an overall problem with the offensive line; the inability to stop pass-rushers. The offensive line as a whole has done a good job creating holes for Alfred Morris. At the same time, they have done a fantastic job at leaving holes for pass-rushers getting after RG3.
Polumbus has struggled mightily this season, whether it be as the left or right tackle. Getting beat consistently by more talented pass-rushers has allowed for repeated versions of this picture, sacks. The Redskins have allowed 12 sacks this season, with 11 of those coming in the first five weeks.
The Redskins need a true right tackle, and while the offensive line as a unit has been riddled with injuries, Polumbus is not the solution. He struggles on almost every play and is a complete liability to Griffin's health. Going forward, there needs to be serious conversations about replacing this failed lineman.