I’ve been complimentary of Leonard Hankerson in the past. I’ve liked his potential and remained curious because we really haven’t seen a lot of him.
With Garcon’s foot injury appearing worse than it really is, Hankerson is going to have a heavy work load. He had a decent game and is a good downfield blocker, but there are only two plays that stick out to me.
Griffin’s deep ball attempt that Hankerson refused to dive for is one of them. I know it would have been a difficult pass to haul in, but you at least have to attempt it.
The second play is him diving a yard short of the first down marker. Those are two careless errors that could have changed the outcome of the game.
Plays like that are what put you on the bench, but, with the lack of talent amongst the receiving corps, Hankerson will continue to get reps.
Santana Moss continues to impress in limited action. He’s like the sixth man of the offense. With that being considered, I think it’s time we get more out of Santana Moss.
Josh Morgan has been decent at best, but has struggled to create separation from defensive backs. Moss appears to have regained his burst from years past and been effective in a variety of routes.
Fred Davis has had a rough 10 months or so. Last season he was having a career year until a suspension basically ruined his chances of earning a multi-year contract. Now he has a torn Achilles, thus decreasing his chances of signing a hefty contract yet again.
As we approach the midway point of the season, it appears that this new offense doesn’t need a superior tight end.
I also have to go on just a little rant. It really bothers me when Mike Shanahan goes on these tangents of what he believes to be “talent”.
Remember Shanny “staking his reputation” on John Beck and Rex Grossman? Well this year, Niles Paul was his new project.
The special teams ace transitioned from wide receiver and it’s certainly been an uphill battle. While he remains an effective special teamer, Paul looks lost on offense.
Athleticism can only take you so far, his technique has been poor and he hasn’t been creating matchup problems against linebackers.
On the other hand, Logan Paulsen is working his way to being labeled a “Redskin” (a personal favorite of mine). Paulsen has worked his way up over the past three seasons. He has made the roster as an excellent blocker and has developed a good rapport with Robert Griffin.
I call him a “Redskin” because he does all the little things that go unnoticed. He’s a “dirty work” kind of player.
Despite Paulsen’s progression, that doesn’t make him the answer at tight end with Fred Davis injured. I would expect Cooley to work his way in over time.
Trent Williams didn’t have his best game, which is understandable considering that he was matching up against the most dangerous pass rushers in the NFL.
As mentioned before, we need stellar play from the talented left tackle every single game. This will be another huge test for Williams against the Steelers pass rush.
Tyler Polumbus can be a liability in pass protection, but his run blocking has been great. Alfred Morris deserves a lot of credit for his production thus far, but Polumbus and the rest of the linemen have been certainly helpful.
Onto Alfred Morris, who would have predicted this? The rookie sixth round draft pick who was originally projected as a fullback is now the leading rusher in the NFC.
What he lacks in speed he makes up for it in power. He shows tremendous amount of patience while reading his holes and then accelerates through them.
I almost feel bad for Evan Royster. In limited action, Royster was incredible as the team’s starting running back last year and deserves to get more playing time, but Alfred Morris isn’t going to let that happen.
Even though Alfred Morris is playing at a Pro Bowl rate, I am aware of what wear and tear can do to a running back. Mixing in Evan Royster a little more would seem to be an effective scheme.
It wasn’t very successful, but I really like incorporating Darrel Young into the running game. It will make the opposing defense have to focus on yet another runner.
Young has proven before that he can be efficient in short-yardage plays, so I would expect that to continue.
Of course I have to save RGIII for last. His performance last Sunday was great as always. He threw a costly interception and fumbled, yet he still had a great game.
What I’ve noticed throughout the season is his improved ability to read his progressions. He’s making the smart plays that are needed to manage the offense. He’s been deadly accurate and he’s finally running out of bounds.
The Steelers may not have the same defense as they did in years past, but this is still going to be a major assessment for Griffin.
The Steelers send more rushers to the quarterback than any other team in the league, we’ll be seeing a lot of screens to counteract the blitz, along with other misdirection plays.
Week by week, there is continued film on Robert Griffin. I remain increasingly curious to see how defenses will play against him and how Kyle Shanahan will scheme against it.