Washington Redskins: Progress Report Headed into Week 17

Brad Gagnon NFL National ColumnistDecember 27, 2012

PHILADELPHIA, PA - DECEMBER 23:  Robert Griffin III #10 of the Washington Redskins warms up prior to a game against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field on December 23, 2012 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Alex Trautwig/Getty Images)
Alex Trautwig/Getty Images

The Washington Redskins haven't been this relevant this late in an NFL season since 2007 and they probably haven't scared potential playoff opponents this much since the 1990s. It's a fun time to be a Redskins fan, and that won't change regardless of what happens on Sunday. 

But a playoff appearance in Year 1 of the RG3 era? That would be special, especially since they've fought through so many injuries and are also relying on a rookie running back for that much-needed balance. 

With only 72 hours remaining until the 'Skins play one of their most important regular-season games this century, here's our final "state of the union" style look at Mike Shanahan's team.


What They Should Be Thinking

Glass Half-Empty: Our last two wins have come against teams with losing records.

Glass Half-Full: The Browns had won three straight and Philly is much more talented than its record. Plus, three of our six wins on this current streak have come against above-.500 teams.


Glass Half-Empty: Eventually, our injuries are going to catch up with us. We've been getting by without Brian Orakpo, Adam Carriker and Brandon Meriweather on defense and won't have suspended corner Cedric Griffin for one more game as we go up against one of the hottest offenses in the league in Week 17.

Glass Half-Full: DeAngelo Hall is playing much better in the second half of the season and Josh Wilson and Richard Crawford are coming off solid performances in Philly. We're 3-0 without Griffin and Ryan Kerrigan has finally woken up in Orakpo's absence. Plus, you can't use injuries as an excuse when facing Dallas' ravaged defense.


Glass Half-Empty: Robert Griffin III lost his ability to change games with his legs when he suffered that knee injury three weeks ago. He had only four yards on two carries in Philadelphia. 

Glass Half-Full: Griffin's knee is supposed to be much better this week and should be fine for (knock on wood) the playoffs. Plus, we still scored 27 points against the Eagles and the Cowboys defense is in pretty bad shape right now.


Glass Half-Empty: Griffin's a rookie and most of our key players have never played January football. We have no idea what we're getting into.

Glass Half-Full: If we win Sunday night, our likely first-round opponent is Seattle, which is in the exact same position. We'll at least get to host that game, too.


Glass Half-Empty: We've still given up more passing yards than all but two other teams in football. Tony Romo has more passing yards than any other quarterback since Week 9. 

Glass Half-Full: The Cowboys have been known to make mistakes, so we can burn them just as much as they can burn us. We haven't had more than one turnover in a game since Week 7 and have 12 takeaways in the last six games. Since our Week 10 bye, we have the second-best turnover margin in football.


What I'm Thinking

Stock Rising (offense): Alfred Morris

The staples of this offense—Griffin, Trent Williams, Pierre Garcon, Will Montgomery—are really rising up as the 'Skins try to complete this rally, but I'm most impressed by the rookie Morris. He just keeps on trucking. I don't know where this team would be without him, but Morris came up big again in Philly with 108 yards on 23 touches. 


Stock Rising (defense): Ryan Kerrigan


Finally, Kerrigan has mustered his first multi-sack game of 2012. The second-year pass-rusher has had a disappointing season, but he might be turning a corner after recording two sacks and nine total pressures, abusing Dennis Kelly in Philly (per PFF).


Stock Dropping (offense): Josh Morgan

Only two catches for 21 yards and a dropped/deflected pass that turned into a fourth-quarter interception for Morgan, who's yet to emerge to earn the bucks he's being paid. 


Stock Dropping (defense): Stephen Bowen

He's not getting any pressure and was held without a tackle against the Eagles. You're not always going to put up numbers as a 3-4 end, but it was a tough day for Bowen. 

View last week's report here