Washington Redskins: The Under(rated) and the Over(rated)
This slideshow will highlight players on the Washington Redskins who I feel are overrated and underrated. While most will not agree with my selections, I stand by them.
I focus on players who have spent at last one season with Redskins. If I would have done this last season the overrated portion would have been way too long (Colt Brennan, Antwaan Randle El, Fred Smoot, Jason Campbell), so thank goodness I did not do this then.
Underrated: London Fletcher
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Where do I begin? In his 12-year career, Fletcher has amassed 1,458 tackles and a Super Bowl ring. Also, he has never missed a game in his career.
Fletcher has always played well, been a steady, consistent force on the field and led by example. He will be, at the very least, a candidate for the Hall of Fame one day.
Standing at only 5'10" from John Carroll University, he made the St. Louis Rams as an undrafted free agent. He won a Super Bowl there and established himself as a top defender in the league.
Unfortunately, he is still underappreciated around the league. In Washington he is the unquestioned leader of the defense, and some would argue the whole team. Listen to these quick notes on his career. Fletcher has led his team in tackles for 11 consecutive seasons (1999-2009), tallied more than 100 tackles in each of the past 11 seasons and has totaled the most tackles in the NFL this decade (1,244).
Despite all these accomplishments, Mr. Fletcher made his first pro bowl last season (as an alternate). He is all over the field, always making plays. I could go on.
He belongs on the All-Underrated Team for NFL.
Underrated: Phillip Daniels
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Another important piece to the Redskins defense that cannot be measured just in statistics is big Philip Daniels. Entering his 14th NFL season, Daniels has been with Washington for five seasons. He is known as an excellent run defender and seems like a natural fit to play end in a 3-4 defensive alignment.
Daniels is respected by everyone in the locker room and has taken on a type of spokesmen role on behalf of the players. He made controversial comments in the offseason regarding Albert Haynesworth and has also made himself available to Redskins fans on ExtremeSkins, where he has taken time to answers questions from diehards.
While his sack numbers have dropped off in the latter stages of his career, he has been an integral part of the defenses success the past five years and he will continue to be so in 2010.
All Redskins fans remember his four sack performance against Dallas in 2005, which pretty much signaled the end of Drew Bledsoe’s career in Dallas.
Underrated: Lorenzo Alexander
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Lorenzo Alexander is switching positions this year from defensive line to outside linebacker. Last season he switched from offensive line to defensive line. So if we follow the pattern he will probably go back to offense and become a tight end next year.
Regardless of where coaches have asked him to line up, Alexander has always played well and without complaint. He is an excellent special team’s player who finds himself involved in a number of big hits each season (see photo above).
Entering training camp he was neck-and-neck with Andre Carter for the starting outside linebacker spot, but it looks as though Carter will be atop the depth chart come Week 1. That may have more to do with Alexander’s increased role on special teams than the fact that Carter is that much better at the position.
Underrated: Rocky McIntosh
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While his statistics are not eye-popping, Rocky McIntosh is a pretty dependable player. Despite a history of knee injuries, McIntosh has no discernable weaknesses when he is on the football field; he is a very good tackler who makes the plays that are in front of him.
He is now the fourth member of the Redskins defense that I have listed as being underrated and it is because the entire defense had been underrated and underused the past few seasons. When I say underused I mean that former defensive coordinator, Greg Blache played man coverage on almost every down and rarely took chances. The defense still managed to finish in the top third in the league most seasons. Without a good offense controlling the clock or scoring points the defense probably overachieved the last few years, which speaks to the individual talent of the players.
This season McIntosh is switching to inside backer next to Fletcher in the 3-4. Ninety plus tackles is a very likely possibility for McIntosh in 2010. I expect the defense overall to finish in the Top 10 in the league.
Underrated: Chris Cooley
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Some may say that Cooley is not underrated, but I say he is. After a foot injury ended Cooley’s season prematurely last year, there was speculation among the fan base that he should be traded. With the emergence of Fred Davis in the second half of the year fans thought Cooley was expendable.
Fact is Captain Chaos is not expendable. He is a very valuable piece to the Redskins puzzle. He is a Pro Bowl-caliber tight end who is exceptional at gaining yards after the catch and has very good hands.
What cannot be discounted is that Cooley is a fan favorite in Washington. While the NFL is a business and players come and go, it would be wise of the Redskins to keep Cooley for the foreseeable future. Just eight months ago the fan base was in the midst of a tailspin unlike anything the franchise had seen in its history. Fans were sick of the crap, the prima donnas and Vinnie Cerrato. Everyone loves Cooley!
In 2008, his last full season, Cooley totaled 83 receptions for 849 yards while playing for a below average offense and earned a second Pro Bowl trip. After a limited number of preseason snaps it is clear that Cooley will be a big part of the Redskins passing game this year.
With a sad looking receiving core and an offensive line that still has lots of questions marks, Cooley will need to make big thins happen in 2010.
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Looking over the Redskins' roster, it is sad to say not many players are highly rated. I have found five that are at least rated highly in the eyes of some people around the league. Bare with me, for one or two of them you may laugh at the thought of them being rated highly.
Overrated: Carlos Rogers
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The guy simply cannot catch. He also finds himself on the wrong end of bad penalties time and again. Whenever he makes a mistake it is magnified by a big play. You know how some players have a knack for being in the right spot at the right time (Darren Sharper)? Carlos Rogers is the opposite; he has only six interceptions in 66 career games.
He was drafted ninth overall in 2005, two spots ahead of DeMarcus Ware and Shawne Merriman.
Overrated: Albert Haynesworth
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The epitome of all things wrong with the Cerrato era. You know why.
Overrated: Mike Sellers
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He is a physical monster; he fits the mold of a traditional fullback and has helped Clinton Portis to become the Redskins second all-time leading rusher. These are all facts. Mike Sellers can play football and I am glad he is on the Redskins.
Yet many still believe he is an All-Pro player and I just do not see it anymore. He looks slower than he used to be, the explosive blocks and collisions fans grew accustomed to seeing have been missing in recent seasons and his play has been getting progressively worse the past two years.
I know he rarely runs the ball, but five fumbles on 46 career carries is pretty bad.
He is still the team's best option at fullback, but Shanahan and Co. drafted a FB/TE in Dennis Morris and converted linebacker Darrel Young to fullback in hopes of adding depth to the position. Morris has been traded but Young made the final 53 as a backup fullback. Sellers just turned 35 years old. There are only so many more snaps before Washington needs to find a suitable replacement or upgrade for Big Mike.
Overrated: Devin Thomas
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This guy is getting drafted in fantasy football leagues. God help them.
Devin Thomas has been blessed with the speed, size and power to be an elite wide receiver in the NFL. He also has the desire to be an NFL diva and give himself a nickname. The only problem is that he is listed as the Redskins' fifth wide receiver. He is overrated in his own mind. In 30 career games he has 40 catches, and it is up to the Shanahans and Thomas himself to stop the “bust” train before it is too late.
He will most likely start the season at the team’s primary kickoff returner and play receiver sparingly. Hopefully, he will love up the depth chart, stop dropping passes and live up to his draft status (34th overall, second receiver drafted).
The potential is there, but let's see if the coaches can make him into a professional football player that prepares, contributes and makes more plays in 2010.
Overrated: LaRon Landry
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This is the toughest out of the slides because I believe that LaRon Landry's bad season in 2009 was not even half his fault. He is a strong safety and played 30 yards deep every play. Being the sixth overall pick gives you little room for error. He made a lot of errors in 2009, most notably the double move by Robert Meachem that made me want to throw up, allowing the Saints to tie Washington late in the fourth quarter.
This year expect Landry to rebound and have his best season of his career. Until that actually happens he is considered overrated because of just how bad he looked at time in 2009.