Washington Redskins 2010 Year in Review: Top 10 Moments
The 2010 NFL regular season is getting ready to come to a close and, looking back on what could have been a much worse year for the Washington Redskins, I like to look at the bright side of things.
Like what happened this year or not, they did win more games than last year.
They were a sports writer's dream with plenty of controversy surrounding the organization from January through December with seldom a dry spell.
Though it can be tough to pick a top 10 anything for this organization while the season is still in play, I feel that an accurate assessment of the year can be provided without hindering the final moments of the regular season.
Without further adieu, I present my top 10 Redskins moments, good and bad, of 2010.
Honorable Mention: I'll Take That Thank You
DeAngelo Hall's four interceptions against the Chicago Bears and Jay Cutler tied the record for most interceptions in a single game.
Even more amazing was Hall intercepted all four passes in the second half.
He currently has only six interceptions for the entire season, including the four he got in the Bears game alone.
#10: Record Setting Backfield Allows a No Name to Shine
Take a look at this depth chart:
1: Clinton Portis
2: Larry Johnson
3: Willie Parker
If you played fantasy football three or four years ago and had that lineup you were nearly a lock for the playoffs before the season even began.
The Redskins current depth chart?
1: Ryan Torain
2: Keiland Williams
3: Andre Brown
One of the bright spots of a dismal 2010 season was the emergence of Ryan Torain as a potential running back of the future for the forward-looking Washington front office.
#9: Trade and Draft Lock Up The Offensive Tackle Positions
The Redskins used their early first round draft pick on Trent Williams of Oklahoma to lock up the left tackle position for years to come.
In the team's attempt to replace future Hall of Famer Chris Samuels, they also picked up Jammal Brown in a trade from the Saints.
Both tackles for the Redskins are from Oklahoma, which traditionally produces good NFL-caliber offensive linemen and the front office will certainly be using that momentum going into this offseason to shore up one of the NFL's shakiest offensive lines.
#8: Cut Him Loose, Bring Him Back, Let Him Be a Spark Plug
Looking back on the season now, it is hard to believe the Redskins cut Brandon Banks at one point.
As fortune would have it they did find a spot for Banks on the roster and the rest is return game history.
Banks became the first Redskin player since 2006 to return a punt for a touchdown against the Lions.
During his absence, due to a knee injury, the team's return game stumbled. Banks returned in super human time from a knee operation after only a couple weeks and took over duties again.
Some writer's have put Banks in the league of Josh Cribbs of Cleveland and Devin Hester of Chicago.
Is that a fair assessment of his level of talent?
Perhaps it is a bit soon to tell but one thing is for sure, the Redskins may have finally found a competent return man that they have been lacking since the days of Brian Mitchell.
#7: Cover Your Eyes Kids Here Comes G-Rex!
The last time the Redskins employed a quarterback who wore jersey No. 8 it worked out temporarily for them too.
No doubt Grossman and the Shanahans like each other considering he followed offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan from the Texans to Washington to continue to play under the same system.
Grossman's first bit of action came on the "questionable" call to bench Donovan McNabb due to "cardio conditioning" and a variety of other excuses with the game on the line against Detroit on Halloween.
While that showing did not fair too well, Grossman's more recent games have been slightly more productive.
His turnovers have cost him in the past and did again against Dallas during their second meeting on December 19, which the Redskins lost 33-30. Grossman's turnovers could be the single stat that stands out for why the Redskins lost that game.
On the flip side, Grossman's cool-headed approach in the Jacksonville game last weekend is quite possibly the reason the Redskins won in overtime.
#6: Saved Ya a Seat!
Subsequently, Rex Grossman getting the start against Dallas and Jacksonville while playing the final two minutes of the Detroit game were due to one thing...Donovan McNabb had to be benched.
McNabb was benched once during his entire career in Philadelphia and has already been benched twice in his one-year stint, I am assuming, in Washington.
Reports on ESPN.com have indicated that McNabb has been quoted that he feels "disrespected" and has asked for his release.
#5: Just Roll on Down I-95
Donovan McNabb had played his entire career for one team and one coach. A rare thing to say in any sport, in any country.
So it shocked the NFL world when the Philadelphia Eagles decided to cut ties with their future Hall of Fame quarterback and then allowed him to accept a trade in the same division with the rival Washington Redskins.
McNabb was initially welcomed in Washington and many felt he was a huge upgrade over Jason Campbell, who was then traded to Oakland.
McNabb's one season in Washington—I am assuming he will only spend one season with the Redskins since he asked for his release—was a roller coaster of ups and downs. He was brought in to be a leader and team captain.
Then he was benched due to "cardio conditioning" and other useless excuses during the final two minutes of the Lions game.
Then he received a huge new contract to follow up that benching.
Then he is benched for the final three games of the season and asks for his release after feeling "disrespected."
#4: Hold It Right There
The Redskins opened up the season against the rival Dallas Cowboys and it was a nail-biter from minute one.
The game ended on a pass to the end zone from Tony Romo that was called back due to a hold by Alex Barron on Brian Orakpo.
This appeared to be the only holding call given to Orakpo for the rest of the season, but at least that one counted big and the game ended with the Redskins winning 13-7.
#3: Oh, Danny Boy...
Apparently, after years of poking from the fans, Redskins owner Daniel Snyder finally decided to listen.
Snyder hired a new coach and general manager in January 2010 to start the year off with a bang and let the NFL know that the Redskins were making changes.
New general manager Bruce Allen had been credited for some of the success of the Oakland Raiders during his tenure there from 1996-2003. He was also credited with the reverse of the debt problems the Tampa Bay Buccaneers had accumulated due to former general manager Rich McKay.
The name "Allen" is no stranger to long time Redskins fans. Bruce Allen's father, George, coached the Redskins to their first Super Bowl appearance and for most of the 1970's. Allen's brother, also named George, is a former Virginia senator.
New head coach Mike Shanahan was no stranger to success. It seemed to follow him wherever he went. Three Super Bowl wins as a head coach and offensive coordinator cannot be argued with. Sometimes his methods are enough to make fans either tug or scratch their hair but Shanahan usually finds a diamond in the rough somewhere and is able to turn the dismal fog into a manageable haze.
#2: Take a Valium!
The Redskins are a team that brings their fans to a near panic attack or gives them anxiety problems.
They are truly a team that you have to watch every second because if you don't, you are going to miss something huge. I give the Tampa Bay game as an example.
Win or lose, do you realize how many games were decided by a touchdown or less this season? 11.
Win or lose, do you realize how many games were decided by a field goal or less? Eight.
There is still one game left to play and already half of the games in a season were determined by three points or less.
For true Redskins fans this is a shining glimmer of hope.
The Skins have been known to lose a few games here or there—I'm being sarcastic here—down the stretch in the fourth quarter once they think they have a "comfortable" lead.
But just like another team in the NFC, the Lions, the Redskins are a sneaky team that the rest of the NFL cannot fall asleep on anymore because they are quietly accumulating some talent that can win football games.
A little luck, a few horseshoes, maybe a magic genie in a bottle and the Redskins are a nine-win team instead of six.
True, this is a slide that is pretty high up the list considering it is an accumulation of all the games up to this point. So is it truly a top 10 "moment" of 2010?
Because any time that you can provide hope of good things to come, that is a shining moment.
#1: The Albert Haynesworth Saga
For Redskins fans and pretty much anyone who has taken a sniff of NFL news this season, this obviously had to be one of the slides in this presentation.
The "one man, locker room wrecking ball" Albert Haynesworth, has been drawing media attention from training camp until now.
Haynesworth was finally suspended the final four games of the season without pay.
The 100 Million Dollar Man has quite possibly played his last game in a Redskins uniform this year and based on his production this season, not many fans will miss him.
Haynesworth can be dominating in a system that supports him but he is the true "I" in "TEAM" when it comes to his willingness to work with the coaching staff.
He refused to play during passing nickel situations.
He did not want to play in the 3-4 defense at all and then he refused to play nose tackle, so he wanted to move to defensive end.
He allowed a scrambling Michael Vick to continue a play by laying on the turf after getting beaten instead of getting up and continuing towards the ball.
Haynesworth was a 100 Million Dollar distraction this year for the entire Redskins organization and according to the opinions of Kevin Sheehan and Thom Leverro on ESPN980 FM, it is possible the Redskins will bring a suit against Haynesworth to recoup some of the bonus money that was paid.