Redskins get a grim mid-season report card


Coach Mike Shanahan yells at a call against the San Francisco 49ers at FedExField on Nov. 6 in Landover. The 49ers won, 19-11. (Patrick Smith/GETTY IMAGES)

Kids around Washington are nervous because they’re getting their report cards in school. But why should kids be the only ones to get grades?

It’s halfway through the National Football League (NFL) season, so let’s give the Washington Redskins a report card.

The Redskins should be very nervous. The team’s record is 3-5 (three wins and five losses), and I’m not an easy grader. If a coach or player is average for the NFL, I give them a C.

Head Coach: D

Mike Shanahan is in his second year as the Redskins’ head coach. He has changed lots of the players, getting people he said would fit his system. The Redskins are his team now. Shanahan’s record with the Redskins is 9-15. That’s below average, so Shanahan gets a D.

Quarterbacks: F

The Redskins have tried two quarterbacks: Rex Grossman and John Beck. Grossman is ranked 33rd of the 34 rated NFL quarterbacks. Beck is only slightly better, at 31st. They have combined to throw 13 interceptions.

Grossman and Beck may be nice guys who try hard, but they are not good enough to be starting NFL quarterbacks.

Offensive Line: D

The offensive line has two jobs: Open holes for the running backs and protect the quarterback. The Redskins’ line has not done either job very well. The team has problems moving the ball on the ground, and the Redskins’ quarterbacks have been sacked 24 times.

Coach Shanahan had better draft some offensive linemen. The Redskins’ line needs help.

Runners and Receivers: D+

The Redskins’ runners have looked good at times. But they keep getting hurt.

Great receivers are everywhere in the pass-happy NFL. Big, strong guys including Calvin Johnson (Detroit Lions) and small, fast players such as Wes Welker (New England Patriots) pile up yards and score touchdowns. The Redskins don’t have any wide receivers who are close to those stars. One bright spot has been tight end Fred Davis, whose 40 catches for 559 yards deserves a B+.

Defense: C+

The Redskins’ defense has played very hard to keep the team and its struggling offense in the game. Linebackers Brian Orakpo and Ryan Kerrigan are A students who will be stars for years to come. Still, the Redskins do not have a top NFL defense. They have trouble stopping the run and give up too many long drives. They are better than last year’s defense but are only a little above average.

The Redskins have some tough teams, including the Jets, Giants, Patriots and Eagles, left on their schedule. At the beginning of the season, I predicted the Redskins’ final record would be 6-10, but I hoped I would be wrong. I hoped they would be better.

Now, I just hope I’m right.

Fred Bowen will be appearing at a father-and-son tailgate party at Politics and Prose Bookstore in Washington on Sunday from 4:30 to 6 p.m. Call 202-364-1919 for more information.

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