By Fred Bowen
Thursday, November 13, 2008
It's report card time.
Don't worry, I'm not talking about your report card. This is a report card for the Washington Redskins.
The Redskins had a bye week: That means they didn't play a game last week. Washington has a record of 6-3 (six wins and three losses). But the team messed up on its last test, losing to the Pittsburgh Steelers, 23-6.
So let's give out grades to the major players on the team.
Coach Jim Zorn
The Redskins' new head coach, below, has been a steady leader after replacing the legendary Joe Gibbs. The team is playing with lots of spirit and smarts and has won a bunch of close games. But I thought Zorn was supposed to be the coach who would wake up the Washington offense. The Redskins are scoring only 19 points a game. So give Coach Zorn a B-.
The team's young quarterback, below, has thrown only one interception in nine games. That's terrific.
He has also completed more than 64 percent of his passes. I know Campbell isn't perfect -- he has thrown for only eight touchdowns -- but he is one of my favorites. So I'll grade him a little easy and give him an A-.
Clinton Portis, below, is the leading rusher in the National Football League, with 995 yards. That's an A+ in anyone's grade book. Until the Steelers game, the offensive line had done a good job opening holes for Portis and protecting Campbell from pass rushers. So why are the Redskins only 25th among the 32 teams in the NFL for points scored? Even with Campbell and Portis playing well, the team's offense gets only a C+.
The Redskins defense has been the backbone of the team. It is ranked fourth in the NFL for yards gained. That deserves an A-.
Let's give extra credit to linebacker London Fletcher, below. He's short for a football player (5 feet 10 inches) and attended a small school (John Carroll University), but Fletcher is terrific. He leads the Redskins in tackles with 75. Maybe this season Fletcher will be named to his first Pro Bowl.
Shaun Suisham has made 18 of his 23 field goal attempts this season. That's pretty good. But lots of NFL placekickers are so consistent they hardly ever miss. So Suisham is at best only average for a pro kicker, and his grade is a C. The Redskins have tried two punters this season, Durant Brooks and Ryan Plackemeier, below. Neither has been very good. In fact, the team's punters are rated dead last among NFL kickers. That rates a big, red F.
Here's hoping you do much better than that on your next report card.
Fred Bowen writes KidsPost's sports opinion column and is an author of sports novels for kids. To listen to Fred Bowen talk about writing, go to http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/library/bookcast.