It’s very easy to focus on the bad things that happened to the Redskins in 2011, but there were some good things too. Right from the beginning, everytime something made fans happy, something awful ruined our enthusiasm. We started out the season by getting rid of two team cancers, Albert Haynesworth and Donovan McNabb. Neither one ever belonged on our team, and they performed like it. Every ‘Skins fan was excited to see them go. Conversely, we released one of our team leaders, Philip Daniels, and watched in horror as promising rookie Jarvis Jenkins tore his ACL in a preseason game. As the regular season began, we were riding high after destroying the Giants and watching a beautiful game-winning touchdown pass from Grossman to Moss take down the Cardinals in week 2. Then came Dallas week. A perfect start to the season was ruined by our defense letting the Cowboys convert a 3rd and 21, which led to the winning field goal, followed by a Rex Grossman fumble as we tried to come back. Our hearts were broken.
Over the next thirteen games, we went 3-10. Inconsistent quarterback play is mostly to blame for our collapse, but lots of blocked and missed field goals, questionable play-calling, blown assignments in the secondary, dropped passes, and whiffs by our o-lineman didn’t help matters. In that stretch, however, we discovered a couple of potential offensive stars. Leonard Hankerson, our 3rd round draft pick, had his breakout game against Miami, recording eight catches for 106 yards. Sadly, he finished that game with a season-ending hip injury, but he looks to be a huge part of the Redskins offense in the future. Fourth round pick, Roy Helu, broke out against the 49ers, and was stellar for the rest of the season, putting up over a thousand combined rushing and receiving yards and three touchdowns. He was the first Redskins rookie to rush for at least 100 yards in three straight games. Another rookie running back, Evan Royster, started the last two games, recording over 100 yards rushing in each one, and finishing the season with an impressive 5.9 yards per carry. Four other rookies, Mo Hurt, Niles Paul, Chris Nield, and Dejon Gomes, showed promise as they gained valuable playing time towards the end of the season. Our star rookie, however, was Ryan Kerrigan. He finished the season with 63 tackles, 7.5 sacks, 4 forced fumbles, and a pick six. It’s gonna be fun watching him terrorize quarterbacks around the league for the next several years.
There were other embarrassments this year like Trent Williams and Fred Davis getting suspended for substance abuse, DeAngelo Hall getting burned by Dez Bryant in both games against the Cowboys leading to game-winning field goals, Rocky McIntosh sneaking out of the team hotel on New Year’s Eve after curfew like a teenager, Brandon Banks forgetting how to kneel down, and Mike Shanahan’s first shutout to name a few. There were also more positives like the play of free agents Barry Cofield and Jabar Gaffney, our first sweep of the Giants in twelve years, London Fletcher still kicking ass, and securing the sixth pick in the 2012 NFL Draft. We SHOULD be able to grab an elite quarterback, and start building this team back into a winner. Here’s hoping that Bruce Allen and Mike Shanahan follow through with it!!