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Week Fourteen Grades, Evaluations, Questions

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Greetings from BBQ. We hope you are having a good holiday season.

Week fourteen is in the books and now we take a look at how the entire team fared against the Eagles. Everyone is happier this week - from coaches to players to fans and even to pets. We will try to make some sense of it all as BBQ hands out grades, evaluations and questions. Feel free to offer your own grades, evaluations, questions, and opinions.

Let’s take a look at week fourteen.

Quarterbacks:
Question: Oh, that pick six was ugly – what do you give him for a grade this week?
Answer: As we mentioned last week, he can’t do it alone. Kirk Cousins made a poor choice and a poor throw on the pick six. The rest of the game was quite good when you consider that he faced a stout defensive line and won on the road against a division rival. The struggles of screen passes to running backs needs to be corrected.
Grade: B

Running Backs:
Question: Can we now see how a good rushing attack will win games?
Answer: Robert Kelley and Chris Thompson had touchdown runs of twenty-one and twenty-five yards respectively. The Redskins had a balanced attack on Sunday. Those stats are not mutually exclusive and the game plan produced positive results in the running game.
Grade: A-

Wide Receivers:
Question: Should we still be concerned that the Eagles are very interested in bringing back DeSean Jackson next season in light of everything we’ve seen in recent weeks?
Answer: Again, the answer is a definitive no. Ask yourself a question. It is the last opportunity to play for your final contract – how would you perform? It is nice to have him at his most determined. Let another team pay Jackson for his performance in these few remaining games.
Grade: B+

Tight Ends:
Question: Was Jordan Reed used as a decoy on Sunday?
Answer: Likely so. It seems like the strategy worked. The hope is that he can continue to heal. This new and determined Reed is great to see. The old Reed would’ve been out longer. His role on Sunday seemed obvious and the game plan for him was effective.
Grade: B

Offensive Line:
Question: How nice was it to get Trent Williams back and how did Arie Kouandjio perform?
Answer: Now you can see why Williams is considered to be one of the best left tackles in the game today, perhaps the best overall. He adds stability to the line. Arie Kouandjio had a couple of mistakes, but a solid game overall. On the Chris Thompson touchdown, Williams and Kouandjio led the way and Brandon Scherff along with Morgan Moses provided excellent downfield blocking as well. A good game by this unit.
Grade: B+

Defensive Line:
Question: What grade would you give their effort against the Eagles?
Answer: Better than last week: Aggressive. Determined. Intensive. Focused. Detailed. It wasn’t perfect, but they performed much better than the two previous outings. To do so on the road against a division rival deserves respect from the pundits and fans alike.
Grade: B

Linebackers:
Question: And what grade would you give to this group?
Answer: Ryan Kerrigan and Trent Murphy (he also figures into the defensive line grade) gave spirited efforts once again and it paid dividends this time, but we can’t ignore the improved play of Mason Foster and Preston Smith.
Grade: B+

Cornerbacks:
Question: Do we give Bashaud Breeland a pass after a woeful first half and better in the second stanza?
Answer: Breeland did have a rough first half, but the touchdown was not completely on him. The OLB on that play was supposed to drop back in zone coverage and failed to do so. That being said, this experiment (having Breeland as the slot corner) deserves another week to see if it is effective. Josh Norman has his usual solid game and Quinton Dunbar improved throughout the game.
Grade: B-

Safeties:
Question: Should Su’a Cravens become the permanent starter at strike safety?
Answer: BBQ believes so and that would allow him to become a true strike and hybrid at the same time. Duke Ihenacho, a good special teams player, can’t find consistency as the strike. Neither can Donte Whitner. If the injury that Cravens has is not serious, then it is time for him to start. The hope is that Will Blackmon will be healed this week from the concussion protocol.
Grade: C+

Special Teams:
Question: Are we back to worrying about Dustin Hopkins?
Answer: No. Dustin Hopkins demonstrated why he is needed on this team the previous week. You hang on to a young kicker who has a very strong leg. Tress Way had another solid outing and the kickoff returns were very good.
Grade: B

Coaching:
Question: Well, what can we say about the coaches this week?
Answer: Let’s start with the offense. Gone were the silly penalties such as delay of game, false starts, and other mental errors. It was wasn’t perfect, but it was consistent as the number of runs and passes were nearly equal.

Let’s continue on with the defense (yes, this scrutiny deserves more than one paragraph for the second week in a row). Line play was improved and they combined with the linebackers to get four sacks. The Eagles passing attack was not as potent as the numbers suggest (a final drive padded those numbers) and their rushing attack was somewhat stymied.

Special teams continued to do well, but a missed field (not that lengthy, but not a “gimme” either) didn’t help.
It was reported that Jay Gruden went on a very loud, profanity-laden, and massively angry tirade against the team after the Cardinals game. Did the team respond or still come up a bit short against a rival that has gone 2-8 over its last ten games? Let’s put it this way. The Redskins won against a determined division foe on the road and that always elevates the grade overall by one full mark.
Grade: B+

How would you grade each position and the coaching staff? Many of you seem willing to part with Joe Barry in the offseason – Gus Bradley and Todd Bowles could be available – which one would you prefer? Did Arie Kouandjio earn a starting spot at left guard or does he need more time? How much of the upcoming draft should be spent on defense? Are you happy to have Trent Williams back? Are the Redskins still in the playoff picture? On to week fifteen. We’ll see you next week with grades, evaluations, and questions.

Hail to the Redskins!
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