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2015 Season Grades, Evaluations, Questions

The 2015 season is in the books and now we take a look at how the entire team fared against all of their opponents. The Redskins had a topsy-turvy season, but finished strongly with four straight wins. The result was winning the NFC East, but the team did not advance past the first round of the playoffs. It was an eventful year with plenty of highs and lows. So now it is time to make some sense of it all as BBQ hands out grades and evaluations for 2015. Feel free to offer your own grades, evaluations, and opinions. Also, we have some questions to close out the 2015 season. Two other notes: BBQ will do a self-evaluation of season predictions for the 2015 season tomorrow. Next week we will activate the offseason edition of BBQ with looks at free agency and the draft.

Let’s take a look at the grades.

The first six games of the season was a mixed result as Kirk Cousins took over the play calling duties. The final eleven games of the season saw a quarterback who was simply on fire (with a couple of exceptions). The Robert Griffin, III era was over. The numbers turned out to be gaudy and impressive at the same time. Records were broken. A division crown was earned. Is he the franchise quarterback of the future? Only time will tell.
Grade: B

Running Backs:
Running back duties were shared by Alfred Morris, Matt Jones, Chris Thompson, and Pierre Thomas. The first two games were impressive. With the exception of a game or two, this unit was unimpressive after those early games. Morris had his lowest totals as a Redskin. Matt Jones demonstrated flashes of brilliance, but did have a case of fumblitis early in the season. Chris Thompson did an admirable job as a third down back.
Grade: C-

Wide Receivers:
Let’s start with the rookie, Jamison Crowder. He had a spectacular season and appears to have the slot position nailed down for the next eight to twelve years. Pierre Garcon had another solid season with seventy-two catches and six touchdowns. He’s a savvy veteran who works hard all the time. DeSean Jackson was a participant for eight games only (we’re not counting the first game), but did produce thirty catches and 528 yards. The remainder of this group included Andre Roberts, Ryan Grant, and Rashad Ross in limited roles.
Grade: B

Tight Ends:
Jordan Reed set new team records in dramatic fashion. He is largely credited with having the finest route running skills in the league. As Jordan Reed goes, so go the Redskins in the 2015 season. A hodgepodge of characters served as backups and had mixed results.
Grade: A-

Offensive Line:
For much of the season this unit was solid in pass protection and lacking in the running game. On the right side, Morgan Moses and Brandon Scherff proved to be a formidable tandem and could have the right side locked down for the next decade to twelve years. Kory Lichtensteiger struggled this season and missed some time to injury. His replacement, Josh LeRibeus, struggled early and was able to improve down the stretch. Injuries limited Trent Williams later in the season and Spencer Long was simply a placeholder.
Grade: B-

Defensive Line:
There were times when the defensive line was dominant and games where they all but underperformed. Chris Baker had his best season thus far. Terrance Knighton basically did his job, but little else. Jason Hatcher is on his last legs and it showed. Ricky Jean Francois shined at times, but would disappear for long stretches. Changes are certainly coming.
Grade: C-

The storylines were basically unchanged for most of the season - the defensive line did them no favors and opened very few pass rushing lanes. Ryan Kerrigan was not as powerful like he had been in previous seasons – a lingering injury was the likely culprit. Keenan Robinson and Perry Riley did not have a good season in all honesty. Trent Murphy was fairly good, but there is an emerging star with Preston Smith and his rookie campaign took off, especially in the latter half of 2015.
Grade: B

Bashaud Breeland had a good 2015 and he likely has a lock on starting for many more years to come. Chris Culliver was having a solid season until he was sidelined by an injury. Enter Will Blackmon – he did a good job, but had a few plays where he was not in the right spot. Kyshoen Jarrett was phenomenal when he played in dime packages and closer to the line. The real story could be Quinton Dunbar, a former receiver who came out of nowhere to have quite the impact as an unheralded rookie.
Grade: B+

The strike safeties saw plenty of changes due to injury and ineffective play. Duke Ihenacho was lost early in the season, but Jeron Johnson was not the answer. Deangelo Hall was moved to this position and did an admirable job. Dashon Goldson had a good season and seemed to get better with each game. Very late in the season, Goldson and Hall switched positions and it was the right move.
Grade: B-

Special Teams:
Tress Way had another solid season and is likely to be retained for many more years to come. The placekicking duties fell to Kai Forbath once again, but he was released early in the season for Dustin Hopkins. The booming kickoffs and field goal accuracy was a welcomed improvement, but Hopkins did have a couple of miscues late in the season. Punt and kickoff coverage was quite good, but the punt return unit still had problems with penalties and had very few returns of significant yardage. The kickoff return unit was far better with Rashad Ross providing a touchdown (ditto for Andre Roberts) and had very few penalties.
Grade: B+

The first and most critical decision was made toward the end of preseason – starting Kirk Cousins over Robert Griffin, III. It was the right choice. The running game started off well, but struggled for most of the season. The receivers were solid. Offensive game plans against lesser competition were superb, but lacked greatly against elite teams. The story is similar for the defense – great against weak teams and poor against the better opponents. Special teams had a good year, but still had some issues with penalties and punt returns. Numerous season ending injuries are taken into consideration as the team continued to fight with a great, positive attitude.
Grade: B-

General Manager:
There are not enough superlatives to go around when thinking of the impact that Scot McCloughan has had on the Redskins thus far. His enthusiasm on the sideline is so contagious. He easily connects with the players. His only draft class is simply incredible. The free agent class was good, but did come up short in a couple of areas and that would be our only gripe. Players that had to be signed during the season due to injuries was a masterpiece. You should hope that this is our general manager for the next twenty years or more.
Grade: A+

How would you grade each position, the coaching staff, and general manager for 2015? Did winning the division and having a home playoff game surprise you? Is Kirk Cousins the answer at quarterback? How about Will Compton, Quinton Dunbar, Kyshoen Jarrett, and Mason Foster – was that not impressive this season? Will the record be even better for the 2016 season?

See you again tomorrow.

Hail to the Redskins!

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