Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Redskins 2009 Depth Chart: Midseason Update

Deeper in the roster than you want to be

It has been hard to keep up with the injuries and shifting roles, here is your midseason update to the Redskins 2009 Depth Chart, it looks a lot different than it did in September:

1. Jason Campbell
2. Todd Collins
3. Andre Woodson (practice squad)

Notes: No changes here. Jason Campbell has proven despite the team's poor performance in 2009 that he is not the Redskins' weak link. He was benched for the second half of game six against the Chiefs and has come close to injury a number of times, needing to step out of game eight against the Falcons twice before returning to finish the game. His passer rating continues to rise every season, meaning he is continuing to improve though that improvement is not as obvious as it was last season. Ball security is back as a problem for Jason, he fumbled seven times all of last season and has coughed it up ten time already this season through ten games, this is largely to completely attributable to the poor quality of blocking in front of him, Jason has often been unable to go through progressions or even take a three step drop without pressure.

In relief in the Chiefs game backup Todd Collins was not spectacular which is less an indictment of him and more a comment on team talent and execution in general. Andre Woodson is still a mystery wrapped in an enigma.

Overall the position is solid.

1. 4. Rock Cartwright
2. 3. Quinton Ganther
3. 3. Marcus Mason
? 1. Clinton Portis
1. 2. Ladell Betts

Notes: Total disaster. After getting off to a weak start and realizing he was not even going to come close to John Riggins' franchise rushing record this season, lead dog tailback Clinton Portis suffered a concussion on a brutal hit in game eight against the Falcons, his season is on hold. By way of comparison, through seven games last season Clinton was averaging 23 carries per game, 117 yards per game and five yards per carry. This season Clinton through seven games Clinton has averaged seventeen carries per game, 70 yards per game and 4 yards per carry. Because football is a perfect team sport it is difficult to untangle degradation in Clinton's play from degradation in the run blocking from problems with the playcalling, which could come from two places: a general lack of emphasis on the run and a need to pass more in order to catch up when losing. No matter how you look at it Clinton was off pace and now his season is on hold and I will bet a dollar that he is done for the year.

Backup Ladell Betts, he of the 1100 yards on nine starts in 2006 when Clinton separated his shoulder, had been getting regualr work as third down back for some odd reason, he is not suited to that role as well as Clinton Portis. Ladell had his chance to step up in the Falcons game and did, then looking like a true Redskins back in the next game against the Broncos. With Clinton sidelined another game due to his concussion, Ladell got consecutive starts, late in the first quarter of last week's game against Dallas he tore his ACL and MCL and is done for the season.

That left Rock Cartwright as the main ball carrier, Rock has been with the Redskins his entire eight year career and before last week's game had not had ten carries in a game since Steve Spurrier was coach in 2003 and had not had 100 yards rushing in a game since 2005, quite the odd pair of stats. He now becomes the lead dog, his day against Dallas was not great overall with a 34 yard run padding his numbers.

Quinton Ganther was signed in the destructive aftermath of the Chiefs game, he has experience on special teams and has seen some plays on offense, including a great play standing up Broncos and former Eagles safety Brian Dawkins, knocking his helmet off. Quinton is a big back and may figure in as the season goes on and the team sees what it has for next season, at this point he is not a serious option as an every down back.

Marcus Mason has been the team's punching bag, cut in the playcalling purge following the Chiefs game and then re signed this week after Ladell Betts went onto injured reserve. Marcus has a great handle on the ball carrying part of the position, he is not spectacular on special teams and has missed blocking assignments in the backfield, leading to hits, sacks and hurries. I for one am happy to have him back.

All in all this position is a total wreck for the team.

1. Mike Sellers
2. Eddie Williams (R)

Notes: Mike Sellers has drawn some fan ire, including mine, for his performance, maybe because he is falling into the same vortex as the team, maybe due to his 34 years, maybe due to his big new paycheck, maybe for another reason, he is not the same fullback he has been. Rookie Eddie Williams ganked up his knee in practice Friday, he was promoted from the practice squad in the aftermath of tight end Chris Cooley's injury, Eddie is just one of three guys to go onto injured reserve this week. This position is underperforming.

1. Santana Moss
2. Antwaan Randle El
3. 4. Devin Thomas
4. 2. Malcolm Kelly
5. Marko Mitchell (R)

Notes: Another season, another abject fail in the effprt to bring along another receiver or two. Malcolm Kelly assumed the quote number two unquote position to start the season though that was really about the team's distinction between a wideout and slot receiver and then gave it up to Devin Thomas who lost it to Malcolm in training camp.

The reality is neither of these guys is getting much done this year, Devin has twelve catches and Malcolm has ten catches and we are ten games into the season.

Antwaan Randle El continues to be the team's actual number two receiver, always coming up with a big catch now and again and keeping drives alive over the middle, at this point you know what you are getting from Antwaan. Marko Mitchell, a seventh round pick, has seen some playing time, he may show promise but the team has structural problems in the passing game that Marko cannot fix.

The receiver position is suffering.

Tight end
1. 3. Fred Davis
2. Todd Yoder
? 1. Chris Cooley

Notes: Chris Cooley, to that point Jason Campbell's most frequent target, broke his ankle in game seven against the Eagles, the instant reporting was that Chris was likely headed for injured reserve, then over the next few days became more optimistic. Now that the first deadline to get his walking boot off has passed it is becoming more obvious that the secondary reporting was optimistic and the primary reeporting closer to true. If I were Chris I would be in no hurry to come back in the this trainwreck of a season, I would want to slow walk recovery and shut it down for 2009. Bet a dollar that is how it goes down.

Fred Davis, the bumbling second round draft pick from last season then got his cahnce to step it up, for every great catch and solid downfield contact he makes he misses a blocking assignment or tips an easy catch and has it intercepted. Fred is not a solid starting tight end and will not be on his current trajectory. If the team is really going to stick with this guy he really needs to bear down in the offseason.

Todd Yoder remains on his strict diet of nine catches and two touchdowns per season. The team really should work him into the passing game with more regularity, he is no Chris Cooley when it comes to route running and nifty moves, then again we could use his blocking and will take him as a short yardage over the middle option as a result.

This position is somewhat uncertain.

Left tackle
1. Levi Jones
2. 2/3. Stephon Heyer
3. 2/3. D'Anthony Batiste
1. Chris Samuels

Notes: Another complete trainwreck. Ten year Redskin Chris Samuels, already coming off a torn triceps suffered last season, injured his neck in game five against the Panthers, it came to light that Chris has suffered from spinal stenosis, after seeing specialists and learning he could be paralyzed with another hit, the team put him on injured reserve, Chris likely will retire after this season.

Starting right tackle Stephon Heyer then moved over to play left tackle as called for in the original depth chart, Stephon started three games before Levi Jones, signed off the street, moved into the position, and it is his for the season, barring injury, Levi acquitted himself against Denver's Elvis Dumervil, an NFL sack leader, and I would not be surprised to see the Redskins make a long term offer to Levi in the offeason to stopgap this position and obviate the need to use their number one pick in the 2010 draft on a left tackle.

This position is on the downside of unsettled.

Left guard
1. Derrick Dockery
2/3. Edwin Williams (R)
2/3. Will Montgomery

Notes: No changes here, left guard has been the only solid position along the offensive line all season, except for a blow here and there we have not seen anyone else at left guard besides Derrick. This position is solid.

1. Casey Rabach
2. Will Montgomery

Notes: No changes here either, Casey Rabach is not a Pro Bowler but at this point we will take any healthy regular center we can get. This position is solid enough.

Right guard
1. 2. 1. Mike Williams
2. Edwin Williams (R)
3. 1. Will Montgomery
1. 3. 1. 2. Chad Rinehart
1. Randy Thomas

Notes: Another complete trainwreck of a position, after openly worrying that 33 year old Randy Thomas might not make sixteen games after two offseason surgeries, the team did little to backstop the position, when Randy went down in game two against St. Louis with a torn triceps and wound up on injured reserve it was at least eleven games earlier than the team expected. Backup and second year man Chad Rinehart went in for two games but did not acquit himself, he was benched, which he took pretty hard by all accounts.

Former 400 pound man Mike Williams, who was previously not on the depth chart at right gaurd, started one game and in that one game he injured himself, Will Montgomery was forced to come into the game because the team in its wisdom had made Chad Rinehart inactive for the game, so far and fast had he fallen that he could not even get into the game if the team needed him.

Will Montgomery then started three games in a row, including Clinton Portis' first one hundred yard rushing game of the season, before offensive line coach Joe Bugel lobbied hard for Chad to get another shot. Chad was reinserted into the lineup for the Broncos game when Ladell Betts and company galloped to 159 yards total rushing. It looked as though Buges was right to figh tfor his guy, until Chad got his leg rolled this past week at Dallas, breaking his fibula and ending his season on injured reserve.

According to the reporting so far this week, undrafted rookie Edwin Williams will get the start only if Mike Williams' ankle is healed.

This position is in flames.

Right tackle
1. 2. 1. Stephon Heyer
2. 1. 2. Mike Williams
3. D'Anthony Batiste

Notes: Stephon Heyer assumed the job after the offseason release of ten year Redskin Jon Jansen and held the position for five starts until left tackle Chris Samuels injured his neck and went on injured reserve. Stephon then moved over to left tackle where he played some as a rookie and former 400 pound man Mike Williams assumed the right tackle spot, as called for in the original depth chart.

Mike started three games at right tackle until newly signed left tackle Levi Jones was ready to take that spot, then sliding Stephon back over to his original position of right tackle. Mike's place was taken briefly by D'Anthony Batiste when he hurt his ankle and Stephon was anchoring the left.

Having Mike and D'Anthony as spare parts for either both the tackle and guard spots is not exactly comforting. This position is also in flames.

As predicted in the original 2009 depth chart, the offensive line remains the 2009 Redskins weakest unit.

Left defensive end
1. Phillip Daniels
2. 2/3. Jeremy Jarmon
3. 2/3. Renaldo Wynn

Notes: This position has been solid, Phillip Daniels is a crafty old veteran of 36 playing with a town biceps but, is getting the job done. When Phillip gets a blow we see Jeremy Jarmon in there more than any other bench player, Renaldo Wynn is a spare part and was cut twice in the pursuit of a temporary punter, he is insurance. This position is solid.

Left defensive tackle
1. Cornelius Griffin
2. Kedric Golston

Notes: No change here, this position is basking in the reflected light of Albert Haynesworth, Cornelius Griffin is the lead player here and we see a great deal of Kedric Golston in the three man rotation at the tackle positions. This position is solid.

Right defensive tackle
1. Albert Haynesworth
2. Kedric Golston
3. 2. Anthony Montgomery

Notes: Albert Haynesworth has indisputably helped this team's pass rush as he has drawn double teams and opened avenues for other players to get to the quarterback. Albert needs a blow now and then and then again and maybe once more, and the team responded by running a three man rotation with Albert, Cornelius Griffin and Kedric Golston, you are liable to see Kedric at either defensive tackle position, whoever needs the blow and whichever set the team is running.

After going neck and neck with his 2006 draftmate Kedric, Anthony Montgomery has fallen way down the depth chart, he has been inactive every game this season except for this past week against Dallas when Albert was out with an ankle injury. If you had ten games as the time when Albert would miss his first game to keep his streak of consecutive seasons without sixteen starts then see the lady at the payout window.

This position is solid.

Right defensive end
1. Andre Carter
2. Lorenzo Alexander

Notes: No change here, Andre Carter has been a huge beneficiary of Albert Hayensworth's presence, racking up eight sacks so far in 2009. As called for in the original depth chart the bench player most often seen in Andre's spot is jack of all trades Lorenzo Alexander aka Scarface. This position is solid.

Weakside linebacker
1. Rocky McIntosh
2. 3. HB Blades
3. 2. Robert Henson (R)

Notes: Rocky McIntosh has basically played the whole season at weakside and he is having a good season and is strong at the point where he began to fade last season after his recovery from his gruesome 2007 injury. He looks bigger and has good movement, if only he had pulled in that easy interception in this past game against the Cowboys! What little time Rocky is out he is spelled by HB Blades, who also plays in the four linebacker set. Doofus Robert Henson has been inactive every game but one this season. This position is solid in need of depth.

Middle linebacker
1. London Fletcher
2. HB Blades
3. Robert Henson (R)

Notes: No big surprise, London Fletcher rarely comes out of the game and is leading the team in tackles and assists. Someday he may fade on us and a couple of times he has been caught behind the play but then again who hasn't. As dictated by the original depth chart HB Blades spells London and Robert Henson does not play. This position is solid.

Strongside linebacker
1. Brian Orakpo (R)
2. Chris Wilson
3. Robert Henson (R)

Notes: Quite an experiment this season has been at the strongside linebacker position for the Redskins, rookie Brian Orakpo has at times been more defensive end, or as his position is often referred to on Curly R, hybrid defensive endbacker, than linebacker but there is simply no question that he belongs on the field with the starters. Brian can improve on his defensive reads from the standing position and his impressive pass rushing skills give him the cover time for that improvement.

Chris Wilson was a man without a position at the start of the season, an Andre Carter type light pass rusher with no real experience at linebacker, then the team acquired Brian Orakpo. The decision was made to put Chris in at the same hybrid position and to the extent that you can take two football players and introduce them both to a new position at the highest level of the game, it has been a success, with more playing time Chris' numbers may look more like Brian's. Chris is a good backup to Brian and a Curly R favorite. This position is solid and improving.

1. DeAngelo Hall
2. Carlos Rogers
3. Fred Smoot
4. Justin Tryon
5. Byron Westbrook
6. Kevin Barnes (R)

Notes: For the first two seasons Curly R put together a depth chart, we simply listed the cornerbacks in order of skill and influence, this season in the original depth chart we broke them up into Man Corner and Zone Corner based on my personal evaluation of skills, performance and roster breakdown. As the season unfolded though I realized the Redskins play zone and man-zone almost exclusively so for this update we are folding them all back into a single category, I have observed that the Redskins cornerbacks are largely interchangeable this season in that they are exhibiting many of the same tendencies which I presume is about coaching.

DeAngelo Hall is still the lead dog among the cornerbacks, he is maddening to watch at time, gives a big cushion and does seem to use his man skills and ability to play the ball as often as he should. That said DeAngelo has been a big part of a Redskins defense that currently ranks number one against the pass as measured by opponents' passing yards per game. There must be a way better to use DeAngelo's man skills.

Carlos Rogers is still the provisional second cornerback, even as he was benched for biting on receiver double moves in both the Eagles game seven and the Broncos game nine. He did get in the game this past week but was not a starter and Fred Smoot seemed to play most of the snaps at second cornerback. When he is in the game we have seen this season the same thing we have seen from Carlos for his previous four seasons, flashes of excellent play, giving up too many big plays, too often disappearing into the game and a maddening inability to catch an interception. His status as the season winds down will be interesting to see, Carlos' contract expires after this season, will the team push him to see what they have or to showcase him? Or will they shut him down and wait around like a pimp to see who makes an offer for him?

Fred Smoot has acquitted himself as a starter, he and DeAngelo actually make a good pair when backed by solid safety play (see below). Justin Tryon is much improved over last season, he appears as third cornerback as often Fred when Carlos is in at number two. Byron Westbrook has appeared in every game but one and sees most of his time on special teams. Rookie third round pick Kevin Barnes has been inactive every game this season.

These positions are solid... for now.

Free safety
1. LaRon Landry
2. Kareem Moore

Notes: No changes here in terms of depth, LaRon could be playing better, too much poor tackling and some bad decision making in pass coverage though LaRon did have an excellent game this past week against the Cowboys. LaRon seems to be having a season reminscent of Sean Taylor's 2006 where he just looked lost and not into it, Sean rebounded for 2007, such as it was.

Kareem Moore has been sighted lately, the pipe dream that LaRon could play more snaps closer to the line in the absence of Chris Horton is not playing out well, if the Redskins want to put LaRon Landry at strong safety they will need to get a better free safety to replace him and then decide what to do with two good hard hitting strong safeties. This position is solid all things considered.

Strong safety
1. 2. Reed Doughty
2. Lendy Holmes (R)
2. 1. Chris Horton

Notes: Chris Horton entered training camp as the incumbent and won the starting job over Reed Doughty to open the season, after three games and some good and bad plays Chris was benched in favor of Reed who there is simply no question benefited from back surgery last season and has been a really good player, I still tend to think that specific move to bench Chris was driven by a need to change something after the Lions game three left the Redskins 1-2.

Reed has played well in the starting spot, he is the team's second leading tackler, and despite not being the quote starter unquote Chris saw tons of playing time as the season wore on, he injured a toe, suffering ligament damage in game eight against the Falcons and went onto injured reserve. Undrafted (op. cit.) rookie Lendy Holmes was signed off the practice squad to replace Chris, Lendy has not seen much playing time as Kareem Moore and Fred Smoot as combo safety-corner have gotten the snaps.

This position is solid.

Shaun Suisham

Notes: Up until this past game ten against the Cowboys, Shaun Suisham was twelve for twelve in the 2009 season, then Shaun shanked two, either of which would have given the Redskins a two score lead but I digress. Shaun has been solid and made the kicks asked of him. The team has found a kicker that can figure out how to use. This position is solid.

1. Hunter Smith
2. Glenn Pakulak
3. Sam Paulescu

Notes: Hunter Smith strained his groin in game four against the Buccaneers, journeyman Glenn Pakulak was signed as a temporary replacement, punted in games five and six, Hunter was back for game seven, he reinjured his groin and was almost placed on injured reserve, the team signed Sam Paulescu as a stopgap, Sam punted in game eight against the Falcons, and Hunter has been back in the saddle for the past two games. This position is solid... when Hunter Smith is in the game.

Kickoff returns
1. 2. Devin Thomas
2. 1. Rock Cartwright

Notes: With Rock Cartwright's field promotion to primary tailback, Devin Thomas steps up from what was really a hypothetical number two kick return position to become the primary kickoff return man, Rock returned 28 up until last week and Devin had returned one, then in the Cowboys game Devin returned both kicks, averaging 28 yards per return, Devin is inexperienced at the craft. This position is on the downside of solid.

Punt returns
Antwaan Randle El
DeAngelo Hall
Santana Moss

Notes: Antwaan Randle El assumed punt return duties this season, something many Redskins fans wished he had not, through ten games this season Antwaan is tied for the league lead with fourteen fair catches and has only twelve actual returns. During the bye week head coach Jim Zorn announced that DeAngelo Hall would be be taking most of the returns going forward, along with Santana Moss, then backed down when confronted by Antwaan, since then Antwaan has still taken most of the punt returns. This must end and the Redskins must have a new punt returner. This position is weak.

Long snapper
Ethan Albright

Notes: Nuff said.

Other Curly R depth charts: 2007 :: 2007 Midseason Update :: 2008 :: 2008 Midseason Update :: 2009

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