WASHINGTON (CBSDC) – The halfway point of the NFL season is always an ideal time to reflect on individual performance. With the Redskins having played eight of their 16 games, I wanted to take a look at who Washington’s top-five players have been so far this season. Here’s the list I came up with.
5. Trent Williams
Williams has played a couple of dominant games in a very strong first-half of the 2013 season. One of Washington’s top talents, the fourth-year player has become one of the best tackles in all of football. He consistently gets to the second level in the running game, routinely blocking defenders 10-plus yards down the field on the Redskins’ longest runs.
A plus-athlete with great quickness and speed, Williams has no problems getting outside to lead-block on screens. He’s also strong in pass-protection, having allowed just two sacks this season – one of which came on a play in Denver when Williams slipped and fell, allowing Von Miller to get to quarterback Robert Griffin.
4. Alfred Morris
Morris is averaging an NFL-best 5.2 yards per carry, a full half-yard better per attempt than any other tailback with 100 carries. The second-year tailback is averaging 86 yards a game, third best in the NFL, despite the fact that 10 ball-carriers have run the ball more often than Morris.
On pace for 1,372 yards and 10 touchdowns, Morris’ yards-per-carry average is up nearly a half-yard from his memorable rookie season. If the Florida-Atlantic product continues at the pace he’s on at the midway point of the season, Morris will have carried the ball 69 fewer times in his sophomore year than he did as a rookie.
3. Ryan Kerrigan
Kerrigan’s 6.5 sacks through eight games lead the Redskins. So do his three forced fumbles, two on strip-sacks and one on a defended pass that was returned for a touchdown for Washington’s first points of the season. A third-year starter from Purdue, Kerrigan managed a pair of multi-sack games during the first half of Washington’s season.
Kerrigan is well on his way to the first double-digit sack year of his career, on pace for 13 with eight games to play. Kerrigan is just one sack away from the 7.5 he managed as a rookie and only two sacks away from his career-high of 8.5, set last season during his second year in Washington. The 25 year-old has been credited with the second most quarterback pressures among Redskins’ defenders.
2. Deangelo Hall
The only player in the NFL with two interceptions returned for touchdowns and the only defender in the league who has scored on both an interception and a fumble return, Hall is having a banner 2013 season. The play-making defensive back’s 18 points scored are only topped by Roy Helu and Alfred Morris among Washington’s non-kickers.
Hall has also impressed in coverage over the first half of the season, holding Dez Bryant to 5 catches for 36 yards in week-six before keeping Brandon Marhsall, Demaryius Thomas and Antonio Gates in check over the past three weeks. The sixth-year Redskin covers the opponent’s top pass-catcher every week, and while doing so Hall has defended nine passes and intercepted three others. He’s contributed to five of Washington’s takeaways while only having been flagged for two penalties through eight games.
1. Pierre Garcon
Garcon is third in the NFL in catches per game, he’s also the NFL’s third most targeted wide receiver – behind only AJ Green (Bengals) and Vincent Jackson (Bucaneers). The second-year Redskin has tallied two 100-yard games on the season, including a 172-yard gem that goes down as the most prolific day for a Washington receiver in four years.
A physical receiver who enjoys contact and battles on every play, Mike Shanahan is on record as saying Garcon is the best run-blocking wide receiver in the NFL. He credits the pass-catcher with being a major contributor to Washington’s three 200-yard rushing performances in the team’s last four games. But it’s been Garcon’s acrobatic catches – a one-handed snag against Denver or a pair of falling one-handing grabs in Sunday’s win over the Chargers – that separate Garcon as special.
He’s on pace for 108 catches and 1,368 yards, a pair of figures that would rank first and sixth on Washington’s all-time single season lists.