Defense earns best grade yet vs. Vikings

lorenzo-alexander-vikings.jpg

Defense earns best grade yet vs. Vikings

Defense
Grade vs. Vikings: B+
Comment: Although it may have seemed that the Redskins’ defense got pushed around in the first quarter as Vikings kicker Blair Walsh finished off consecutive drives with short field goals, in fact, keeping Minnesota out of the end zone early likely proved to be the difference in the game.

Three times, Christian Ponder and the Vikings had the ball inside the Redskins’ 10-yard line. But instead of seizing a 21-0 lead, they settled for a 9-0 edge that was quickly erased by Washington’s high-octane offense.

Defensive coordinator Jim Haslett also deserves kudos for making significant changes to his personnel. After struggling to produce an adequate pass against the Falcons and Buccaneers, Haslett introduced special teams captain Lorenzo Alexander (season-high 27 snaps) to the rotation of linebackers and scaled back playing time for Chris Wilson (2). Recently signed Mario Addison also played 11 snaps.

Of course, the Redskins still miss two-time Pro Bowl pass rusher Brian Orakpo. But his absence was much less noticeable Sunday with Alexander enjoying a breakout game. Alexander’s fumble recovery at the Minnesota 6-yard line led to a touchdown. He also recorded 1-½ sacks of the team’s season-high four sacks.

Haslett also increased Jordan Pugh’s playing time at safety and reduced DeJon Gomes’.

“We’re going to always try to play the best players,” Coach Mike Shanahan said Monday. “So if a guy like Lorenzo has a great game, we’re going to try to find ways to get him into the football game.”

The defense also produced a touchdown – again. Madieu Williams’ 24-yard interception return for a touchdown was the Redskins’ fourth defensive score of the season.

It wasn’t a flawless performance by any means. Ponder passed for 352 yards, Percy Harvin hauled in 14 receptions for 133 yards and Adrian Peterson ripped off an early 32 yard run. But the unit produced three turnovers and, although it bent in the fourth quarter, it did not break, which should give the Redskins something to build on entering next week’s NFC East opener in New York.

What do sports books think of Doctson's chances to win Rookie of the Year?

all22tarikdefenserefframe_1.jpg

What do sports books think of Doctson's chances to win Rookie of the Year?

The Redskins drafted TCU wide receiver Josh Docston with the No. 22 overall draft pick with the intent that he will have an immediate impact.

Although the 6-2, 202-pound athlete will play behind talented wideouts DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon, there will still be enough balls thrown Doctson's way to stand out among the rest of the rookies.

On Wednesday, the Bovada sports book released its odds for the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year award, and tabbed Doctson with 12/1 odds, good enough for fifth place.

NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year odds:

— Jared Goff, QB, Rams: 2/1

— Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Cowboys: 5/2

— Derrick Henry, RB, Titans: 7/1

— Corey Coleman, WR, Browns: 15/2

— Josh Doctson, WR, Redskins: 12/1

— Laquon Treadwell, WR, Vikings: 12/1

— Kenneth Dixon, RB, Ravens: 14/1

— Jordan Howard, RB, Bears: 14/1

— Paul Perkins, RB, Giants: 16/1

— Sterling Sheppard, WR, Giants: 16/1

RELATED: Redskins' Super Bowl odds shift following NFL Draft

After 2016 NFL Draft, Redskins Super Bowl odds shift for next season

mcclough_640x360_677985347699.jpg

After 2016 NFL Draft, Redskins Super Bowl odds shift for next season

A week after a well-regarded draft haul, Las Vegas experts moved up the chances of a Redskins Super Bowl win, albeit slightly. In two previous releases this year, Bovada.lv gave Jay Gruden's Washington team 50-1 odds of winning the next Super Bowl.

On Wednesday, after evaluating the recent draft class that started with TCU WR Josh Doctson and USC LB/SS Su'a Cravens, Bovada released updated odds, moving the Redskins chances up to 40-1 to take the next Lombardi Trophy.

At 40-1 the Redskins have the same odds of winning the next Super Bowl as the New York Jets - just behind the Ravens and Texans at 33-1 and just ahead of the Falcons, Bills, Bears, Rams, and Eagles at 50-1. 

Elsewhere in the NFC East, the Cowboys and Giants odds shifted following the draft. Dallas made headlines with the selection of Ohio State RB Ezekiel Elliott, but Vegas saw the move as a negative, with their Super Bowl winning odds dropping from 20-1 in March to 22-1 in May. Even at 22-1, the Cowboys still have the best Super Bowl odds in the division. The Giants, even with the curious selection of Eli Apple in the first round, saw their odds improve from 33-1 in March to 25-1 in May. 

No surprise, but the Patriots and Seahawks have the best odds to win the Super Bowl at 7-1 and 8-1, respectively. Right behind those two powerhouses came the Green Bay Packers and Pittsburgh Steelers at 10-1. Last season's Super Bowl losers, the Carolina Panthers are 11-1 to win the Super Bowl, and the defending champion Denver Broncos saw their odds drop from 10-1 in March to 16-1 in May to win the Super Bowl.

The ratings are in, and Josh Doctson is already an asset in Madden

mccdoctsonrefframe_1.jpg

The ratings are in, and Josh Doctson is already an asset in Madden

Real-life Kirk Cousins was certainly pleased that the Redskins drafted football-snatcher Josh Doctson, but you know who else is feeling good about the selection? Virtual Kirk Cousins.

Both versions of Washington's signal caller will benefit from Doctson's presence, but while the actual wideout's pro debut is still months away, his counterpart in Madden has already been assigned a rating for the next edition of the game. Therefore, it's already known how much he'll help out on gridirons across the world's Xbox's and Playstations, even though he won't play in a real contest for a while.

And, judging by the aforementioned attributes that the folks at EA Sports gave Doctson, they expect him to be quite productive in the NFL.

The TCU product checks in as an 80 overall, a nice grade for a rookie pass catcher. Alongside that 80 is a 92 in the speed category, plus a 94 in agility. In other words: When you use the Burgundy and Gold, get this guy the rock with space around him.

For comparison's sake, Cleveland's Corey Coleman boasts the highest overall mark for an incoming receiver (82), while Houston's Will Fuller and Minnesota's LaQuan Treadwell are tied with Doctson. Meanwhile, Scot McCloughan's first pick from last year, Brandon Scherff, also was initally ranked as an 80.

As of now, those are the only three metrics that Madden's developer released, meaning Doctson's jumping ability is still unknown. If it's anything less than a 106, though, it may be time to boycott the successful franchise. Doctson can get up, and that better be appropriately reflected in the numbers.    

MORE REDSKINS: NUMBER ASSIGNMENTS FOR THE TEAM'S ROOKIES