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Is Samuels the Most Indispensable Redskin?

Samuels and Thomas. (By John McDonnell - TWP)

Chris Samuels has said he's going to meet with his doctor next Tuesday and then figure out what comes next, and we all certainly wish him the best. He also told reporters on Wednesday that he hopes to be back soon, and doesn't think he'd have to miss the season. This week, though, the Redskins will be without their All-Pro left tackle, which is why so many Redskins fans are even more nervous than usual. I don't think I'm going out on much of a limb here, but I'd argue Samuels is the player the Redskins can least afford to be without, which makes him their most indispensable player.

Which got me thinking, what would a list of the Redskins' 53 most valuable players, in order, look like? I gave up somewhere around 12, so I'll just present my Top 5 here, and let you vote on the most valuable. Feel free to tell me what your 1-5 would look like, or even your 6-10, if it's a slow day at work.

1) Chris Samuels. Mister Irrelevant noted before the season that Samuels missed four games last season, which included all three of Washington's worst offensive performances of the season. With him out against the Panthers, the Skins managed just 198 yards, easily their lowest total of this season, and the lowest of Jim Zorn's tenure. He's an All-Pro player at one of the most important spots on the field. And the backups behind him are either unproven or unreliable. To me, this is pretty easy.

2) Santana Moss. This one is probably less about Moss than about the talent behind him; "unproven" hardly does justice to that situation. An offense with few big-play weapons would become an offense with virtually no big-play weapons if Moss went out. Check out this stat: In the 21 games Jim Zorn has coached, the Redskins have scored 14 touchdowns of 10 yards or more. Moss is responsible for nine of them. No one else on the roster has shown any ability whatsoever to stretch the field.

3) London Fletcher. This is speculative; I'm not sure what the defense would look without him, because he hasn't missed a game since he joined the team. But I'm pretty sure I don't want to find out. There's likely better depth at linebacker than at several other positions, but considering Fletcher's toughness, his nose for the ball and his obvious leadership on a team short on vocal leaders, I think he's got to be up here somewhere.

4) Chris Cooley. Sure, there's depth at tight end, with Todd Yoder for blocking and Fred Davis for catching and leaping into the air while still three yards away from the first-down marker. But Cooley has been the only other offensive weapon besides Moss, and on a team that will never have great offensive line protection, he's an invaluable safety valve. You saw what happened against the Panthers when he was shut out entirely. Also, of those 14 scoring plays of 10 yards or more referenced above, Cooley was the only player other than Moss to provide more than one.

5) Casey Rabach. I had a lot of trouble with this one, and I'm not sure that it's the right call. He's missed only one game in his Redskins tenure--a 2007 meeting with Arizona--and Washington still won without him. But with their line in disarray, replacing the dude in the middle with Will Montgomery just sounds terrifying.

Also considered: Randy Thomas, Derrick Dockery, Hunter Smith, Carlos Rogers, LaRon Landry. And I'm pretty sure LaVar Arrington did this same thing on his radio show recently, and had Samuels and Thomas ranked first and second.


By Dan Steinberg  |  October 14, 2009; 12:33 PM ET
Categories:  Redskins  
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Hunter Smith? JHC, that shows you how far the Redskins have fallen when you put a punter in a list such as this. That said, I don't think he should be considered. Unless it's Ray Guy or Sammy Baugh we're talking about, punters are a dime a dozen in my mind. Not saying some don't suck, but it's not like Hunter Smith is more valuable than any starter on D, for instance.

Posted by: dpkennedy | October 14, 2009 12:40 PM | Report abuse

None of them are indispensable -- that suggests you have something worth preserving that would be lost without one or more of them. Take a losing team, remove its best player, and you still have a losing team.

Unrelated: Mr. Steinberg, can you give some Bog props to Tracee Hamilton's excellent and courageous column today? It's one of the best things I've read on the Post in a while, yet the website and print edition seem hell bent on burying it.

Posted by: wahoo2x | October 14, 2009 12:41 PM | Report abuse

Does a team this bad really have anyone who can be considered indispensable?

Posted by: TheSecretWeapon | October 14, 2009 12:45 PM | Report abuse

You must give the warrior his due. The Redskins will sorely miss Samuels -- as he's one of the very, very few who still play with courage, conviction and heart. Best wishes for a positive medical assessment, speedy recovery and smooth transition to life beyond the Redskins.

Posted by: Vic1 | October 14, 2009 12:45 PM | Report abuse

Daniel Snyder!

Posted by: tegularius | October 14, 2009 12:50 PM | Report abuse

Has anyone watched samuels over the past 2 seasons? He hasn't played anywhere near pro bowl worthy run blocking wise, and especially pass blocking. He gets absolutely destroyed by any d end who is even just somewhat above average it's gotten embarrassing and it has been his man just as much if not more than any other linemen who gets pressure on Campbell.

Posted by: Booya056 | October 14, 2009 12:50 PM | Report abuse

Where are portis and haynesworth on this list? They are certainly paid like they should be on here.

Posted by: snydercash4clunkers | October 14, 2009 12:54 PM | Report abuse

Has anyone watched samuels over the past 2 seasons? He hasn't played anywhere near pro bowl worthy run blocking wise, and especially pass blocking. He gets absolutely destroyed by any d end who is even just somewhat above average it's gotten embarrassing and it has been his man just as much if not more than any other linemen who gets pressure on Campbell.

Posted by: Booya056 | October 14, 2009 12:50 PM

I'm willing to take this unpopular stance as well - to an extent. The line is cray paper with Samuels out, but it's still well below average with Samuels in. I like Samuels a lot - I think he's a good person and a solid NFL lineman. But I think he's (dreaded word) overrated. Largely because of his personality, he gets to the Pro Bowl all the time (popularity contest). Also, he and Jansen helped keep the illusion that the Skins were solid at o-line this decade, when help has been needed for years.

I voted for London Fletcher - the guy who keeps the Redskins in a lot of games.

Posted by: Kev29 | October 14, 2009 12:57 PM | Report abuse

Now you know who has trade value.

I'd say that no one on this team is indispensable. I don't think you can have this argument when the Redskins are so far from resembling a playoff football team. Everyone is dispensable because this team just isn't any good, particularly on offense.

Now, if there were a few core guys that I'd start building around, it would start with the defense. That's where there is some legitimate young talent and veteran leadership. You'd start with guys like London Fletcher, LaRon Landry, Andre Carter and Brian Orakpo. Literally everyone else can go.

Posted by: cp54 | October 14, 2009 1:19 PM | Report abuse

NO ONE on the skins deserved to be called MVP but if I had to choose one, HE IS NOT EVEN LISTED AS A CHOICE, it would be Clinton Portis.

Even is Samuels were gone the skins still need a running game and Ladell Betts, Rock Cartright and Mason just would not get the job done.

Posted by: keedrow | October 14, 2009 1:20 PM | Report abuse

Who cares any more? They can all play and still lose, so what is the point?

Posted by: JohnWWW | October 14, 2009 1:21 PM | Report abuse

Samuels is absolutely the most indispensable player on this team, and arguably the most prolific player on this team throughout the Snyder era. Maybe if more of the 'skins faithful wore the #60 jersey around FedEx Field rather than the traditional 26, 47, and 89, our inept owner/team president/marketing guru would actually invest a little more in the O-line.

Posted by: jmorrisa | October 14, 2009 1:24 PM | Report abuse

Jeremy Bridges

He is indispensable since he has starters experience at both guard and tackle, and we're so thin at those positions. If someone like Chris Samuels or Randy Thomas went down, we'd still have a fairly reliable Oline.

Oh right...we cut Bridges...

Posted by: colerwilson | October 14, 2009 1:29 PM | Report abuse

it is sad that our punter is on that list but our quarterback, the most important position on the field, is not.

Posted by: NaptownSkins | October 14, 2009 1:30 PM | Report abuse

Where is the "Nobody" tab?

Posted by: lylewimbledon | October 14, 2009 1:36 PM | Report abuse

I think Samuels is the only indispensable player. He is the only one who, when absent, represents a massive dropoff in effectiveness when missing. I fear for Campbell's life with Heyer on the blind side.

What happened to Heyer? He went from decent to suck in the offseason!

Posted by: WallyG3 | October 14, 2009 1:50 PM | Report abuse

I voted for London Fletcher, the catalyst on defense.
If the defense plays any worse, we may only win 2 games.
That makes it a little hard to get home field advantage in the playoffs.

Ask Jim Mora!

Posted by: millineumman | October 14, 2009 1:58 PM | Report abuse

Should poll o and d sepearate

Posted by: alex35332 | October 14, 2009 1:58 PM | Report abuse

Wow. Quarterback not listed?

Posted by: dclifer97 | October 14, 2009 2:08 PM | Report abuse

london fletcher w/out a doubt. guy makes plays and stays on the field. when i see fat albert flopping around on the field after one tackle, i'm almost embarrased for 59.

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | October 14, 2009 2:20 PM | Report abuse

CP needs to be on that list. Just for his blocking alone, he is the best blocking RB in the league

Posted by: jpfterps | October 14, 2009 2:22 PM | Report abuse

I think the reason that Samuels is considered so "indispensible" is because the O-line is so weak and thin and losing just one great player sends it spiraling down. That's not taking anything away from him but I'd take London Fletcher first every day of the week and twice on Sunday (in fact it would be nice to have two of him).

Posted by: JulzDC | October 14, 2009 2:26 PM | Report abuse

ARE you MORONS this desperate to write diarrhea???....NOT ONE of these laughable stiffs is Indispensable.......Samuels?...YOU CAN'T BE SERIOUS !!!!!! He's been OVER rated for years and his selection to the Pro Bowl is a fraud.....and a reason the PB game has no integrity and nobody cares....anymore...

Posted by: FletcherChristian1 | October 14, 2009 2:53 PM | Report abuse

Dan, how can you not put Suisham on the list to be at least considered. We don't beat the rams without him or the bucs for that matter. My vote is for Shaun Shuisham! Brings back visions of when Reggie Roby was the best player on the team.

Posted by: Freddr055 | October 14, 2009 3:13 PM | Report abuse

Stupid article!
None are but you need a good WR.
Second would be LB.

Seriously i have been writing for four years fix the line, i've heard a lot of people that are crying now wanting someone for other position.

Remember the Hogs?
Bobby Beatherd put them together.
Bobby was a GM remember when the skins had one?

Oh the skins have the same problem on DEFENSE!
30 something linemen and your wondering why they are not playing as hard the second half (sometimes the first).
The worst are the DE!
put Okapro on the end forget this linebacker stuff.

Posted by: shamken | October 14, 2009 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Nothing wrong with a punter being a valuable member of the team. Punters can help you switch the field-position advantage. Imagine how valuable it is to have a punter like Jeff Feagles who is the master at pinning opponents inside their 20 yard line. Couple that with a strong, ball-hawking defense and you have the potential to score without your offense on the field.

Remember the Patriots won multiple super bowls via FGs.

Posted by: tundey | October 14, 2009 3:38 PM | Report abuse

Wow...what a sad state of affairs. "Mr. Indispensable" old, slow, weak, washed-up player, who's a shadow of his prime playing days. What does that say about the talent level on this team??
And we all know who's responsible for drafting and acquiring "talented" players for this team. But that's an old story.
The issue now is: what are the fans, precisely the season-ticket holders, because they are the ones that can vocally and visually show displeasure, what are THEY going to do about it??

Posted by: scmonty1 | October 14, 2009 3:49 PM | Report abuse

Chris Samuels indispensible? Maybe it's my foggy memory, but doesn't he always seem to be injured? I don't recall seeing him play for the last season or two. As far as I'm concerned, you can replace the entire team and start over with players who are hungry to win games instead of pursuing fat paychecks.

Posted by: sjcsando | October 14, 2009 4:40 PM | Report abuse

I cant believe Samuels is considered most valuable. he is an aging, oft injured overrated lineman. He gets burned almost as bad as the other lineman on this team. How can we even be thinking who is the most valuable on a horrible team like this. the fact I keep hearing people say blow this team up and start from scratch means that you really do not have a valuable person worth keeping.

Posted by: rvanags | October 14, 2009 5:01 PM | Report abuse

trent cole on the eagles(a good pass rusher) says that samuels is one of the best that he goes up against. samuels is older but he by far is the best washington o-lineman.

Posted by: wathu19 | October 14, 2009 6:24 PM | Report abuse

MVP - Most Vile Player. Chris Henson - who echoes the management position about the fans. No real MVP - the team could play equally as poorly without any one of the lot that $nyderato has assembled. The good ones, like Fletcher, should leave for greener pastures.

Posted by: jburnetti | October 14, 2009 8:13 PM | Report abuse

There are no indispensible players on the Redskins. Blow this mess up and overturn this roster. Bring in a new GM. Time to start over. Goodnight Now.

Posted by: keithamcgregor | October 14, 2009 8:40 PM | Report abuse

The Redskins I had pegged for a glorious 6-10 season before Samuel's went down with an injury, now 4-12 does not seem out of the realm here.
Try who is the most dispensible Redskin and see what the response would be. My vote would be Portis, followed by Haynesworth, the starting in the front office Lapdog Sock Puppet Cerrato.
Because the Redskin's are such a cash cow for Nickel Snatcher Snyder fat chance he would sell the team and move aside.

Posted by: jamesjiven55gmailcom | October 14, 2009 9:08 PM | Report abuse

rabach is TERRIBLE

Posted by: BMACattack | October 14, 2009 9:49 PM | Report abuse

If there were one guy on the team the Skins cannot do without, the only POSSIBLE answer is Fletcher.

The defense has been stunning in the face of the inadequacies of the offense for the last two seasons. They don't give up many points, and with the exception of Landry trying to be Sean Taylor (and then leveling people after the whistle), they don't give up many legit penalties. The defense is solid and consistent, and has held almost everyone under 20 points.

Santana Moss, prior to last year, dropped balls left and right. Portis has been picking fights with his coach and lead blocker. He was a franchise running back three years ago, now he's blaming everyone else. ANYONE on the offensive line? Really?

The only really blameless guy on offense is Cooley. He drops a pass once in a blue moon, but as a rule, he's golden. Not much of a run-blocker, but put him out against a LB, and you've got a completion. Cooley is the only guy on offense that will draw double teams for the entire 2nd half to neutralize him. It's not his fault no one else can step up and catch against the 9 remaining defenders.

You can give honorable mentions to Suisham and Hunter, just because of the long field goals and field position, but game in, game out losses can't be blamed on special teams, and with a few exceptions, games aren't won there either.

Candle, Portis, Randle El, the 60 year old O-line, Smoot, Landry, Rogers, Haynesworth.....overpaid, over-rated, and over here.

Posted by: ncromcr | October 15, 2009 1:36 AM | Report abuse

if that list had portis on it, it would be the MOST DISPENSABLE list.

hunter the punter at RUNNING BACK...same ammount of rushing TDs as the rest of our RBs combined...ONE

Posted by: carsonspence | October 15, 2009 1:44 PM | Report abuse

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