Redskins at the bye week: first half positives
LaRon Landry. The first positive should come as no surprise. Landry was close to being considered a draft bust last season. He was accused of being out of position during plays, couldn't cover the double move and celebrated too much after he did make a play. Well, fast forward to a season later, with a new look defense and the confidence of one Jim Haslett to put Landry in position to make plays in his 3-4 defense.
Landry now plays strong safety, which is his natural position. It allows him to get closer to the ball and be that extra defender against the run. He has benefited greatly from being switched to strong safety, so much so that he's been the NFC defensive player of the week and is in contention for defensive player of the year.
Special teams. Another positive for this team would most certainly have to be the special teams play. The Redskins' coverage and return units, all the way across the board, have been special in their own way. From the physicality of Lorenzo Alexander, Mike Sellers and Chris Wilson on coverage to the pure return ability of Brandon Banks, these units have given the team a much-needed spark.
Coverage teams have caused game changing turnovers and bone-crushing hits that have set the tone for the defense. Banks's amazing ability to return kickoffs and punts has helped a struggling offense get better field position.
The record. The most important positive of them all would have to be this team being 4-4 and still in the hunt for a divisional title as well as a playoff birth. The Redskins had to play one of the more difficult schedules in the first eight games. Most would say the toughest part of their schedule is behind them -- no more Peyton Manning or Matt Schaub to deal with.
Being at .500 halfway through is a definite positive and also a favorable place to be at the halfway point of the year. I think it's safe to say coming into the season, looking at the host of teams that the Redskins had to play, with a new coach, nobody in their right mind figured that this team would be even or better. So 4-4 seems to be an acceptable record.
These are my positives. What are yours? Do you think this team has a chance to have a better second half of the season? And if so why do you think so?