redskins’ 10 defining moments of 2010

(photo by Brian Murphy)

[Note: Every Tuesday I write a column for SB Nation DC. This is that column.]

As sad as it is for football fanatics to admit, the 2010 season is now officially halfway over. While there is still plenty of meaningful football left to be played this season, it’s important to pause for a moment to look back at how the first half has played out for the Washington Redskins.

With that in mind, I’ve compiled a list of the team’s 10 defining moments of the 2010 season. But before we get to that, here are a few moments that just missed the cut:

Clinton Portis’ 53 flavors. For better or worse, we’ve officially reached the point of the Portis era where his most memorable moments come off the field, rather than on it. Sure, he didn’t know much about the incident involving Ines Sainz and the New York Jets, but that didn’t stop him from sharing the following nugget:

“And I mean, you put a woman and you give her a choice of 53 athletes, somebody got to be appealing to her. You know, somebody got to spark her interest, or she’s gonna want somebody. I don’t know what kind of woman won’t, if you get to go and look at 53 men’s packages.”

Although Portis’ career is clearly winding down, let’s all hope and pray he continues to do radio even after he hangs up the cleats.

Lorenzo Alexander hit sticks. The Redskins’ special teams unit has brought the pain all season long, but the biggest knockout shot came courtesy of Alexander, who simply destroyed Eagles returner Jorrick Calvin.

“He seems to do this each week, regardless if they double-team him or not,” said Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan of Alexander. “But that was one of the best hits I’ve been around since I’ve been in the NFL. I mean, that was an explosion on the sidelines. So that was very, very special.”

Week 3 still hurts. After losing to Detroit last season and St. Louis this year – both in humiliating fashion – I’ve already started a petition to make Week 3 Washington’s bye week next season.

Devin Thomas gets cut. Thomas was the 34th overall pick in the 2008 NFL draft. Less than three seasons later, he was released because the team no longer felt he could contribute. Maybe he gets it together in Carolina with the Panthers, but Thomas’ time in Washington can only be remembered as disappointing.

Derrick Dockery sits down. Last season, Dockery was considered one of the only bright spots on Washington’s terrible offensive line. This year, he’s getting paid to watch games in street clothes.

Dockery, who is in the second year of a five-year, $26.5 million contract, had played in 111 consecutive games before Shanahan decided to sit him in favor of someone named Kory Lichtensteiger, who is allegedly more athletic than Dockery. My counterargument would be that it doesn’t matter how athletic you are when you’re getting pushed back five yards a snap, but in this offense, I guess it does.

Anthony Armstrong catches. There’s a lot to like about Armstrong, whose career began in a parking lot in Nowhere, Texas. It’s too early to say whether or not he can definitively become a number-two receiver in the NFL, but he’s proven he belongs on the playing field.

And now, onto the 10 defining moments of 2010:

10. Donovan McNabb gets cheered. Seriously, if I suggested before the season began that Philly fans would handle McNabb better than Shanahan people would have laughed me out of the building. And yet, Eagles fans shocked everyone – McNabb included – by doing something classy for once and giving a standing ovation to the man who was the face of their franchise for 11 seasons in his return to Philadelphia.

Once the game started, Philly fans resorted back to booing McNabb whenever possible, but that was okay too. McNabb led the Redskins to victory, so we’ll call it even.

9. Joey Galloway doesn’t. The only reason I can come up with as to why Galloway continues to remain employed by the Redskins – let alone find his way onto the field during actual games – is that he must have blackmail photos of someone important at Redskins Park.

Case in point, the Redskins ran 516 plays on offense in their first eight games. Galloway was on the field for 289 of those plays and has just nine catches for 141 yards to show for it. In the last six games, Galloway has six total catches for 53 yards.

“We’re going to play the best players,” Shanahan said. “It’s based on film. You evaluate everything.”

Clearly Galloway has film of something he shouldn’t.

8. Phillip Buchanon stops running. I admit, in the heat of the moment, I blame safety Reed Doughty for letting Texans receiver Andre Johnson haul in a touchdown on a desperation 4th-and-10 play that would have sealed the game for Washington. But when I went back and watched the play again, it was clear that Buchanon gave up on the play at around the 10-yard-line, leaving Doughty alone to defend one of the premiere receivers in the game.

7. LaRon Landry flexes. Okay, so Landry has seemingly been flexing after every play since he came into the league, but at least his play warrants some celebration this season. It appears that all Landry needed to do was be placed back at his preferred strong safety spot rather than trying to play centerfield against those pesky wide outs who utilize double moves far too often for Landry’s liking.

Landry has played at an All-Pro level all season long, but his overtime interception against Green Bay is easily one of the biggest moments of his young career.

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