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90 Greatest: Who Makes The Cut?

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The ballot is out for the next ten players to be added to the list of greatest Washington players and coaches of all time.

As with most things surrounding the Commanders, there has already been controversy. The list of candidates was less than comprehensive, to say the least. After considerable backlash, Trent Williams and Robert Griffin III were added to round out the ballot.

Now that the list is complete, which ten Washington legends will be added to the list?

Let’s break down all the nominees and their chances at becoming one of the 90 greatest:

Trent Williams

Pro: As easily the team’s best player of the 2010’s, adding Williams to the ballot fixed a glaring omission. Williams was one of top left tackles in the league from the moment he took the field in 2010.

Con: A dispute with the team medical staff, and later the front office, led to Williams sitting out for a year and eventually being traded for relative peanuts. Omitting Williams from the initial ballot shows that those wounds still haven’t healed.

Verdict: Now that he is on the ballot, Trent Williams is a sure thing to be selected.

Alfred Morris

Pro: Morris was the “other” fantastic rookie in 2012, rushing for a team record 1,613 yards and 13 touchdowns. Teams were forced to respect Morris’s ability as a runner, which made the read option with Robert Griffin III the threat that it was. Unlike RGIII, Morris continued to produce beyond his rookie campaign, amassing 4713 rushing yards over four seasons, fifth all time for the team. Morris was beloved by fans for his play and his authenticity. His 1991 Mazda was almost as popular as he was. Morris always took time before games to hang out with stadium workers and was (is) by all accounts just a good dude. Jay Gruden’s distain for the running game led to Morris leaving in free agency in 2016.

Con: He left for Dallas. It’s not a great reason to lower his chances, the NFL is a business after all, but defecting to your team’s most hated opponent always leaves a bad taste.

Verdict: Despite his time with the Cowboys, Morris remains a fan favorite and is a shoe in to make the list.

Ryan Kerrigan

Pro: A first round pick in 2011, Kerrigan is a four time pro bowler, didn’t miss a start until his 9th season and is the franchise all time leader in sacks, with 95 1/2.

Con: Washington could have taken JJ Watt instead of trading back to select Kerrigan in the 2011 draft. It’s a reach but it’s all I’ve got.

Verdict: Book it. Kerrigan is a 100% lock.

DeAngelo Hall

Pro: Hall produced 23 interceptions, nine fumble recoveries, eight forced fumbles and six defensive touchdowns in ten seasons for his childhood favorite team. The DMV product was a brash ballhawk who backed up his talk more often than not. Since retirement, Hall has stayed in the fold as part of the team’s radio broadcast and an NFL Network analyst.

Con: Hall’s aggressive play and trash talk led to more than a few ill-timed penalties and costly fines.

Verdict: Hall’s highlights, media presence and local roots him an easy choice for the top 90.

Santana Moss

Pro: Moss played ten seasons in Washington, amassing 581 catches for 7,867 yards. He holds the single season receiving yards record, with 1,483. He produced some of the most memorable team highlights in the 2000’s, including scoring two touchdowns in the final five minutes to beat Dallas on a Monday night in 2005.

Con: I got nothing

Verdict: Moss’s nickname is “The Cowboy Killer.” He’s making the list.

Chris Cooley

Pro: Drafted in 2004, Cooley’s big plays, bigger personality, and small shorts made him an instant fan favorite. He amassed 429 catches, 4711 yards and 66 touchdowns in his nine seasons. His seamless move to the team broadcast booth and local media when his playing career ended has kept him in the public eye.

Con: In his media career, Cooley has at times been overly critical of some players and underly(?) critical of the front office, which may have soured some fans’ opinions of him.

Verdict: Cooley will almost certainly make the cut here.

London Fletcher

Pro: Fletcher spent the latter half of his career with Washington, but he aged like fine wine. The undersized linebacker never missed a game in his seven seasons with the team and averaged 136 tackles per season.

Con: After he retired, Fletcher had a public spat with then-defensive coordinator Jim Haslett, calling him “clueless” and slamming his “ineptitude at the defensive coordinator position,” which, while not wrong, may have slightly tarnished his good guy reputation.

Verdict: Fletcher easily makes the 90 greatest list

Stephen Davis

Pro: Davis is fourth all time in rushing yards for the team, with 5,790. The first, second, third, sixth, seventh and eighth rushers are all members of the 80 greatest list and the fifth (Morris) will be one of the next 10 players added. Like Morris, Davis was in the middle of his prime and one of the top backs in the league when he was made redundant by a coach (Steve Spurrier, this time) who had no interest in running the football.

Con: It is concerning that Davis was eligible for both the top 75 and 80 lists but wasn’t selected. These types of polls tend to reflect recency bias and Davis last played for the team 20 years ago.

Verdict: I can’t believe Davis isn’t already on the list. This mistake will almost certainly be rectified this time around. Almost certainly.

Champ Bailey

Pro: In five seasons with Washington, Bailey made four pro bowls, two all pro teams and finished second in defensive rookie of the year voting in 1999.

Con: Champ had a messy breakup with the team in 2005 and he spent his best years as a Denver Bronco.

Verdict: Even though he spent the bulk of his career elsewhere, Bailey was a special player in Washington and has a solid chance of making the top 90.

Robert Griffin III

Pro: Griffin had one of the all time great rookie seasons in team history in 2012. His 76 yard touchdown run against the Vikings is probably the single greatest team highlight of the past 15 years. Many fans are still convinced that he would be a hall of fame worthy player had he not injured his knee late that season. Griffin always be one of the biggest “What if?’s” in NFL history.

Con: He was never able to replicate the magic of that rookie season and finished his four years in Washington with a 14-21 record as a starter and never even saw the field in his last season with the team, despite being healthy all 16 games.

Verdict: One good season just isn’t enough to warrant a spot on this list. That said, this is a fan poll and there are a lot of young fans that view 2012 as the best team they have seen in their lifetimes, and RGIII is the reason why. The fact that he was added to the ballot due to fan backlash makes be believe he has a real chance.

Kirk Cousins

Pro: Like Robert Griffin III, Cousins is a polarizing player among the fan base. Unlike Griffin, Cousins has the numbers to warrant a spot on the ballot. Cousins is fourth in team history in passing yards, sixth in touchdown passes and first in completion percentage.

Con: Cousins put up gaudy stats in his time in DC but never really won over a fan base that couldn’t let go of RGIII. His failures to show up in big games certainly didn’t either and after years of contract drama, many fans weren’t upset to see him move on to Minnesota.

Verdict: Cousins and RGIII will forever be linked and the soap opera will continue. One of them will make this list while the other won’t, even though neither should.

Darryl Grant

Pro: Grant has given us two of the most iconic moments in team history: returning an interception for a touchdown to seal the 1982 NFC championship game against the Dallas Cowboys and breaking the window of a bus carrying replacement players to the stadium during the 1987 player’s strike.

Con: Grant was a solid starter for nine years but he only recorded 27 career sacks and played in an era before tackles were an official statistic. The numbers just aren’t there to elevate him.

Verdict: If he were going to make the list, he would have done it by now.

Mike Sellers

Pro: Sellers was an undrafted player who carved out a 14 year pro career as a fullback and tight end, even making a pro bowl in 2008.

Con: He only had 1022 receiving yards and 158 rushing yards in 11 years for Washington and his name isn’t exactly synonymous with “all time great.”

Verdict: He had a solid career but his chances here are very slim at best.

Chip Lohmiller

Pro: Lohmiller spent seven years as a kicker in Washington and was a second team all pro, pro bowler and Super Bowl champion in 1991. Fans fondly remember him as the second best kicker in team history, behind only Mark Mosley.

Con: Fond memories, are like mediocre kickers: They aren’t always accurate. Lohmiller connected on only 71% of his career field goal attempts and only 66% in the playoffs. He was eligible for the top 75 and 80 lists and is still waiting to be added.

Verdict: Lohmiller has an outside shot at making the list, but it would be a huge surprise.

Joe Lavender

Pro: Lavender is two time pro bowl cornerback who tallied 29 interceptions and won a Super Bowl during his seven seasons in DC.

Con: Lavender’s prime was spent playing in 8-8 purgatory, sandwiched between the George Allen and Joe Gibbs eras. Very few fans have fond memories of the team during that time period, and those that do probably don’t vote in online polls.

Verdict: like Grant and Lohmiller, Lavender’s best chance at making this list has likely come and gone.

Lavern Torgeson

Pro: Torgeson spent a total of 26 years with the team as a player and coach. He made three pro bowls as a linebacker in the 1950’s and oversaw very good defenses under George Allen, including the famous Over the Hill Gang in the early 70’s. “Torgy” later spent 12 seasons as the defensive line coach under Joe Gibbs and Richie Petitbon.

Con: Torgeson was a career assistant coach who was overshadowed by the legends he worked under.

Verdict: Torgeson belongs among the 90 greatest Redskins/Commanders. He is a long time, well respected player and coach for the organization. That said, the name recognition is just not there. Torgeson isn’t RGIII or Kirk Cousins, so he will probably be left off.

Larry Peccatiello

Pro: Along with Richie Petitbon, Peccatiello served as co-defensive coordinator under Joe Gibbs, contributing to the most successful era in team history.

Con: Ask anyone not named Larry Peccatiello who the defensive coordinator under Joe Gibbs was. Dollars to donuts they don’t answer “Larry Peccatiello.”

Verdict: Not happening.

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