A posthumous analysis of any NFL team’s “season that was” reveals its share of busts and breakout stars. It is a tribute and a consequence of the volatility of pro football—a profession where aging stars are swiftly claimed by injuries, father time and salary cap realities, while a new crop of young, hungry players arrive annually seeking fortune and fame. It is a recurring cycle as brutal and unapologetic as the sport itself.
Considering those facts of NFL life, the candidate list of breakouts and busts for the 2012 edition of the Washington Redskins was long and either distinguished or inglorious. What was unique about the exercise was that, for the first time in recent memory, the breakouts outnumbered the busts. What in the name of Dana Stubblefield, Adam Archuleta, Deion Sanders and Albert Haynesworth is going on here? Competence? Maybe. For now, let’s just go to the lists.