CHICAGO - OCTOBER 24: Devin Hester #23 of the Chicago Bears avoids a tackle attempt by Carlos Rogers #22 of the Washington Redskins at Soldier Field on October 24 2010 in Chicago Illinois. The Redskins defeated the Bears 17-14. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Devin Hester; Carlos Rogers
Carlos Rogers is an enigma: good in coverage, terrible at catching the ball. He is also a free agent. Should the Redskins bring him back next year?
Over the last few weeks, we have been going through some of the key Redskins free agents, who they should keep and who they should let walk. Last week, we talked about Rocky McIntosh and Jamaal Brown. This week the subject will be on cornerback Carlos Rogers.
Carlos Rogers’ 2010 Season
Before we go into his 2010 campaign, let’s go back in time a few years:
It’s January of 2006. The Redskins were in the divisional round of the playoffs (I know, right?), and were facing Matt Hasselbeck and the eventual NFC champion Seattle Seahawks. Then-MVP Shaun Alexander was knocked out of the game from a concussion he received early via a hit received from Marcus Washington and LaVar Arrington. The Redskins had the early momentum, forcing Seattle to put the game in the hands of Hasselbeck without his star running back. One of the games’ forgotten critical plays came early in the second quarter, on a Hasselbeck attempted pass. As he dropped back, Hasselbeck threw a pass late into the flat, and a young rookie cornerback named Carlos Rogers got a tremendous break on the ball. It looked like the youngster had a great shot to intercept the pass and in all likelihood, take it to the house.
But it wasn’t to be. Because he dropped it. He was in great position and he was unable to come up with what could have been a game changing play.
Moments like that would go on to define Rogers’ six-year career in Washington. He was always able to get in position to make plays, but more often than not, he was unable to come up with that game-changing interception. It happened so often that it became a common topic of discussion among Redskins fans over the years. The burgundy and gold faithful wondered if Rogers would ever put it together and pair his solid coverage skills with some consistent playmaking ability.
Flash forward to 2010, Rogers’ contract year, and Redskins fans were treated to, well, more of the same.
As the season started, new defensive coordinator Jim Haslett seemed to be a big fan of Rogers’ strengths, and didn’t focus much on his weaknesses:
"I'm a fan of Carlos Rogers," Haslett said. "He's got really good cover skills. I think he's a special type of guy. I can see why they drafted him in the first round. Here's a guy that's big, long, fast, tough. You don't find too many guys like that."
Haslett saw the sixth-year cornerback as one who is physical with receivers at the line of scrimmage, can tackle well and can even come on some cornerback blitzes. Rogers was able to do a good job at excelling in those areas during the season.
There were moments where he was able to take receivers out of the game, and forced opposing quarterbacks to rely on other options. And when it was time to get physical, he did. The best example was in Philadelphia when he and the rest of the secondary were tasked with stopping the small but speedy Eagles receiving corps that featured big play threats DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin. He was able consistently put his hands on receivers and jam them at the line of scrimmage throughout the game, and as a result, effectively took them out of the contest.
However, as Redskins fans found out the hard way, he was still prone to having the critical drop. It always seemed like the bigger the situation, the more likely a Carlos Rogers drop was to occur. Fans were still quick to point out this year’s crop of dropped picks rather than appreciate his cover skills.
Rogers finished the season with two interceptions and 12 "pass deflections." He had health issues as the season went on as well, and missed four games due to calf and hamstring issues. He certainly didn’t finish the season the way he would have wanted to, but by the end of the season, he was still considered the team’s top cover corner.
So Should He Stay Or Should He Go?
Rogers made a few comments in recent months that would intimate that he believes he did not get a fair shake here in Washington and that if he would have caught a few more interceptions, he would have been a perennial Pro Bowler. He certainly seems to think he is an elite corner, and as such, probably wants to get paid like one.
If he is willing to drop his asking price, perhaps the Redskins would want to bring him back and sign him to a reasonable contract. He’ll be 30 going into the 2011 season, and seems to have several years of solid play ahead of him. Add to that the fact that the Redskins backup corners that are under contract right now are Kevin Barnes and Byron Westbrook, and you could have a potential depth issue if the Redskins decide to let him walk.
Washington already has a playmaking cornerback in DeAngelo Hall, and they need a corner with good cover skills opposite of him that can make up for his gambling ways in coverage. Rogers seems fits that bill, even though he doesn’t always make the plays that Redskins fans want him to make.
Rogers should stay in Washington. Despite the criticism he’s received in his career, he is still an above average NFL cornerback. That being said, his over appraisal of his own abilities coupled with his desire to get paid may force the Redskins to just let the ninth pick of the 2005 draft walk in free agency.
And now back to your regularly-scheduled Albert Haynesworth bashing.