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Need to Know: Five Redskins who have exceeded expectations

Nov 10, 2013, 6:50 AM EDT

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Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, November 10, seven days before the Washington Redskins play the Philadelphia Eagles.

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The Redskins will get back to work tomorrow to try to work their way from 3-6 back up to at least respectability if not a playoff berth. Here are five players who have exceeded expectations this year. In this space tomorrow we’ll look at five who have not lived up to preseason hopes.

1. Some fans were delighted when DeAngelo Hall was released in a salary cap move last spring but now one shudders to think where the Redskins’ pass defense would be had the team not signed him back. At times you can’t help but notice him as he has three interceptions and has returned two for touchdowns. At other times you go for long stretches of the game without hearing his name because he’s shutting down the likes of Dez Bryant.

2. Leonard Hankerson still needs to develop consistency as he sometimes disappears during games. He still has some improving to do before the Redskins can declare him to be that solid No. 2 receiver option. But he is on pace for 52 receptions for 650 yards and six touchdowns, a solid improvement over last year’s line of 39/453/3. Hankerson might never be a star but if he continues his steady improvement he’ll be a solid asset.

3. Perhaps if the Redskins had not been working under an $18 million salary cap penalty, Tyler Polumbus would have been replaced during the offseason. Now, if you look at the NFL offensive tackle rankings on Pro Football Focus (premium content), Polumbus is the ninth-best tackle in the league. He gets positive marks both in terms of run blocking and, yes, pass blocking. PFF says that he has allowed just one sack this year after giving up eight in 2012.

4. After leading the team in rushing in 2011, Roy Helu Jr. had a lost 2012 season after going on injured reserve early in the year. Alfred Morris emerged as the stud running back but Helu has managed to carve out a nice role for him self as a change of pace runner (40 carries, 171 yards, 4 TDs), receiver out of the backfield (17 receptions, 174 yards), and as a solid blocker in third and long and two-minute situations.

5. A lot of people thought that third-round pick Jordan Reed would be able to put up numbers like he has so far this season (44 receptions, 487 yards, 3 TDs)—but in 2014 or 2015. Reed was a spectator for all of OTAs and minicamp while rehabbing an injury and he missed some time in training camp as well. But he has made up for lost time in part by frequently being the last player off of the practice field.

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