Grading the Washington Football Team 2021 special teams

EAST RUTHERFORD, NEW JERSEY - JANUARY 09: Joey Slye #3 of the Washington Football Team celebrates a successful field goal with teammate Tress Way #5 in the second quarter of the game against the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium on January 09, 2022 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
EAST RUTHERFORD, NEW JERSEY - JANUARY 09: Joey Slye #3 of the Washington Football Team celebrates a successful field goal with teammate Tress Way #5 in the second quarter of the game against the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium on January 09, 2022 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /
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Washington Football Team Dustin Hopkins Joey Slye
LANDOVER, MARYLAND – NOVEMBER 29: Joey Slye #3 of the Washington Football Team celebrates a successful field goal with teammate Tress Way #5 in the first quarter of the game against the Seattle Seahawks at FedExField on November 29, 2021 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) /

Overall thoughts and grade for Washington Football Team STs

The Washington Football Team had a hot-and-cold special teams unit. Punting is never going to be bad thanks to Tress Way. Every year he proves himself to be one of the very best in the entire NFL.

However, he doesn’t get to control every single aspect of the unit. He had a punt blocked (which falls on the blocking). Meanwhile, his punts (when returnable) were often brought back quite a few yards. That nine yards allowed per return is pretty gross. As I mentioned in the punting section, Way earned a really high grade, but the rest of the unit brought it down.

The kicking didn’t have too much of a problem when it came to kickoffs. However, the field goals and extra points were a serious problem until Joey Slye arrived. Slye (and Brian Johnson who filled in while Slye was hurt) really steadied the unit.

That being said, they can’t completely erase how much Hopkins and Blewitt struggled. I did bump the grade up because the right man is on the team now and Slye needs to get an extension yesterday.

Finally, DeAndre Carter did all of the returning. And he was solid on punt returns but absolutely elite on kick returns. One of the very best in the entire NFL and possibly the MVP of the special teams.

So what do you get when you punt them all together? An elite punter with a not-very-good unit around him. A major kicking carousel issue was solved at the end of the year. One of the best returners in the game.

This all leads to a pretty solid grade that sees a bump thanks to Carter and Way. Most importantly though, Slye becoming the kicker really sealed things.

Next. 3 Houston Texans head coach options with Patriots ties. dark

Overall, the Washington Football Team special teams unit gets a B+ grade for the 2021 NFL season. Bring back Carter and Slye and let’s run it back in 2022. Maybe they can bump that grade up into the “A” range.