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I’m all in on _______ as the new quarterback for the Redskins in 2012. Vague? Maybe. But focus not on the blank, but on the word “new”. New as in not Rex Grossan or John Beck. This year more than any I can remember, the QB options abound for teams picking near the top of the draft. All of which seem to be better than what they have had since Jason Campbell left town.
Some likely options:
Peyton Manning- The 800 lbs gorilla in the room is; will he get the strength back and be able to make all of the throws he could in the past? Let’s assume that he can. Save for the neck stuff, he has been an iron man. He’s otherwise healthy, takes care of himself and should be able to play for four or five more years. Mike Shanahan will trust him enough to hand over the control that Manning will need to be effective. With QB of his caliber at the helm, just sit back and watch how much better everyone else gets. The O line suddenly gets better because of quicker decision making and a faster release. The receivers somehow manage to get open more often and now get more yards after the catch. Accuracy makes a mediocre receiver look good. Witness the wideouts who looked good in New England , and could not produce anywhere else. With fewer men in the box, instantly your running backs seem to be more explosive and have better vision. When you play with a lead, watch how many sacks Kerrakpo can post. Manning’s health is a big IF, but even under a best case scenario, they must draft his replacement this year or next. The draft is deep with QB’s this year, so now is probably the time.
Matt Flynn- I know, I know three games is not a big enough sample to judge a quarterback. Kevin Kolb, Matt Cassel, and Scott Mitchell show that it is a big risk to take Matt Flynn. And if I had a dime for every back-up QB who threw 6 TD’s against a play-off team, I’d have….oh yeah. A dime. The big indicator will be if Dolphin’s new head coach, Joe Philbin goes after him hard in free agency. Philbin was Flynn’s offensive coordinator last year, and if the Dolphins are not interested, then nobody should be. I just know that in one game he threw three times as many TD passes as John Beck did in three. Maybe 20 years of mediocrity or worse has made me willing to accept anything new, with the promise of being better than the last. He likely won’t cost any draft picks, and his salary number is reported to be in the 3-4 million dollar range(I suspect it will go much higher). So in that regard the risk is fairly low.
Robert Griffin III- This guy just makes me salivate. I mean he could be the next Heath Shuler. Wait, wait. That’s not what I meant. He could be the highest pick the Redskins have ever used for a QB. Assuming they trade up to the second position to get him. He has everything that you would want. Big arm, fast, smart, accurate, and fast. Did I say fast? The great thing about him is, that despite blazing speed, he always looks to pass first. He moves in the pocket, shifts to avoid pressure, and keeps his eyes downfield the whole time. But when everything breaks down, he’ll bolt from the pocket and make defenders look silly trying to catch him. That is a skill that he’ll need on a team like the Redskins. The downside is it will cost a ton in draft picks to get him. Obviously they’ll swap the #6 pick with (the Rams?) plus next year’s first rounder and another pick. Possibly another first rounder. That’s a lot, BUT… Look at the last 6 or 7 Super Bowls. The odds of winning one without at top shelf QB are slim. So roll the dice. You can build a team safely and get to 9-7. Where’s the fun in that?
Kyle Orton and Ryan Tannehill/Brock Osweiler/Kirk Cousins/Brandon Weeden/etc- Kyle Orton looks like an NFL QB. I liked him at Purdue. He just looked like a pro. But results at the pro level tell a different story. He lost his job in Denver to Tim Tebow, who completes about 45% of his passes. He does not suck. He could improve the Redskins to 10-6, but that is not the goal. He would however serve as a bridge to the new guy. The same role that Grossman was supposed to play, except better. What evidence do I have? None. But could it be worse?
Life under the Snyder regime has lead many fans to a point at which we will take anything over the suckitude that we currently endure. But this year feels different. The landscape is lush with choices. More than half of which should be successful. I’ve been told that Shanahan is a great judge of QB talent. If so, he’ll make the right choice. If not, a fourth whiff in three years will earn him his walking papers. A new QB will buy him at least two more years, but make no mistake, this next choice of QB is his Rubicon. Get it right, and it’s wine and rose. Get it wrong, and it’s… Well we know what it is. We’ve seen it for 20 years.
I wrote a week ago that Matt Flynn was going to steal somebody’s money in free agency this year. Much like Scott Mitchell and Kevin Kolb before him. This was before he lit the Lions up for 480 yards and six touchdowns in week 17. I am starting to hope that the money he gets is from one Daniel Milhouse Snyder. Wow. I can see why Snyder likes to play GM. Because for the casual football fan who doesn’t know the difference between a 3 technique and a 5 technique, there are lots of shiny things out there to get you excited. RGIII, Flynn, Justin Blackmon, they all look so pretty through the store window.
But history has shown us again and again that all that glitters is not gold. As much as everyone, myself included, hates the way that Snyder has operated the Redskins, I would end up running my team the same way. How hard it must be to sit on the sideline and watch the grown ups buy the groceries. I, just like Snyder would be sitting in the cart screaming “No! Not the Broccoli, I want a Zagnut Bar!”
Just a week ago I was hoping for way to get RGIII. Now its Flynn in free agency, and Blackmon in the draft. 480 yards and six touchdowns! In one freakin’ game. It would take Rex Grossman four outings to produce numbers like that. And he’d have 7 picks and a fumble to add to it.
My point is to illustrate that this is hard. Tom Brady went in the sixth round. Half of the scouts thought Ryan Leaf was a better option that Peyton Manning. People were noting the lack of red-headed quarterbacks in conversations about Andy Dalton. Snyder is a fan just like the rest of us. I for one am glad we now have Shanahan and Allen running things. They are a strong tandem with enough NFL cred to keep Snyder quiet. You want to get rid of Shanahan? You’ll end up with a shopping cart full of Zagnuts and Dana Stubblefield’s.
In the tiny logical part of my brain, I still think Matt Flynn in poised to pull a major heist. But please, steal it in Ashburn, VA.