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I’ve tried to figure out why my motivation to post on this has been at absolute zero for the last six months, and I have finally come to a conclusion. Robert Griffin and the improvement this season, have wiped away my fan angst, and thus my desire to vent on a weekly basis. However as my childlike optimism approaches Christmas Eve level excitement, I once again feel compelled to write. Please forgive me if I start taking victory laps, and point out that maybe Bruce Allen and the Shanahans may actually know what they are doing.
So let’s begin the Worldwidebleater renaissance with a few predictions for Sunday’s tilt against the Eagles.
1- Robert Griffin will burn down the stadium. Figuratively of course. He is one of the most competitive guys in the league. And make no mistake, he is not without an ego. While it is not arrogance or boastfulness, he thinks the world of himself and his abilities. He has now spent the last seven days listening to various media outlets speculate about Kirk Cousins’ trade value. As well as the fact that Cousins’ 329 yards last week against the Browns was more than any of Griffin’s totals. He’s also heard what a genius Kyle Shanahan is, and how he can do it with anybody. My guess is that he has spent the last week in a Michael Jordan like fugue state. Imagining slights, disrespect, and enemies that don’t exist. We will see a quarterback prepared like no other. He will put on a clinic this week.
2- At some point Chris Cooley will have a breakout game. Nobody expects him to do anything other than block. He didn’t sudenly forget how to play football. I will concede that he has probably slowed down, but when your are ignored you can be lethal. Much in the way that Darrell Young reels off a 25 yarder form time to time. I predict that the next time he is targeted, he will score a touchdown.
3-This defense will be in the top ten next season. They have improved markedly since the bye week, and this is a very young team. I think Crawford will continue to improve, especially since he’s going to be active every week returning punts. Jarvis Jenkins in starting to show the promise we were, uh….promised. Add to that, I belive that if Chase Minnifield gets healthy for next season, he’ll be really good. That’s a gut feeling only. Kind of like the winning lottery ticket, on which I I have yet to check the numbers. Carricker will be back, and hopefully Orakpo will be able to fully recover. I underestimated his impact on the pass rush, and considered him to be a tad overrated by the fan base. Redskin fans have had a tendency over the last ten years or so to call guys who don’t suck, great.
Anyway, let’s enjoy the ride. As I emailed one sports radio guy last week: Allow yourself to love again. This is fun. Don’t worry about getting your heart broken. You’ll know when it’s “the one”. Robert Griffin is the one. HTTR!!
Damn. Just Damn. More to come.
Among the Redskins faithful, there has been much gnashing of teeth since Robert Griffin III, performed at the NFL combine last week. The voices have been loud in the “Should they/ shouldn’t they” argument. The argument against is largley this: He will cost too much in the form of surrendered draft picks, and thus will cripple them going forward. That leaves me with two questions. What is a franchise quarterback worth? And is now the time to go all in on the guy, regardless of who he may be?
In regard to the first question. If there is somebody among the littany of QB choices this year, that the Shanahan/Allen regime believes is absolutely the guy, then they should pay whatever the price may be. It’s become a cliche’, but this is a quarteback league. Teams simply must have a top tier QB to succeed at the highest level. And by that, I mean play in a Super Bowl. The NFL has tweaked and twisted the rules to make quarterbacks ever more important.
People love to immediatley blurt out “TENT DILFER” when it is pointed out that a great QB is essential. But look at the facts. Since Dilfer won 11 years ago in 2001, there have been 22 starting QB slots in Super Bowls. Of those 22 slots only five were not filled by guys who, at some point in their career were in the Hall of Fame conversation. Rich Gannon, Brad Johnson, Matt Hasselbeck, Jake Delhome, and wait for it…. Sexy Rexy. The other 17 have been top level guys. Before you scream, “McNabb is not top level!”, back it up Skippy. Yes, the last few years have been tough for McNabb. But prior to his decline, he was NFC Player of the year, NFC offensive player of the year, a 6 time Pro-Bowler, and went to 4 NFC Championship games and a Super Bowl.
More recently, you have to go back to ’07 with Rex to see anyone in the big game, who is not a stone cold asassin at the QB position. Simply put, no team is going to be great without a great quarterback. So keep all the draft picks you want. Without a sniper behind center, it’s all for naught.
Lately I keep hearing “why all the ugency now?”. Two reasons, really. First, they hit rock bottom in 2011 with Rex and Beck. Second, they have not, in the last 15 years, been in a better situation to make the move. They have tons of cap room if a free agent is the answer. But more importantly, draft-wise they are in the best position I can remember.
In order to draft in the top two or three positions, you generally have to have 3 or fewer wins. It is hard to be that bad. But at number six, with 8 picks this year they are as close as they may get for a while. RGII may cost as much three first rounders, but that really means two. They’re going to swap number ones this year and lose two of the next two. The leaders have shown me enough, to have faith that they can find talent in the later rounds. Plus, consider this. The addition of Leonard Hankerson and Jarvis Jenkins next year, is kind of like getting two high picks this year. The concensus in Ashburn is that these two will be good, and gave the team nearly nothing last year.
Mediocrity at QB would be a huge leap forward for the Redskins. But ulitimately that is an anchor on the team. Moving to 8-8 only keep them from getting the stud they really need. I don’t evaluate players for a living, so I’m not sure who that stud is. But there is a legion of people in Ashburn who do. So, at ther end end of the day, if they find the guy, do whatever it takes to make him your guy.
As the Washington Redskins again cruise through December on the way to yet another disappointing season, we as fans are faced with the question: Are things getting better or worse? As of late, there has been a groundswell of public opinion to fire the Shanahans and start over again. One of the smartest things I’ve heard on the topic was from ESPN 980 DC’s Steve Czaban in an interview with Kevin Sheehan , on his pre-game shows a couple of weeks ago. I paraphrase here: Shanahan may not be the answer, changing coaches after two years again is definitely not the answer. He has since changed his mind on this, and is now screaming for his head on a pike.
Most people seem to be of the mindset to judge this team on it’s record. Which admittedly has been bad. Shanahan has up to this point a worse record than his predecessor, Jim “Maroon and Black” Zorn. However, what has changed, is the philosophy. For years the idea was that the Redskins were just a couple of pieces away from being a good team again. This was held from ownership, to the GM, to the coaches, on down to the fans. But adding pieces in that manner has lead to a team that consistently clung to the lower end of mediocrity.
Now to the analogy portion of our lesson. Mike Shanahn has chosen to remove all of the rot from the structure and replace it with new fresh lumber. The Redskins are continuing to get younger at nearly every position, and those young guys will need some time to learn and grow in the system. Witness the offensive line, which has continued to improve despite being down to third string at some positions.
Judging a rebuilding team on its’s record can be mis-leading. We may have fewer wins, but I think we have bigger upside in the future. I’m tired of people citing the “one year turn-arounds” in the league every year. These are a myth. Take Detroit. This did not happen overnight. Stafford-3rd season, Pettigrew 3rd season, Kyle Vandenbosch 2nd season, Calvin Johnson 5th season. They have been putting pieces in place for a while. But it seems like it happened all at once, because they won only 8 games combined in the previous two years.
As fans we have been living in a lean-to for the last 20 years. It kept the rain off of us, but offered little else in terms of security. Shanahan has offered to build us a three bedroom house. The foundation is done, the walls are going up, but the roof is not on. We as fans are now crying because it doesn’t keep the rain out yet. Patience people, patience.