Thursday, December 9, 2010

Blame Shanahan

Blame Shanahan for blowing up the Redskins' top-10 defense, so-ranked the past two years even though the offense couldn't stay on the field. The idea was a bit crazy -- change from 4-3 to 3-4, though the defense was built to play 4-3 and key players would be made unsuitable. The aim was to confuse opposing quarterbacks more.  Force more turnovers.  The latter has happened and an argument could be made that the 3-4 is generally a more effective defense.  But Washington's defense has dropped to bottom five this year.  The problem with the Skins switching now is that the team already faces an enormous challenge rebuilding its offense -- and that is where Shanahan's focus should be ... on finding four more starting O-linemen, three new starting wide receivers, running backs. And oh yes, a franchise quarterback who will eventually replace Donovan McNabb.  Some say it could take two, three four years to do all that.  Now the team must also find players suited for 3-4, a solid nose tackle, defensive ends to compliment Brian Orakpo. And linebackers.  Is Shanahan planning on sticking it out five years until everything is in place?  Is the Skins' fickle fanbase willing to? Maybe it will work out in five years, but maybe it won't. Personnel development in the NFL is ultimately an imperfect science. Rather than breaking and fixing what wasn't broken, Shanahan should have come in focused on fixing what was.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Re-signing McNabb a smart move

Why? Because for Shanahan and for owner Dan Snyder, McNabb is essentially a caretaker quarterback. He's someone who gives Washington's suspect offense an air of legitimacy, someone who gives the team at least a fighting chance, and someone who brings a nice-guy image to the face of a crumby franchise that hopes to keep fans paying for overpriced seats as the team rebuilds. 

This team has so many holes to fill, on offense and defense, it cannot necessarily afford to invest immediately in a new franchise quarterback. And even if it wanted to, it could take several years to find the right one. And there should be no hurry sign one anyway, it also could take several years for the team to recruit the personnel needed for a serious run at the playoffs.  Redskins fans by and large recognize the team is in desperate need of a major roster upgrade.  But at the same time, they're impatient for competent play after years of mediocrity despite front office hype and flopping big name acquisitions.  McNabb at least theoretically brings competence and credibility at that one key position as the team endeavors to upgrade its O-Line, receiving corps, D-Line, and so on. He doesn't have to be great.  If he plays well across the season, he'll keep hope alive among the fanbase and butts in seats at Fedex Field and he'll make good money.  And if his play is poor or the team is able to bring in a better replacement, they reportedly could cut him without a massive financial hit. 

It seems they got this one right.  But maybe not. An irritated and impatient fanbase, inflamed by sometimes rabid sports talk and DC's notoriously aggressive sports press, simply may not tolerate even a competent team, as the team rebuilds, and may drive him out of town.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Poor Haynesworth has dug his hole

According to NFL Network, Haynesworth complains he has been sold a bill of goods because the Redskins are switching schemes to a 3-4.  My problem with Haynesworth isn't that he wants to leave, it's that he's appeared so out of shape, lazy and uncooperative that no other team wants to give up much for his immense ability.  It's a hole he's dug for himself -- and for the Redskins, who want to unload him because they're changing scheme, which is their due.  He shouldn't whine, because he's got no one else to blame.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Why the McNabb deal is good -- the Skins do care about this year

Differing with Wise's assessment in the post. This trade is good.  It looked  for a while like the new regime was only building toward the future, several years out, with the way they were cutting players and not signing new ones.  But now we see they do care about next season.  Maybe they won't go all the way.  That's pretty damn difficult for even the best teams to do.  But at least now they're working on giving themselves a fighting chance.  And unlike in previous years, we're not spending outrageous money to do so on questionable talent. I always liked Campbell but his throwing style was too slow to be consistent on short passes with a patchwork offensive line and he's been inconsistent with the long ball as well.  McNabb has been great despite terrible protection, and he's never lost his guts or motivation. As a fan, it would be nice to see the Skins at least try to win for the next three years while we rebuild.  My only concern right now is that they build that O-line with young talent through the draft and elsewhere, and quick..

Thursday, March 11, 2010

As I was saying ...

Mike Shanahan, Bruce Allen rebuild Redskins at their own, measured pace

It seems there is no pressure on Coach Mike Shanahan and General Manager Bruce Allen to attempt to rebuild the Redskins overnight.

Although Shanahan and Allen have not publicly laid out their plans, the writing appears to be on the wall in large letters. After years of questionable front-office decisions, the Redskins' roster and organization are in the process of being overhauled, albeit slowly...

Monday, March 8, 2010

Recruiting for future years

GM Allen's quick release of significant existing talent and slo-go approach to free agency seem to indicate a long-term view towards recruitment -- with an eye toward the 2011 and 2012 playoffs, rather than this years'. Fanbase should expect more disappointment this year and hope that his choices pay off in the long-term.