Any true football fan knows that rebuilding goes on for every team every year. Sure some teams might do less than others, sacrifice their draft picks for immediate talent, and in some cases that works. Then you’ve got teams like the Patriots, Colts, and Steelers (all perennial powerhouses so-to-speak) who trade talent for picks, cut the dead weight, and accumulate draft picks and stock up on potential future talent.
Redskins fans need look no further than the division for proof that you can start out sloppy while building younger. The Giants during their Super Bowl with the Baltimore Ravens weren’t a young team, and had many vets. They eventually grabbed their quarterback of the future in Eli Manning, and surrounded him with youth, cutting a lot of the older talent on the team. The defensive line was replaced by fast, physical players who had years and years ahead of them, and learned well under future Hall of Famer, Michael Strahan.
Then you’ve got the Eagles, whom boasted one of the oldest teams in the league several years ago before establishing that the receiver corps was not sufficient and finding themselves a DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin. McNabb was ultimately traded, and Brian Westbrook released for a younger LeSean McCoy. The defense lost veteran leader after veteran leader and injected youth at every position on the field.
The case with both teams? Patience. These makeovers didn’t happen over night. Neither team had a great season before their overhaul began. Sure they found some success during the overhaul, but they were already in stable conditions prior to the makeover. The Redskins? We’ve been one of the most unstable teams in the league.
Fans league-wide look at the Redskins roster and see talent, they see names who have clout on the field somewhere or another, but everyone, especially Redskins know, this isn’t a paper league. The game is played on the field. This is a team that for years the offense was ignored, and people expected the players who were finally focused on with offense to be the saviors and stars they really could not be.
But there is potential on this roster, and the Redskins are rebuilding… we’re just not in the game of a sudden overhaul. The veterans on this team: Philip Daniels, London Fletcher, Vonnie Holliday, Clinton Portis, Santana Moss… these are guys who can produce still, and are capable of teaching and leading our team into the next generation. This is why they’re being kept around. But remember, since the season began, the Redskins have dropped out of their “oldest team in the league” category, and that’s including losing a lot of young talent to injured reserve and having to replace them.
For everyone who thinks we’re the same old Redskins team and organization… do you really think anyone with the exception of Joe Gibbs would have been allowed to pull what Mike Shanahan has pulled? It’s fair to be mad at him for what he went through with Albert Haynesworth… we’re not SUPPOSED to be fans of the head coach, he’s supposed to be the authority who pisses people off. But I do say this, never forget the key that Haynesworth accepted the check of $21 million, and still refused to abide by the stipulations of the Shanahan-era.
As far as the benching of Donovan McNabb goes, I say this to you… Mike Shanahan knows quarterbacks. Furthermore, a slower, less mobile John Elway scrambled and scratched & clawed for much tougher yards than McNabb has tried to so far this season. Anyone following me on Twitter (@Sean_Bishop) has seen during games my frustration with McNabb’s refusal to tuck the ball after seeing the receivers not getting open, and picking up a few easy yards to keep second or third down manageable rather than taking a sack or trying to force a throw into windows, or force receivers out of coverage. Sure, it’s not McNabb’s fault the line hasn’t always held up, or that the receivers aren’t getting open… but everyone has seen McNabb miss things… and coaches surely see a lot more of the misses that we don’t. And while everyone assumes this is the end of McNabb in Washington already, I must remind you that the contract was structured brilliantly by Allen to be incentives-based, and to reduce the hit we’d take if we ultimately decided we had to cut McNabb.
The problem with McNabb is his decision-making, and that he’s not making decisions simple and plain. He’s not picking the best options to throw to (usually a wide-open Cooley) and he’s not running when nothing is open downfield and he’s got space to pick up yards. He’s not even throwing the ball away when he’s under duress with nobody open and nowhere to run. McNabb is playing like he’s scared to let the big-play get away from him and it’s all he can rely on… and that has ultimately stalled drives and cost us points in crucial moments of games.
This isn’t a Vinny Cerrato structured deal like we saw with Haynesworth, like we have with Portis where cutting him resulted in the immediate loss of $21 million… this is a deal which represents the incredible change we’ve undergone so far in management and overseeing by Dan Snyder. This is the change fans have begged for since Snyder bought the franchise – so now that you’ve got it, be patient, and be happy.
My disappointment and frustration with the Redskins right now is the players’ complete disregard for future, with this team and with the league. Guys who cannot fight for their job this season or next, stand very little chance being looked at elsewhere. But there are a few players who stand out, and while they may not be your best-in-the-league kind of guys, they’re the type of players who stand out as reliable and loyal to this coach and these schemes.
We all want to remain competitive for the rest of the year, and feel as though McNabb gives us a better shot at that than Grossman does… but we know for sure that McNabb hasn’t been the stable-enough choice (not saying Grossman is either) and we need to focus on improving beyond what McNabb was able to give us and look for our future. Any Redskin fan who expected to see playoff wins this year, I ask you to remove your head out of the ass that was the Snyder-Cerrato Deadskins, and look around at the change that has occurred left and right for the Redskins.
Hail to the Redskins! Hail victory. Braves on the warpath! Fight, for old DC!