I got an email from my #1 Redskins homeboy Johnny "One Account" Rhodes (he treats all of his clients SO well, you'd swear you were his "one account!") and he took issue with what he thinks is some "circular" logic by me about the Redskins, 10 games into the Shanny regime.
Sometimes, you say enough things, reacting to enough games, that the message gets mixed. So let me state for the record, where I think this team sits right now, how we got here, and where we are going.
(Note: see Johnny's original email below).
I would say simply: This is a talent poor roster, that has gotten lucky (or "fortunate" if your tender Skins fan ears can't take "lucky") to be 5-5.
Which is okay. That is a "micro" analysis of the TEAM. Not the franchise, or roster.
As for "rebuilding", no we are NOT rebuilding. To me, that's the "macro."
We "patched" this year and went with a BUNCH of dead-end vets to "plug" holes.
We traded for a veteran QB. Not rebuilding.
We sent away 3 prime draft picks for players. Not rebuilding.
We signed the following "dead end" players, mind you, not TERRIBLE, per se. Just guys who are going NOWHERE in the next 3 years, much less 5.
OLD Dudes Brought In As Patches
Philip Buchanan - dead end (9th year vet, on his 5th team.)
Joey Galloway - dead end (16th year. 39 year old WR's are totally worthless. Give his reps to Terrance Austin.)
Vonnie Holiday - dead end (13th year)
Rex Grossman - dead end (9th year player, will hold a clipboard the rest of his career).
Maake Kemoeatu - 9th year player, chronic injuries
Artis Hicks - 9th year player, battling injuries
NOT OLD.. But..
Adam Carriker - dead end (Skins moved down 28 spots in 5th round to get him from Rams. Has a chronic shoulder injury.)
Larry Johnson - cut
Willie Parker - cut
Two Big Trades of Picks (Future) for Players (Now)
LT Jamaal Brown (4th or 5th rounder, depending).
Former Pro Bowler (oohhhh, Pro Bowl!) who was out all last year with a sports hernia and hip surgery. Could have chronic hip issues.
Donovan McNabb (2nd and a 4th or 5th, see above)
Former 6 time Pro Bowler who is battling hamstrings and has missed 17 games over the previous 5 years with the Eagles. Great intangibles, leadership, marketability. However, those values were undercut by his benching by Shanahan. Commitment to him remains lukewarm, IMHO.
Aging Vets Who Have Been Good/Great/Solid, But Are Going to Fade Quickly
Philip Daniels - 15th Year. Like the guy will never leave.
Andre Carter - 10th year player, out of position
London Fletcher - 13th year, awesome stud. But how many more good years?
Clinton Portis - FINISHED
Casey Rabach - FINISHED
Vinny Era Guys Who are Apparently out of Favor
B+ Vets With Gas Still In Tank
There are some potential gems.... stress POTENTIAL
Keiland Williams - UFA Rookie
Ryan Torain - UFA (was out of football for a year, and has a ongoing groin/hammy issues)
Anthony Armstrong - Intense Football League in the house!
Brandon Banks - breathtakingly fast, but small.
Sooooo... all told, here's what I think Shanallenhan did this season. The "patched" and "marketed." Which I'm not mad about, per se, but it added up to a wasted year. They have to loop back, and start REALLY re-building in the off-season.
What I would have done is this...
Don't trade for McNabb. Keep the picks. Who would be your QB then? Tough call. I couldn't support more Campbell, but since Vinny didn't leave a young guy (legit, not Colt) in the pipeline, this would have been a rough year. You could have gone with Grossman.
Don't trade for Brown. Keep the pick. He's a RIGHT tackle, for gods sake, not a left. Find somebody. Play him. Take your lumps.
Cut Portis. Even though he busted his ass in the off-season to get in shape, he was extremely unlikely to be our starting RB in 2011, so give his carries elsewhere. When you add up the last two years of Portis, we missed the exit ramp on this cat by two full seasons.
Keep Devin Thomas. I don't care how big a bag shit he might have been, hold his hand for one fucking year, and if he still is a bag of shit in Jan 2011, THEN you can cut him.
Trade Haynesworth for that 4th rounder. The team got hung up in the money, and Shanny showing how "tough" he was going to be. #FailFail. Al's given us virtually nothing this year, and is now excused from actually playing the scheme as intended.
Don't bother with Johnson and Parker. Those were stupid. The whole league knew neither guy had anything left. In the meantime, there are Danny Woodheads out there. Go find one.
The rest of the aging roster, you are just going to have to work through, like a store moving through unsold inventory. But at least with my plan, you would have four extra picks in the first 4 rounds. And so what if you are 2-8 right now? To me, non-playoff years are non-playoff years. 4-12 is not much different than 9-7.
Except 9-7 can be worse, if it is a wallpapered 9-7. If it's a dead-end 9-7.
I'm glad we have a "real" coach in Shanny. But my god, his ego is fucking Jupiter sized. And his track record for talent evaluation is super-dicey. So I worry. Alot.
There's a larger dynamic as well that is troubling. It's this. Star coaches never want to rebuild. Ever. They don't want 4-12 their record, because it makes them look less, well, GENIUS like!
Someday, I would want a coach like Harbaugh in Baltimore, or McCarthy in Green Bay, or Payton in New Orleans. I want the hungry guy, who has YET to get his first big coaching contract. I don't want the TV commentator guy. Gruden and Cowher? I bet they fail at their next stop. Being on TV means you are always right, and leads to being an inflexible dick.
Look at the Snyder coaching hires.
Marty - Star with total control.
Spurrier - Star college coach.
Gibbs - Legacy star.
Zorn - Stooge
Shanny - Star coach.
Nowhere in there, is a young, hungry, LEGITIMATE head coach in waiting. Zorn was on NOBODY's radar, and not young. He was 54 when he was hired.
Bruce Allen is a nice guy. But I'm calling him the alumni director and Mr. Goldpants. Because I don't think he really has much personnel hammer.
So here we are. A very weak roster, poisoned by HORRIBLE shortsightedness from Gibbs (my god he wasted so many f'ing picks!) and continued by Vinny stoogery (witness the three 2nd round WR/TE bust draft).
The new regime came in, and just couldn't stomach the thought of TRUE rebuilding, and so they "marketed" and "patched." McNabb is marketing (along with Bruce Allen's harkening to the team's past) and you saw the list of patches above.
Note, it doesn't mean McNabb was ALL marketing, or even a BAD idea. But there was a distinct marketing element to that trade, given that he became the face of the new team and the centerpiece of various marketing campaigns.
And the patching isn't bad, PER SE, mind you, but I don't call it "rebuilding." We have the oldest team in the league this year. And guess what. We did last year, too! That's not exactly moving the needle toward youth.
This team will eventually get younger, whether Shanny wants it to, or not. The patches will be cut loose, and the older vets will finally give in and become unstartable.
My personal feeling: we wasted a year along that road.
There. That's where I stand.
I hate to say it but I actually agree with Andy and Thom putting you under the heat lamp on the roster/ "rebuilding" thingy. I heard you again this morning refer to our "roster" conversation last week. I have to say, I've never heard you speak in circles as much as you have regarding the Skins this year.
For years, we listened to you say the Skins would take years to clean up the Cerrato mess. Lack of draft choices, washed-up talent, overpaid free agents, etc. This is sort of like when GW Bush took over the white house with a plan in place and then a bunch of planes crashed into a bunch of buildings, then he inherits a completely different mess.
Do you honestly think the Skins got smeared last week because they didn't spend hours in the film room studying the Eagles or could you see the lack of speed and athleticism on our side? How did we win yesterday? The Titans were out-coached. Fischer didn't manage the game as well as we did. Our roster is still inferior to the Titans'.
When the Skins were 4-4, you said they were a 2-6 team disguised as a 4-4 team. What did you mean by that? To me and most of your listeners, it was interpreted as that the talent didn't match the record. You also said to me, "This same roster was 4-4, so you can't have it both ways". I don't understand what the point is there and that also made a few of my friends scratch their heads.
So, I'll throw the same comment back at you. "You can't have it both ways". Is this a talented team that is underachieving or is it a team thin with talent? If you point towards coaching, then you're saying they are underachieving. If they're thin with talent, then it's a roster issue.
Tonight you said the Skins aren't rebuilding. How do you know? You haven't even seen the off-season following Shanahan's first year. He wasn't left with an abundance of draft choices, so he'll have to rebuild at a different pace but I definitely still consider them to be rebuilding.