Sunday, December 19, 2010
Into the Wilderness
Get ready for a long, cold, boring walk, Redskins fans.
, with the entire Shanahan family coaching future in the balance, decided to just say, "ahhh... never mind" about the whole McNabb Era we were all sold on last Easter morning.
If you are a Skins fans, you have a right to be bitter. This is not just having the rug pulled out from under you, it is like trading your TV and recliner for that rug, and having your wife one day just say: "Sorry. I just decided. It's ugly. Throw it out."
Like a TV show that will tease the audience along with multi-week plot lines, only to then suddenly, reveal that it was nothing more than a dream sequence.
It usually says the writers are just about out of ideas. Maybe the Shanny's have some killer ideas left.
I wouldn't hold your breath. This is going to be a long, brutal walk into the NFL woods looking for the next franchise quarterback here in DC.
It is something the Skins haven't had since Theismann.
Theismann held the starting job for nearly 6 1/2 unbroken years back in the 1980s. Since then, nobody has come close. Even the Super Bowl winning QBs were just lucky spot, lucky time, veterans.
Theismann begat Schroeder, who begat Williams, Humphries, Rypien et. al. Heath Shuler was a stab at a franchise guy. We know how that worked out. Trent Green and were low risk flyers, who were either permitted to walk, or just fizzled.
Instability reigned after the Heath debacle, and no coaching regime since has ever really tried to get "the franchise" by drafting a guy high in the first round.
There have been decent veteran trades like Brad Johnson and coaches' pet favorites, like Mark Brunnell and Danny Wuerrfel. The owner has directly picked a few of them like Jeff George and Patrick Ramsey, each of them quickly despised by the coaches he paid to play them.
The team made an impulse purchase on one them, . Shopping for a cornerback, they threw Campbell in the cart at the last minute, but then failed to play him, groom him, or develop an offense for him that played to his strengths.
The owner and his BFF/underling/radio host Vinny Cerrato made various runs at guys they suddenly got a crush on, like Jay Cutler and Mark Sanchez.
Which, in retrospect, might have saved us a lot of headaches and draft picks.
In the five head coaches I have welcomed to town on the radio here in D.C. since bought the team, I have noticed a distinct pattern.
The new coach, ends up hating the quarterback the old coach left behind, and that guy ends up on the curb like a gaudy purple couch that doesn't match the new decor.
Only this time, Shanahan was sworn in, and it didn't seem like anything crazy was going to happen. Bruce Allen, we thought, was going to hunker down to do the real heavy lifting of an NFL GM.
Then.... boom. McNabb.
Just like that. Out of nowhere. With nobody really clamoring for such a move, it made Redskins fans step back and sorta, well, think about it.
And we had to talk ourselves into why it made sense to trade two picks for a guy this late in his career.
But most of us bought the whole wonderful, soft focus argument of "think about what kind of leadership he'll bring." And we stretched our hopes to tarp over the skeptical voices in our head that kept saying McNabb must really be just about finished.
And we imagined a window of "3-4 good years" in which to make a ham sandwich of a football team around this guy that, at least, didn't taste like a shit sandwich.
Some poor saps, even took a genuine McNabb #5 jersey as the final bribe to purchase expensive club seats out there at the Ginormous Plastic Tarp Gallery known as FedEx Field.
Well, they're collectors items now, folks!
Turns out, this new, wise, patient, no-nonsense regime, had goofed a bit on McNabb. Bounced balls. Too much improvising. Reduced mobility.
Wow. Really? You don't say! Geez, why didn't you guys shoot me an email? I had notes on all of this stuff, and I don't even work in an NFL scouting department.
In other words, given 11 years of NFL tape on this guy, they still fucked it up.
Now, they'll set about finding a new guy, based on just a few years of college tape as a guide.
Count me as pessimistic.
In the meantime, Shanny and Son plan to "see what they have" in and John Beck before the season is out.
If I may, let me play spoiler on this, Mike.
You've got nothing.
You've got a barely serviceable backup, and a 29 year old practice squad player.
This is not my opinion, either. It's the opinion of the entire league. So if you think you've got something, then it'll be a bigger find than when Vasco De Gama found a direct route from Europe to India by way of the Cape of Good Hope.
And please spare me how Grossman can be "lockout insurance" in case there's little or no training camp next summer in which to spool up a new quarterback who "knows the system."
For one, trying to predict the shape and scope of this labor battle, is hopeless. You might as well try to predict the weather for every NFL playoff game - right now.
For another, actually making roster plans on such a hypothetical circumstance, is idiotic. What exactly, would you be "insuring" by keeping Grossman? Actual insurance, is intended to protect something of "value."
Next year has no win-loss value for this team.
Next year is a rebuilding year. Period. You can go 8-8 with Grossman, or 4-12 with Brian St. Pierre, fresh off his couch.
Next year, DOES .. NOT... MATTER.
It would be like buying fire insurance for your garbage.
Which, speaking of dumpster fires, let's gaze a moment at this defense. Stripped of the ongoing Haynesworth sideshow, you are left with a unit that's dead last in just about everything.
, while everyone was playing "How's Rexy Lookin'", the defense was as accommodating as a Ritz Carlton butler.
Facing a journeyman backup under center, the Redskins allowed 434 total yards, 134 of them on the ground. The journeyman lit up the secondary, posting a 110.8 passer rating, while tight end went nuts.
Oh yeah, all this without starting wideouts Dez Bryant and .
didn't punt until deep into the 3rd quarter.
But I digress. Shanny's genius is on offense. And defensive shortcomings will be pinned to whatever sap coordinator lines up for the job. , call your agent. Because it's not going to be him, it'll be you.
So the Redskins will be taking a QB with their first round pick this coming April.
That's a lock.
The three QB's worthy of that 6-9 range first rounder, are Luck, Newton, and Locker.
Only Luck seems to be a consensus pocket-passing stud. Newton holds the promise of a more accurate, less emotionally fragile Vince Young. Locker's accuracy took a nose dive this year.
I bet one of those three is sitting there at the Redskins natural pick. I hope it's the one they really, really, love.
Otherwise, they'll pay a brutal ransom of picks and players to just move up a few spots. And I bet it's a ransom they will surely pay.
If you throw away a 2nd and a 4th for a guy apparently nobody in the coaching department really liked anyway, imagine what slice of the future you'll push out the door for somebody who gives you the warm, coaching, squishies inside?
Yes, McNabb was treated shabbily.
Yes, the $3.5 million mid-season bonus was a waste of money.
Yes, he had a lousy season by his own standards.
Yes, the team's marketing department had no shame.
Yes, yes, yes, to all of that stuff.
It doesn't really matter now.
Shanny is leading a long walk into the woods. Keep your eyes open for that franchise QB, dress warmly, and pack a lunch.