Robert Griffin III and the Redskins Need Tom Clements to Reach Their Potential

Matthew BrownCorrespondent INovember 11, 2012

Aaron Josefczyk/Icon SMI
Aaron Josefczyk/Icon SMI

Call it a hunch, call it an overreaction to the current state of the team, call it what you will, but the Washington Redskins need to make some major changes to become anything more than a disappointment with a pretty good young quarterback being ruined by nepotism.

It may be a rash decision, but the Redskins need someone like Green Bay's Tom Clements to become the contender Mike Shanahan assured fans they would be.

There is the argument that consistency breeds success, but under Shanahan the Redskins are a sub-.400 team and have descended into stagnation.

How could a bad team expect to improve with the drop-off expected in changing from a two-time Super Bowl winning coach to a former quarterbacks coach with one season as offensive coordinator?

Did it make sense to hire Shanahan in the first place considering his record post-John Elway?

Clements, and whatever staff he would assemble, would represent a much-needed fresh start to a franchise that is more absorbed in big-name coaches than it is in building a team properly.

Given his resume as quarterbacks coach and recent change to offensive coordinator, some may immediately bring up Jim Zorn as a reason why Clements would be an awful candidate to lead the Redskins into the future.

Zorn was lauded for his work with Matt Hasselbeck during his time as quarterbacks coach for the Seattle Seahawks. He helped Hasselbeck set franchise records for passing yards and passer rating.

He subsequently floundered as the Redskins head coach, but he wasn't the intended candidate for the job—just the fall guy for Dan Snyder's failure to interest his ideal candidates.

As a quarterbacks coach, Clements helped Brett Favre to one of his best statistical seasons, and helped mold Aaron Rodgers into the NFL's best quarterback,

At the center of the presentation of Clements as the best man for the job is Robert Griffin III, who has said himself he'd rather be compared to Rodgers than Cam Newton.

Griffin, like Rodgers, doesn't have the prototypical quarterback size, but possesses a rocket arm and the ability to make plays outside of the pocket. Griffin may be a step or 20 faster than Rodgers, but as a passer, they compare fairly well.

Currently, Griffin's quarterbacks coach is Matt LaFleur, who came to Washington with Kyle Shanahan from Houston, where they helped Matt Schaub put up big numbers.

LaFleur, however, lacks experience developing quarterbacks, having spent one season at Northern Michigan as a quarterbacks coach and two seasons as an offensive quality control coach with the Texans.

This only solidifies the argument that Clements would be an upgrade to a part of the Redskins staff, but speaks to his potential as a head coach.

Based off of the trend being set by some recent first-time head coaches, adding Clements would mean an immediate boost in success for the Redskins.

Greg Schiano inherited a team lacking direction with a young quarterback and a middling defense. Now the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are 5-4, riding a three-game winning streak, and have hit their stride under Schiano.

Leslie Frazier took over as head coach for the Minnesota Vikings late in 2010 and looked to be over his head with a seemingly lacking roster. With Adrian Peterson, Christian Ponder and an improved defense, the Vikes are currently 6-4 and right in the thick of the NFL's toughest division.

Granted, those are just two examples, but they follow a very familiar pattern of a down team with talented young quarterbacks, and a good core, making strides and looking nothing like their previous disappointing iterations.

The Redskins need that sort of thing, which is asking a lot considering the season they're suffering through.

I wouldn't go as far as to say Shanahan is past his prime, but it isn't a stretch to say he isn't the man for the job in Washington.

Clements comes from a storied franchise that has won 11 NFL Championships and four Super Bowls, so he knows the pressures of a team with history. He also doesn't come with the ego that Shanahan has made no effort to hide in his three seasons as head coach of the Redskins.

Ego led Shanahan to force himself, and others, to believe Rex Grossman and John Beck could lead Washington to a winning season. 

Maybe it is just a dream scenario, having a guy like Clements swoop in and right the wrongs of the Shanahan Era, but everything seems like a dream until it comes to fruition.

If you're having trouble imagining Clements being able to make a difference in Washington, try imagining the Redskins winning more than seven games under Shanahan and it might get a little easier.