Hopes & Fears: The 2009 Washington Redskins
Well, here we are folks. It's just about time for the players to take the field at Redskin Park. There have been so many different opinions offered concerning this franchise; some positive, some negative.
I like to believe that I am not just a Redskin fan, but a realistic football fan. I try to look at every aspect of the teams I claim objectively as possible for someone not in the actual business.
The one that stands out for me concerning this franchise and the condition it finds itself in presently is the lack of a real foundation to grow from. Sure, there are people in positions who have experience of some kind on the football side and the business end. But the parts just don't seem to make a whole.
What I notice about the teams that have gotten stronger and improve or sustain there ability to win is they all have strong front offices. Daniel Snyder has yet to obtain that person with the right kind of experience, respected around the the league to evaluate this franchise and formulate a plan and stick to it.
Snyder tried to right the ship by reaching into the past and bringing back Joe Gibbs. But neglected to realize that coaching, not talent evaluation or running a franchise, was Gibbs' strength.
Asking Gibbs to wear all the other hats may have actually hurt his ability to coach the team in his second tenure. The lack of leadership on when to move older players before there skills decline too much is one glaring weakness that stands out.
Ownership sometimes requires the knowledge of what you need to allow the people you hire to take care of and just sign the checks. Yes I realize there has been quite a bit of Cerrato bashing, but the proof is in the decline and stagnation of this franchise since he has been at the helm.
You only have to look up I-95 at the Baltimore franchise for an example of what having a real "football guy" running your franchise can do for you.
Ozzie Newsome has guided that franchise to being one of the small group of consistent winners in the league over the past decade. Just imagine Newsome with Snyder's money...my god.
The 2009 Redskins in my opinion are quite capable of winning the division. The few additions on defense, including Albert Haynesworth, Brian Orakpo, and DeAngelo Hall should solidify their spot as one of the top defenses in the league. And last season's finish should not nullify the first half.
Zorn has a full offseason under his belt with his offense and they can add to what they accomplished in those first eight games last year.
They have to attack opposing defenses. They have the kind of players in Portis, Moss, and Cooley that along with any production from the 2008 draft class of Thomas, Kelly, and Davis, this offense can soar.
Now comes the realisation that depth will be a problem along the offensive line.
Who steps in at LT should Samuels go down?
Will Randy Thomas stay healthy this year?
Who will step in to play RT?
Jason Campbell has had to absorb more than his share of responsibility in last season's decline. He definitely has to improve reading defenses and making plays.
But there is one statement that stands out more than any from last season made by Clinton Portis concerning Campbell, "It's kinda hard to make plays from your backside."
So, in my opinion, out of Joe Bugel's group of piglets, there must emerge at least two or three reliable backups and potential starters. Mike Williams, Jeremy Bridges and Chad Rinehart; these three seem to have the greatest expectations to shoulder. With a few others who have been under Bugel's wing for a few seasons now.
If the O-Line is not a liability, both the running game and Campbell can flourish. If they can equal last seasons start and add just two victories to last years total in the final eight games they are 10-6.
A victory opening day in New York would go a long way to building confidence for the rest of the season.
It is my hope that this franchise has the backbone to hold together its core along with Zorn and do something that it has not in quite some time: solidify it's foundation, strengthen the front office, and build from within.
Go back to what made this franchise one of the respected in the league. This is my hope, and continuing into the future with Cerrato at the helm is my fear...
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