Washington Redskins: Where Do They Go From Here?
I've been a Washington Redskins fan my entire life. I lived in DC for a few years in the early 90's when I was between four and seven-years-old. I have experienced the highs and the lows with this team ever since then.
Growing up in Honolulu, Hawaii, I can specifically remember sitting up against my family's inexplicably large radio/tape player sound system on Sunday's when, for whatever reason, I was able to pick up a Redskins broadcast on an AM radio station.
I remember listening to games where Trent Green threw touchdowns to Michael Westbrook. I remember Terry Allen dominating opposing defenses. I remember riding Brad Johnson all the way to the playoffs, and then crying when we lost to the damn Buccaneers.
My point is, I've been there for this team. I've spent an inordinate amount of my time thinking about this team, its players and its possibilities.
Now is no different. I still spend time thinking about this team and its players and wondering what the future might hold. Only now, my thoughts are predominately negative.
Watching the horrible Chiefs—and lets face it, they're horrible—beat my favorite team I was struck with many conflicting thoughts.
First of all, I understand benching Jason Campbell and giving Todd Collins a shot. Collins was brilliant down the stretch in 2007 and has patiently carried a clipboard throughout his career in Washington. However, for all that watched the game, it became crystal clear that Collins was not going to get the job done.
Aside from his one good pass to Santana Moss, Collins looked rusty, flat-footed and just mediocre. Campbell gives this team the best chance to win and if he doesn't start next week it's going to be a travesty.
Also, how in the world does Campbell not come back in on the final possession? Backed against our own goal line, needing at least a 50-yard-through-the-air pass, how do we give the ball to our rusty, weak-armed quarterback?
I assumed Jim Zorn was just "sticking" with the quarterback change, that's fine, but look what happened. Behind a Redskins line that would have trouble blocking a pissed-off girlfriend, Campbell is the only quarterback that is able to allude the inevitable pressure. If nothing else, Zorn should have realized this and called on Campbell in this specialty situation.
When the Lakers were winning titles in the early part of the decade, Phil Jackson would sit Shaquille O'Neal on the bench during crunch time due to his poor free throw shooting ability. This had nothing to do with the caliber of player he was, but it was just about giving his team the best chance at victory. Zorn does not understand this concept.
The fact that we have been "safetied" in consecutive weeks is amazing to me. I can't remember the last time, if ever, I saw this happen to an NFL team.
It all keeps coming down to the fact that our offensive line is banged up and below average and our play calling is completely incompetent.
The Redskins so rarely throw a pass that travels more than 10 yards in the air. All the underneath routes allow the defense to play closer to the line of scrimmage which negatively impacts our running game.
On that note, I hate to say it, but Clinton Portis has completely lost his elusiveness. When he was a Bronco, I remember telling one of my buddies that he was the quickest cutter I've ever seen. The man could stop on a dime. Now, he looks about as elusive as Yao Ming.
His 78-yard run was definitely a highlight, but even that revealed flaws. First off, the run was not a product of skill. Rather, the run was broken because of good blocking by the o-line and Sellers, and good vision and patience by Portis. And not to be overly critical, but he should have scored.
Had he not run out of gas towards the end and visibly given up on the run, we would have had a lead and a huge momentum boost. As it was, we predictably couldn't do anything and had to settle for a field goal.
Adrian Peterson would have scored. Darren Sproles would have scored. Reggie Bush would have scored. Hell, Marcus Mason probably would have scored. The downfall of Portis has been one of the under-appreciated subplots to this season.
So where do we go from here?
The answer lies off the field. Snyder isn't going anywhere so it is literally a waste of time to talk about that. I'm convinced now that Cerrato needs to go. Despite making some nice draft picks recently, his lack of attention to depth is astounding.
On the sideline, Jim Zorn is unbearable. He has no clue what's going on and takes the mentality of playing not to lose to a whole new level. Instead of even doing that, Zorn plays not to be embarrassed.
If the Redskins defense wasn't so good, we would absolutely be the laughing stock of the league.
Don't let the play of our defense get lost in the shuffle either. When Haynesworth isn't laying on the ground in pain, he is starting to disrupt everything in opposing backfields. Andre Carter, Brian Orakpo, Jeremy Jarmon and Chris Wilson have given the Redskins the best (and only) pass rush we've had in years. Our corners are vastly overrated, but they still get the job done most of the time. Our linebackers and safeties are nothing to sneeze at either.
We have built a nice nucleus on defense. All the attention in this next offseason needs to be on the offense. Campbell is going to leave, I think that's a pretty safe bet because if I was him, I doubt I'd even want to come back after the way I'd been treated.
Portis needs to take a pay cut, be traded, or cut. There I said it. The man is a shadow of his former self and is completely replaceable with about 50 other running backs in this league (including Betts).
Our wide receivers need to continue to develop and it will be difficult to address that position again after all the attention paid to it in recent years.
Lastly, we need new young talent on the offensive line. Without this, we will never be competitive.
My optimal scenario as of now is to fire Zorn and hire Jon Gruden (my favorite) or Mike Shanahan, take a stud quarterback in the first round (either Bradford, Locker or Clausen) and address the offensive line in the second and fourth round. And if we can acquire more picks by trading some of our veterans I'd be all for that.
For the first time in a while, the Redskins have kept a team together. The nucleus of Campbell, Portis, Moss, Randle-El, Cooley etc. have been together for a number of years. This is a variation from the virtual constant changeovers that took place early in the decade.
Unfortunately for us fans, that nucleus hit its peak in 2007. It needs to be blown up.
I've said it before, but it's not that I've lost faith. I'm just practical. This team is nowhere near playoff caliber. This is not something to get angry about.
In fact, I'd rather go 3-13 and have a shot at Sam Bradford than go 8-8 again and reach on Tim Tebow.
This is not to say we should accept the poor caliber of coaching and management we are seeing. Instead, I think we should focus our attention there and by sheer group-speak, force Snyder to make some changes in the way things happen within the organization.
Snyder is a fan. He wants to win. This is why I have never turned on him. The man spends to win. It hasn't worked, but you know this bothers him. Having an owner that legitimately cares is priceless in an age when many teams are looked at as merely revenue streams.
However, as a fellow fan, things need to start changing so we can move forward. Please, Mr. Snyder. Hear our words.
The definition of insanity is "doing the same action repeatedly, but expecting a different result." By that logic one thing is for sure. This Redskins team has lost its mind.
And I'm not far away myself.
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