Sam Bradford or Jimmy Clausen? Bradford or Clausen? Grrr...
After weeks of gut-wrenching tension (thank you Taco Bell) and weary worry over which way the Redskins should go with the fourth pick in the 2010 NFL draft, I have come to a conclusion.
The Skins, for a multitude of reasons, should...NEED to make Oklahoma alum (but not really) Bradford their choice to rebuild a franchise that is teetering on the border between transition and travestshamemockery.
Mandates is a pretty strong word. Maybe "requires" is more well-suited to the relationship between good quarterback play and a successful NFL franchise.
This topic was brought up time and time again on Jacksonville's local sports radio (BIG shoutout to the guys at SFR). And let me tell you, Jacksonville knows first-hand about the relationship between elite QB play and playoff berths (here's looking at you Garrard).
Look around the NFL, and you'll see how much water this "theory" holds.
Take the playoff teams for instance, starting with the championship teams.
The Vikings have some guy named Favre. The Saints have future HOF Drew Brees. The Colts? Some schmuck named Peyton. Even Mark Sanchez, the odd guy out, seems destined to be among the top 10-15 QBs in the league in the next three to five years, especially if he can hang on to that stellar defense.
Back it out further, to the divisional rounds.
Tony Romo? Pretty darn good. Kurt Warner? Future HOFer and two-time MVP. Joe Flacco? One of the most talented, not to mention gifted, young QBs in the league. Philip Rivers? Pro-bowler and arguably the best QB in the AFC.
Heck! Let's take it to the wild card round.
D-Nabb? HOFer. Carson Palmer? Heisman winner and Pro-bowler. Aaron Rodgers? Arguably the best QB in the NFC. Tom Brady? Are you kidding me?
And if that doesn't prove it, just check out the teams watching the playoffs at home and their QBs.
The Browns? Two-headed lethal (only to the health of Browns fans) combo of Quinn and Anderson. The Bills? Edwards and Fitzpatrick...blech! The Rams? The ever-injured Marc Bulger and some guy named Nall, or Null. I don't know.
Lastly, add in the bottom feeding teams with young, even rookie QBs: the Lions, Dolphins, Chiefs, Bucs, and Panthers.
Question: Which teams are the most hopeless? Are they the teams who have turned the reigns of their franchises over to young studs (i.e. the Lions or Fins)?
Nope! The hopeless, hapless ones are the teams that refuse to start over the right way with a QB, and who plug their hole at the position with a second-rate guy who would best be served in a backup role (COUGH...Jason Campbell...COUGH!).
I hate to say it, but the days of a middle-of-the road starting QB leading his team to the Super Bowl, a la Trent Dilfer or Kerry Collins, are over.
A.k.a...with Daniel Snyder.
Yes, the offensive line play in D.C. has been dreadful the past few years. So has the spotty QB play of Jason Campbell.
But spend a week during the season listening to local sports radio, and you'll find that call-ins threatening to do unspeakable things to Campbell outnumber the complaints about an aging protection squad. By about three to one.
Let's face it: The fans in D.C. are fanatical about winning, when it luckily happens upon them, and losing, who resides almost full-time in the hearts of Capitol natives.
And do you seriously think fanatical fans are going to clamor for an offensive tackle? Hell no!
And don't think that owner/dictator Daniel Snyder isn't immune to the will of the people of D.C. He is, after all, a self-proclaimed fan first and foremost.
I mean, what serious-minded businessman treats his business like a fantasy land, bringing immortalized head coaches out of the woodwork and assembling pseudo fantasy football teams with no apparent caution for team chemistry?
Basically, there isn't really a way for Snyder to take Russell Okung, and at the same time keeps fans, himself included, from burning FedEx Field to the ground...
...even if it is the right move.
I'm not joking when I say that if I were forced to list the person on the roster who gives the Skins the best chance to win on Sundays, my list would probably start with Kyle Shanahan, the Skins new offensive coordinator.
Don't get me wrong, I like Jason Campbell. I would just like him more in another uniform. I think he'd probably prefer it that way, too.
Simply put, the Skins need a fresh start.
Campbell isn't the answer, and even if he was at one point, the Skins ruined that with their incessant flirtations with Mark Sanchez and Jay Cutler last offseason.
Mike Shanahan is a man's man. He likes to get things done and get them done his way, which is why he always had full control on personnel decisions in Denver and why he is retaining them here in D.C.
Don't be fooled, Bruce. If the you-know-what hits the you-know-what, it certainly won't be Shanny who's the first one to go.
Shanahan has always tried to rebuild whichever franchise he's with in his own image, and you can tell by the successful swath he cut through the NFL in the 1990s and early 2000s what has been his modus operandi: a prepared and talented offensive line AND a franchise-style quarterback.
John Elway and Jay Cutler certainly fall into that category. Jason Campbell? Eh, not so much. Although he does share the same first initial as the majority of other Shanny QBs, along with John, Jay, and Jake Plummer, Campbell at this point is tampered goods.
Shanny needs, and will get, new blood.
I mean, look at what happened the last time Coach Mike inherited a QB that wasn't brought up under his tutelage. Jake Plummer came to Denver with high hopes and left with a gnarly beard and a newfound love...handball.
Bottom line is that Shanahan is going to want to groom a franchise QB. From scratch. With Campbell it would take too long to unlearn and then re-learn.
Better to start with Bradford. (Even though he would break the string of "J" first name QBs, which could bode well for Jimmy Clausen.)
50 touchdowns. Eight interceptions. A 68 percent completion percentage. Almost 4800 yards. From a non-Hawaii or Texas Tech QB.
And oh yeah...one tiny trophy named after some guy named Heisman.
But seriously, did you see Bradford two years ago? As a sophomore, he was easily the best QB in football (sorry Tebow).
I'm just torn as to who had the better sophomore year, Bradford in '08 or Kellen Moore in '09 (sorry, shameless Boise State plug).
Going beyond the numbers, you could clearly see that Bradford is an exceptional on-field leader. He's tough as nails. He's wicked smart. And he made every throw I could think of, despite his label of not having the biggest arm. Neither did Peyton as I recall, but he gets it where it needs to be.
And all that talk about him taking the majority of his snaps in the shotgun?
I'll answer your question with two: How did Peyton line up against the Jets for 75 percent of the AFC Championship game, and how does Tony Romo line up whenever he's not shoveling the ball down Barber or Jonses' gullet?
We have to stop believing this hogwash, pun intended, that a QB can't function in the NFL if he wasn't the product of a pro-style offense in college.
Vick and D-Nabb didn't come from these styles, and they've managed to carve up the league in their own unique way.