Washington Redskins: The Mike Shanaplan

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Washington Redskins: The Mike Shanaplan
Win McNamee/Getty Images

On April 28 through April 30, what happened with the Washington Redskins?

Aren’t they supposed to trade away all of their picks?  Aren’t they supposed to draft a quarterback of the future? 

Aren’t they supposed to have another pre-determined unrealistic set of expectations already?  Oh, how the tides have turned and the Redskins took the New England approach and drafted 12 rookies. 

For many football critics, the 2011 NFL draft is going to be what could have been for the Redskins organization.  If Blaine Gabbert, Christian Ponder, Andy Dalton, Ryan Mallett or Colin Kaepernick turn out to be an NFL star, then people will be gunning for the Shanahans and General Manager Bruce Allen.

Despite the likelihood that one of those quarterbacks will develop into a great player, the Redskins had the right strategy.

This is the first time in the Daniel Snyder era that the Redskins are finally in “rebuilding” mode. 

What many football fans don’t understand out there is that rebuilding takes longer than one year.  Even though there was a lot of depth at the quarterback position in this year’s draft, each quarterback had major flaws. 

These include Cam Newton’s off-the-field issues or simplistic offense in college, Jake Locker’s accuracy problems, Blaine Gabbert and Andy Dalton transitioning from a spread offense, Christian Ponder’s durability issues and Ryan Mallett’s character concerns.  

With an upcoming draft class of quarterbacks such as Andrew Luck, Matt Barkley and Landry Jones, the Redskins have the potential to upgrade that particular position in the future.  Right now, the Redskins filled holes that were an absolute necessity. 

Even though it’s going to be a hard season to watch with either Rex Grossman or the unproven John Beck at quarterback, there needs to be a solid foundation set before the team decides to pencil in a young quarterback, and I believe they are taking the cautious steps in doing so.

Win McNamee/Getty Images
Have we all forgotten that they had the worst defense in Redskins history last year?  Ryan Kerrigan will fill a major need in the defense and hopefully form a dynamic pass rushing combination with Brian Orakpo. 

Additionally, the team’s defensive front was inferior last season without any depth; second round pick Jarvis Jenkins fits that void as well. 

Recently, rookie quarterbacks have succeeded; which leaves question marks for Redskins fans as to why they didn’t address that position. 

Let’s review some examples of rookie quarterbacks going in and immediately producing: Matt Ryan with the Atlanta Falcons, Mark Sanchez with the New York Jets, Sam Bradford with the St. Louis Rams and Joe Flacco with the Baltimore Ravens. 

All four of those examples had a solid organization before they stepped on the field as the starter. All of them had good running games and offensive lines.

The Falcons signed running back Michael Turner and drafted left tackle Sam Young. The Jets drafted running back Shonn Greene and drafted offensive linemen D’Brickashaw Ferguson and Nick Mangold.

The St. Louis Rams drafted offensive tackles Roger Saffold and Jason Smith. The Baltimore Ravens drafted running back Ray Rice and offensive tackle Michael Oher.

They are also coming from a fully-functional organization that has all that right pieces into place.  The Redskins currently do not have any those contributing factors to aid an inexperienced quarterback, thus setting him up for failure (i.e. David Carr, Tim Couch).

It’s going to take time before Washington can become a consistent team in the NFL  and it is unrealistic to think that the organization can obtain a once in lifetime player like Peyton Manning and Tom Brady, so they will have to wait a year to get their franchise quarterback.

I understand that Redskins Nation is one of the most passionate fan bases in country, but this is going to be a year of transition.  The organization will have to settle with the talent on the team and are taking a youth-filled step in developing a respectable football team. 

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The overall meaning is that the Redskins took the safe approach in the draft this year.  For a team that doesn’t have a lot of security; they simply cannot afford to take a risk on a quarterback or player who does not have them confident.

Ryan Kerrigan was the safer pick and seems to be a great guy around the locker room as well.  Mike Shanahan made a huge mistake for not having this type of strategy last year, but it's better late than never. 

I will admit that it would completely shock me if they can make a playoff run in the 2011 season and this could potentially be one of the worst teams ever assembled in Washington.

This is the make-or-break year for Mike Shanahan and his coaching staff, if they show progress, then he’s a genius; if he doesn’t, he will be another disappointment to surface in the Nation’s Capital.

Lastly, I was watching the series on the NFL Network “America’s Team” and they had special on the 1987 Super Bowl-winning Redskins team.  It was great to watch this once-proud franchise hold up the Lombardi Trophy, but I couldn’t help but be jealous.  

On behalf of the team’s supporters under the age of 25, we are sick and tired of being sick and tired.  Redskins fans deserve a championship, the city of Washington deserves a championship and the players that have sacrificed their bodies deserve a championship. 

At the conclusion of the “America’s Team” program, former Redskins center Jeff Bostic stated that Washington, D.C. is the most powerful city in the world, with so many conflicting ideologies and diversity.  The one thing that brings this city together is the Redskins.

I could not agree with him more on that statement.  I just hope we get to see that one day. 

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