The Washington Redskins are mired in mediocrity this year. In fact, they have been stuck in a rut for the past 15 seasons. Sure, they've made the playoffs a few times, but they were never really a contender for the Super Bowl.
Redskins fans have their hearts broken every year by flashes of promising play, and then having their team exposed as pretenders. With the 2008 season winding down, and the Redskins' playoff hopes looking dimmer by the minute, Snyder and Cerrato should start thinking about some major changes for 2009.
There are common factors contributing to the mediocrity of the past decade and a half. One of the most significant is the Redskins' refusal to do a wholesale rebuilding project. Rather than trying to build a team for the future through the draft, Washington has gone through free agency to stick band-aids on areas of need.
Most of these band-aid free agents have not panned out. After several years, the Redskins run into problems like they're having this year: old (and injury prone) players who are well past their prime and who can no can longer be effective.
I'm sure most Redskins fans will think I'm insane for the plan I'm about to outline, but I'll throw it out there for consideration anyway. Rather than searching for more band-aids, maybe Washington needs to take some drastic measures to become a future contender. The following are some of those.
1) Fire Jim Zorn and hire Bill Cowher for 2009. The Zorn experiment looked promising early in the year, but the Redskins seem to be getting worse rather than better. That's a sign of bad coaching.
Bill Cowher is a leader that commands respect from his players, and he can bring back a fiery attitude to Washington. There's nothing "medium" about Cowher's coaching style.
2) Trade Clinton Portis. I know what you're thinking—"But Clinton is the only thing the Redskins have going for them on offense." That's true—for 2008. But for how much longer? With the punishment he's taking, and the constant injuries, how much time does he have left?
The Redskins should trade him while he still has a high value. A first-round pick and a third would be a good deal for a team with an overwhelming amount of needs.
3) Trade Jason Campbell. I'm not convinced that Campbell will ever be an elite quarterback. He doesn't seem to have the instinctive ability to take over a game, and I don't believe he knows how to read defenses very well either. So, trade him for a first round pick (or at least a high second rounder).
4) Start Colt Brennan in 2009. Brennan is a playmaker, and the Redskins offense needs a quarterback who can ignite some big plays.
5) Cut Jason Taylor. His production can't justify his salary cap figure.
6) Cut Shawn Springs. He never plays anyway, and his salary cap figure is too high for next year. DeAngelo Hall and Carlos Rogers are the corners of the future for the 'Skins.
7) The next draft priorities should be both lines. Washington has a desperate need for offensive and defensive linemen.
A lot of you are thinking right now, "Thank God this guy isn't the general manager." Some of you may believe such moves would be too desperate, and that the Redskins shouldn't make any rash decisions.
But I'm asking you to consider the alternative: Are you happy with 9-7 and 10-6 seasons being the best you can hope for?
In that case, if the Redskins continue with business as usual in 2009, it will be another season of heartbreak for the fans. On the other hand, if you're like this Redskins fan, you're tired of Washington being "okay" and middle-of-the-pack. Nobody enjoys cheering for a team that never seems to rise above a rating of mediocre.
And, with that in mind, here's to hoping that Snyder and Cerrato have a drastic plan in mind for 2009.