Monday, March 12, 2012

Redskins are "All In" on Shanahan Era with RG3 Being it's Possible Ace

(Is RG3 the face of the Redskins for the next 10 years?)
The Mike Shanahan era is about to enter it's third year as the 2012 year officially begins on Tuesday March 13th at 4PM EST and the Washington Redskins have already put themselves in position to try and become a relevant franchise again or to set itself back for the next 10 years. To put it in poker terms, the Redskins have gone "All In". More or less the Redskins need to find a way to win sooner than later and the best way to do that was to either find a franchise quarterback in the draft or sign a franchise quarterback in free agency. With the lack of interest of the only free agent franchise QB on the market (Peyton Manning), the Redskins made a colossal move with the St. Louis Rams in order lock up one of the two top QBs in the 2012 draft. This move will determine a few things. First, can the Redskins ever be a winning franchise again--- or at least while Dan Snyder is the owner and Bruce Allen/Mike Shanahan is running the show? Second, will Mike Shanahan have a bust for him one day in Canton? Success in this one move could say yes for both questions. Failure and we can look forward to another decade of misery in the DC version of the Factory of Sadness and Shanahan will only be visiting Canton if he buys a ticket like you and me.

All that said, I think the Redskins made the right move....... let me tell you why.

Let's look at who the Redskins could have targeted as the starting QB in 2012:

1. Peyton Manning- I have the utmost respect for Manning. I've always liked his cerebral play. I've rooted for him to win a Super Bowl and I know he'll be a first ballet Hall of Fame member. That said, I wanted no parts of him in Washington. Bringing in Manning would have been another stop-gap move that we've seen with the Redskins for at least a decade. Danny Wuerffel, Mark Brunell, Donovan McNabb and Rex Grossman are just examples of these quick fix moves. At least McNabb made some sense in the Shanahan scheme. Manning does not. When was the last time Peyton Manning ran a bootleg? Now I've had people on twitter tell me that Manning used to run bootlegs, but that was years ago. Not to mention four neck surgeries he had since then. Manning would need the Redskins to change their scheme and philosophy on how they choose players. Manning needs a good line to protect him in the pocket. The Redskins look more for athletic linemen who may not be the best anchors but can block well on the move. It was a bad fit and I'm glad that Manning was smart enough to say "thanks, but no thanks".

2. Andrew Luck- No way in hell are the Colts parting from #1 overall and Luck. Let's move on.

3. Ryan Tannehill, Brandon Weeden etc.-  I still haven't watched enough of Weeden to give a fair assessment of what I think he'll do at the NFL level. What I did see of him I liked. He has better mobility than I thought he would. That said, I'm not sure whether or not he'll be a franchise guy or not. The problem with Weeden is that you don't have enough time to develop him if he's not a franchise guy from day one. Simple point, Griffin is 22; Weeden 28. Tannehill was my fall back plan. I think he could do well in the NFL but he needs time to develop. What scared me the most was watching him play against Missouri. The Aggies were up by halftime but gave up the lead late in the game. Tannehill tried to lead the Aggies back and struggled. It reminded me of watching Jason Campbell when he was a Redskin. Just brutal. I really don't want to watch that again.

4. John Beck/Rex Grossman- 2011 was plenty enough for me to determine that I never want to see either of them again at least as a starter.

5. Other FA Quarterbacks- Kyle Orton and David Garrard are names that come to mind. These guys have the most experience but have done little to show that they are long term answers. Again another stop-gap, quick fix. Matt Flynn hasn't done enough to prove to me that he's worth throwing franchise QB money to run your team. Also, the Redskins don't seem to be high of Flynn. Every report I've read has the Redskins liken him to Kevin Kolb.

So there wasn't much in that list that screams long term, day one starting franchise QB. Obviously Luck and Manning would have been the best of the two but Luck is likely unavailable and Manning is a poor fit.

What's the Cost?
Keep in Mind that the Redskins didn't give up 3 first round picks and a 2nd. They gave up two 1st round picks and the 2012 2nd round pick to switch picks in the 1st round of this year's draft. I know semantics right? But the 'Skins were going to use the pick at #6 for a player moving to #2 doesn't really change things. But over three seasons the Redskins will give the Rams what is equivalent to Trent Williams, Ryan Kerrigan and Jarvis Jenkins to move up four spots. On first glance, that is a helluva lot to give for a player. I still think of three firsts and a second and cringe. But here's the thing, think about all of the 1st round talent the Redskins have drafted over the last decade. We've had some solid starters with the team and a few letdowns but have the Redskins really drafted an elite talent during that time? When I mean elite, I'm speaking as one of the top talents at that position in the league; a game changer that every OC or DC will game plan. Only one player comes to mind during that time: Sean Taylor. So if you can get what may be an elite player at the most valuable position in the league, it may just be worth giving up three potential starters.

What are the benefits of drafting RG3?
Well, short term it gives the Redskins franchise a shot in the arm that things are changing and things can get better. Now more than ever does the fan base need this. Since, 2007 the Redskins have been a dreadful bunch and the fans have grown sick of the stop gaps and quick fixes of the past. The Redskins found a face of the franchise, something they haven't had in a long time;something fans can root for and rally around. Mike Shanahan will get at least another year to re-build the franchise his way which I think most of us believe has been heading in the right direction since his hiring in 2010 despite the lack of wins to show for it. Finally, there is excitement in DC for the Redskins and the fans that wear B&G may come back to FedEx to see RG3. While this is good for Dan Snyder's pockets, this is good for fans like me who come to the games and are tired of seeing 40% of the fans in opposing team colors. If Griffin lives up to the projection, then the Redskins will be a much better team in the future. That's pretty clear, of course that is always the big if when you draft a player.

Will the trade be worth it?
Well, if you subscribe to the theory that many draftniks and experts believe that there is no cost too high for a franchise QB then the Redskins made the right move no matter what happens. I don't really believe that. I do believe that if you are convinced that this is the player that will make your team significantly better now and in the future and that there is no other player available that can project to do the same thing available then you have to find a way to get that player. It's an aggressive strategy but I would rather see the Redskins get their guy and fail than kicking themselves years later for not doing enough to get the player that would have changed the franchise (something the Browns have done and may do again if RG3 becomes a great player). Did the Rams get a good deal? You bet. Now they have to figure out how to use their picks to become a good franchise again. The Redskins don't have to do that. They have their guy in their sites and can now figure out how to get players around him to succeed in 2012 and beyond. We won't know if this trade worked out for a few years, but if the Redskins can start to win games, the NFCE, go deep into the playoffs and possibly a Lombardi on a regular basis then it was worth it to make the moves.

In a few years we'll either deeply remember what we gave up and how it set the Redskins back for ten years how it lead to another coaching/front office change and how FedEx became more empty and apathetic. Or we'll see how Mike Shanahan made the moves worthy of a hall of fame coach, FedEx filling up with Redskin fans at max capacity wearing RG3 jerseys and singing at the top of their lungs Hail to the Redskins. And people will have to remind each other what picks we gave up to get Robert Griffin. Nobody cares what the Giants gave up for Eli Manning. All they care about is that he hoisted two Lombardi's. The 'Skins are all in on RG3 and we'll know soon enough if we won big of have busted ourselves back into obscurity.

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