Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Redskins 2011 and Beyond Truths

So I left a not-so-insignificant piece out of my last post on how the Skins should only be favored to win a wild card spot, but are in good position to win the NFC East. That not-so-teeny tiny piece is that the Skins have once again sacrificed all future gains for short term glory, or in our case, short term decency. The season hasn't even started, but I can't help but look further down the road, particularly as someone who panned the McNabb trade. I refer you once again to the Football Outsiders preview:

"This year’s Redskins have an alarming number of players who are about to simultaneously grow old, and that’s not even counting lunatic acquisitions like Galloway. McNabb, Portis, Johnson, Parker, Santana Moss, Rabach, Philip Daniels, and London Fletcher are all at or approaching the downside of their careers, with Andre Carter and Derrick Dockery not far behind them. There are few obvious successors to these key players on the roster, and with training camp bloated with Galloway and Holliday types, it will be hard for the team to find and develop quality replacements. In a few years, Shanahan will be fired, McNabb will return to Philadelphia to retire with the Eagles, and Snyder will stand next to Urban Meyer heralding the start of another new era.

There are two sad elements to the Redskins plight. The first is that some in the Redskins organization will feel vindicated when the team loses in the second round of the playoffs. Snyder and others will convince themselves that they made all the right moves. There will be a lot of backslapping for a very small accomplishment. And of course, that will only encourage Snyder and company to climb back on the horse. The second is that so many of the Redskins problems are obvious and avoidable. Anyone who looks carefully at the roster can see long-term disaster brewing, and it doesn’t take much imagination to find healthier alternatives to the path the Redskins chose. The Redskins could have Jake Delhomme or Derek Anderson as their starting quarterback, with second-round pick Jimmy Clausen waiting in the wings. Or, they could have given Campbell another year, used their second-round pick on a defensive playmaker like Sergio Kindle, and let their defense win a few games while Shanahan made tough decisions on offense. Heck, they could have pulled the trigger on the McNabb deal but held off on all of the Parker-Johnson-Galloway nonsense, increasing their odds of finding a great young back or receiver who will improve as McNabb fades. The Redskins just can’t do that. They keep seeking short-term dividends that aren’t worth the long-range consequences.

Of course, that’s exactly the kind of trade-off addicts make. In March, it looked like Allen and Shanahan could make a difference. Now, they’re stuck in the same web that snared Gibbs, Schottenheimer, Spurrier, and Zorn. Snyder drags good football people down with him. This year, the high will last past August, but the crash will come before February. And next year’s hangover will be as bad — or worse — than the last ten."

The scene in Adams Morgan Tonight/Metaphor for the Future of the Redskins Future

Let's skip ahead to what our roster will look like in 3+ years, and remember that we have the worst group of under-25 year old talent in the NFL. WARNING: Hide the women and children.
On offense we have:
QB: Zippo, not even a developmental guy. Nice to know we got rid of Chase Daniel, who is one of FO's top prospects...
RB: Nada
WR: Devin Thomas, Malcolm Kelly (syke!)
OL: Trent Williams, old Jammal Brown
TE: Cooley and Fred Davis
Overall, this is pathetic, we need another couple O-linemen, a QB, and a WR who is healthy and can beat out a 39 year old. Other than that, doing swell.

On defense:
DL: Golston, Carriker (maybe)
LB: Orakpo, Rocky, and maybe HB Blades.
CB: D******* Hall (I don't see double-move sticking around this long). You know who is missing here? FO's #5 prospect, Justin Tryon.
S: Landry (hard to count, but could be a new man in the box this year, although his missed tackle on the huuuge LDT run says otherwise), Kareem Moore
Overall, there are some bodies here, but no cornerstones except for Rak.

Next year's draft doesn't offer a ton of hope, as we already missing our 3rd and 4th round picks. Good thing I only put a down payment on tickets for this year's Super Bowl....

(Image courtesy of and my friend's cell phone)

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Redskin 2010 Season Truths

Believe it or not, the NFL season is less than 3 days away. With the help of Football Outsiders Almanac 2010, it is high time to tell you exactly what is going to happen our Skin this season.

My initial thought was that suck, won 4 games last year, and haven't improved much. Our defense has been our strength for several seasons, and as excited as I am about a new defensive coordinator, our personnel are better suited for a 4-3, and think the D might be slightly worse this year. Sure, we got McNabb, but he is only marginally better than Campbell, and we haven't upgraded anywhere else on offense. I think Kyle Shanahan helps too, but only see a modest upgrade here. Balancing the D and O together, I see a team that might be slightly improved, but not much different from last year. If we won 4 games last year, 2 more wins seems about right, when accounting for the upgrade on Jim Zorn.

That was until I read FO's tasty tidbit:

"The Redskins should reach the playoffs this year: They are better than they were last season, and they weren’t as bad last season as their record suggests. They fell well below their Estimated Win total of 7.3 in 2009, underperforming because of Zorn’s dreadful coaching and some special teams lapses. Zorn’s ineffectuality as a leader and strategist was evident in early season losses to the woeful Lions (the Redskins were 2-of-10 on third downs, committed 97 yards in penalties, and allowed three straight drives for a combined 41 Lions offensive plays) and Chiefs (eight three-andout drives against an opponent that couldn’t score a touchdown). If Shaun Suisham could kick straight, the Redskins would have beaten the Cowboys in Week 11, and a special-teams fumble provided the margin of victory for the Saints in Week 13. The switch from Zorn-Campbell to Shanahan-McNabb will get the Redskins to snap back to that seven-win level and then buy them an extra win or two. A schedule full of Rams, Buccaneers, and Lions gives them another boost...The Redskins will have an offense close to league average and a solid 3-4 defense that has the right personnel for the system...Barring a Week 1 McNabb injury, the Redskins are a safe bet to compete for a wild card, if not win their division.

Holy crap! That's right, with a semi-competent coach and normal luck, we would have won 7 games last year. FO agrees with me that this team will be about 2 games better, but is using a much higher baseline. Running through the schedule though, I still having trouble finding 9 wins. Let's say we beat the Rams, Bucs, Lions, Bears, and Jags, and go 2-4 in the division given that Dallas is a superior team, and the Giants and Eagles are no pushovers. Then let's assume we lose to the Colts, Packers, and Vikings (although Viking injuries might push them into the W column). That gives us a 7-7 record with games against the Texans and Titans not counted. Maybe the Skins beat the Texans at FedEx and lose at Tennessee to go 8-8. We still need to find 1 more win, and that is if we don't slip up against any of the supposedly inferior teams. Maybe we go 3-3 in the division, or can sneak out a game in Tennessee or against the Vikings, but 9 wins is a stretch for me. That said, in the metrics and I trust, and with McNabb ready for week 1, this team can legitimately talk about playoffs.

Contenders for the NFC East crown - just when I thought I was out, they pull me right back in! Don't look now, but it's Dallas week!

(Image courtesy of