These days, you can't walk down the street without tripping over a Redskins fan desperate to see the team get younger and commit to a long-term plan. I feel like a Bruce Allen apologist when I state that, "Hey, we really have to kind of wait and see what Shanny and Allen do going into Year 2 of this thing." Until we have those multiple points of reference, we can't properly judge these guys on their rebuilding.
And let's not mix words. When Shanahan and Allen took over, a rebuilding process began. Maybe not a true "blow-it-up" kind of process employed by other teams in the league, but a rebuilding process nonetheless. The problem is that the Redskins marketing department decided to send out a memo to the fanbase suggesting that "The Future Is Now," which succeeded in confusing the hell out of everyone (perhaps even themselves). It is one thing for a fool like me to make a case for why my favorite team will make the playoffs. But it seems a little dirty for an organization that--after firing a head coach that probably should never have been the head coach and a general manager that probably should never have made it ten years as general manager--had to have known what it was in the process of cleaning up. There is no way that seasoned NFL guys like Bruce Allen and Mike Shanahan thought they were inheriting a true contender. And based on the amount of turnover from 2009 to 2010, it was clear that these guys were engaged in a very real rebuilding process.
We brought 24 new faces into the fold this season. Unfortunately, not many of them could beat out their elders to get onto the field. By elders, I mean people almost TWICE their age (maybe a slight exaggeration). So while you can't claim that this Redskins regime has "blown it up" like other teams have in the past, you can make the case that they are in the process of completely and aggressively overhauling the roster. After all, 24 new players is damn near half the 53-man roster (keep in mind, some of these new guys are on the practice squad, which does not count toward the 53-man roster). Granted, we have not seen all these new guys much or at all since the preseason. In other cases, we have gotten a healthy dose of raw, green, unproven players. At 5-7 thus far in 2010, the tinkering and experimenting can only be termed a success if it leads to better production in 2011. So we will wait. In the meantime, we probably need to bring as many new faces into the organization next season as we did this season. They can't of course all be draft picks, and we probably can't fill out the balance with free agents, so once again there will be guys seemingly off the street factoring into our performance next year.
My suggestion: put THAT in a memo and send to Redskins fans. Quit trying to put lipstick on this hog. That is my job. If only Bruce Allen sent out a memo to the Redskins fanbase that said:
"Dear Redskins Fan,
We appreciate your continued support of this great franchise. One thing was abundantly clear on the field in 2010--we still have a lot of work to do getting this team back to where we feel--and you demand--it needs to be. Our efforts are very much dedicated to rebuilding the product on the field. Further, we know this can't be done in just one season--not done right anyway. The absolute HIGHEST priority is being placed on utilizing our draft picks to bring in and develop talent that will form the foundation of great teams for years to come. We will continue to be aggressive in free agency, but only as long as each and every free agent acquisition is deemed to meet the very high character standards that will be in place as long as I am in charge here.
Between Coach Shanahan and myself, you can rest assured that going forward, you will be cheering on a team that is worthy of your emotional and financial investment.
We are very much at a crossroads here. I take very seriously the responsibility to not only breathe new life into a listless franchise, but also to invigorate a fanbase that has grown restless and frustrated. We will come out of this rebuilding process stronger and more talented than we were when we began. That, I promise.
P.S. Ken Meringolo is awesome."
Based on what I hear from my fellow fans in conversations, I can tell you this letter would be extraordinarily well-received. In addition to being honest, this kind of letter would require telling us NOTHING we don't already know. If they need to include some catchy slogan, maybe it can be "The Past Is Over", or "The Present Sucks."
Even if we believe that the Redskins know this stuff already, and are hard at work to right the ship already, this public display of acknowledgement and purpose would be REFRESHING. You know what? I bet it would feel as good for Bruce Allen to say as it would be for all of us to hear. Put away the crazy pills Mugatu. Grow up Peter Pan...Count Chocula. Let's all be on the same page for the first time since Marty Schottenheimer's brief stop here.
P.S. That last line is going to draw some fire.
P.P.S. You're awesome too Bruce.