Ken Meringolo's Lockout Diary: Forty Days and Forty Nights in the NFL Desert

Usually, I lament the plight of the NFL fan in this space...inviting my fellow fans to splash around with me in the bird bath of excrement that the NFL has left for us this offseason. As fun as that does sound, I think I will go in a different direction today and spare us the dip in the pit of defecation that is the NFL Lockout.

Though I will say that things aren't looking so hot for the players these days. The NFL owners, led by Roger "Smoove" Goodell, are still rich, fat and happy (according to the latest reports detailing the plight of today's billionaire.) While many players are doing just fine, in the absence of any other football-related news, we are left with just the arrests and negative headlines (for the most part). Mike Jones over at the Post did a great piece on our boy Selvish Capers, the young offensive lineman who isn't even eligible for the lockout payments the union is doling out this offseason. But more often than not, the news tends to be bad these days. At least that is the way it seems when I glance at the ticker that scrolls beneath my Madden PS3 home page.

We're 40 days into this thing and the only thing keeping us from really dealing with the absence of football is the fact two other pro leagues are in the playoffs. I am obviously watching the NHL Playoffs because of the Caps, but even without the Wizards, I usually always watch the NBA Playoffs no matter who is playing. It is bitterly painful to watch the Heat, but I try and follow along. When these postseasons end, we are left with nothing but baseball. That ain't very crack-a-lackin'.

Yet we are a week away from the NFL Draft, an event that has historically been an oasis in the middle of the NFL's downtime each year. That will be especially true this year, and for Redskin fans, it offers a chance to see what direction a team precariously perched on the brink of craptacularity will go.

Clearly the best move we can hope for is a trade down. It would almost certainly net us an additional starter, assuming the quarterback they take cracks the lineup in the next year or two. And yes, count me among the millions that believe Mike Shanahan will grab one of the top seven or eight passers in this draft and try to groom him.

If that is the case, please also count me among those pulling hard for Rex Grossman to be the starter in 2011. If we are serious about rebuilding, at some point we have to be able to suck it up and trot out a marginal quarterback to bridge the gap that won't close until the "Quarterback of the Future" is ready to begin his reign. We probably should have done it last year. Wait...we definitely should have done that last year. But I fell for the McNabb deal and so I can't/won't act like I knew it was a bad trade.

Who better to be the face of our commitment to being shitty for a year than Rex Grossman? I mean, he's perfect. And even better, he fits in as a long-term backup given his familiarity and relative comfort level in this offense. If he was so inclined, he could be a huge asset to whatever rookie we draft. Rex is no dummy. The Hall of Fame isn't dusting off a spot for his bust in Canton. His best chance to make a living in the league for the long haul is going to be holding a clipboard, helping to bring along younger, better quarterbacks and occasionally playing when injuries force him onto the field.

I am not even worried about Rexy playing well next year. Short of going undefeated and being named Super Bowl MVP, Grossman is not going to be "Mr. Right" in this town. But he can be "Mr. Right Now" for a team that simply can't afford the high standards and choosiness that better-looking franchises exercise at the happy hour bar that is the NFL talent pool. We can and will kick this guy out of bed after one season.

OK...enough comparing the Redskins to the hard-up dude at the club. If anything, we have been the hard-up chick at the club, settling for one bad decision after another, getting picked off by individuals who have zero respect for us and ultimately getting knocked up by a guy like Andy Reid, leaving us to care for a quarterback that not only saps our youthful good looks, but also significantly limits the extent we can show any respect for ourselves in our pursuit to find a home for said quarterback.

Where was I?

Oh yeah...not having a pity party.

I am excited about the draft. I love the hope it brings to every team in the league. I live for watching the experts be right as well as wrong about which players will go where. I think Mel Kiper, Jr. is great and I anxiously await to see how many shades darker his glasses will be this year.

And this draft could very well determine what our Redskins will look like for the next decade. For better or worse.

Go Caps!

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