I think this is the most appropriate way to count down the days of training camp this summer. I am counting from Saturday, July 30.
You hear that the Redskins are "in the mix" for a player here and there, but so far all of the action at Redskins Park has--to the national observer--been somewhat pedestrian. I know...I don't know what to with myself either. Even though I am petrified to play the Eagles this year, I am glad we did not employ their offseason strategy. Had we embarked on a classic Snyderesque tour of the nation, gathering names and big contracts, it would have been the biggest mistake we could have made. Give credit to Shanahan and Allen for sticking to their guns and going with youth, inexperience and (cross your fingers!) potential. It takes a huge pair of coconuts to trot out John Beck and/or Rex Grossman against that Eagles defense. If I am John Beck, I am probably hiring a lawyer, because his life is going to be in legitimate peril.
So Bruce Allen and Mike Shanahan continue down the rebuilding path, shying away from the "missing piece" signings that have previously plagued this franchise. As some of the training camp battles get underway in earnest, I think we will all consider a best-case scenario or two that could carry us to being competitive in 2011.
But I urge all of you to enjoy something not seen very often around here: a meaningful dedication to developing young talent. If the rookies can't make immediate contributions, we have a few middle-tier veteran options to keep the seats warm. Enjoy watching guys like Leonard Hankerson learn on the job. Enjoy seeing if one of the young linebackers can emerge as a long-term solution in the middle.
Take a minute or two and enjoy the part of the journey we have been robbed of in recent years: the hard work that goes into building a legitimate contender. Every drop of 2011 sweat will pay dividends for the next three to five years. As fans, it is exciting because we will see guys emerge this year that will be contributors in burgundy and gold for a long time. It truly is the kind of season that players, coaches and fans all invest themselves in equally. For those that buy into this program from any of these categories, the payoff will be greatest.