1. First let me address the elephant in the room. A topic so divisive, it made people rip each other apart in the comments section, came up and I feel the need to ring in on it. Of course, I am talking about Ryan Clark wearing #21 this season. I remember after Sean Taylor was murdered. I remember there were players around the league who went out of their way to pay their respects. One of them was Ryan Clark. He began wearing #21 at practice and to my knowledge, kept it up his whole time in Pittsburgh. Ryan played with Sean and took the tragedy hard. If anyone should be allowed to go into the rafters and pull down #21, it would be a player like Ryan Clark. He has become a leader in the league, and players from all teams look to him at times to speak for them on the various issues facing the NFL. I have no problem seeing Ryan Clark in a #21 practice jersey, because I know that when he wears it, he thinks the way that we do: to wear it is to honor Sean. The truth of the matter is that I could get comfortable seeing him in that jersey on game days for that same reason. I don't think we are worried about that argument today, though.
2. The biggest question I get asked now is, "What now?" We've spent pretty much all of our money, and the draft is a month away. My first answer is, "Take a breath." The Jackson signing was really like a time machine ride back to the old days when the Redskins regularly made such spectacularly splashy moves on a regular basis. It has been a while since then, and let's be honest--we almost weren't ready to handle it this time around.
3. I think there is a very real possibility the Redskins can and will make another huge move as we arrive at the draft. If that is true, than we need to be doing some calisthenics or something to get ready. Even if it is just to add an additional second round pick in this draft, that move is enough to net us another probable starter. That is enough to get us all very, very excited, and it is certainly enough to give us days and days of passionate debate on what to use the pick on. You think you've seen a lot of mock drafts in the comments sections? Wait until we add a second round pick...somehow. (Kirk Cousins is the most likely to be involved, of course. I am artfully dodging the part where I argue that I would rather have Kirk on the team, which would be at least half of the debacle if and when the deal went down.)
4. Point #4 is usually a drum-banging point, so here goes. Please draft a right tackle in the second round. Please. You can have Jerry Rice, Calvin Johnson and Art Monk out wide for you, but if your quarterback is getting manhandled in the backfield it is a total waste. Consider the drum...banged.
5. Thanks to the fact that Washington hired a new coach, starting today, we get a two week head start on the bulk of the league. We have enjoyed that benefit...uhhhhhh...frequently. Clearly you want to check and see how the injured players are progressing, but I suppose my top priority would be to see if a few of our second and third year guys are going to be able to impress anyone. Josh LeRibeus--looking at you on this one. Adam Gettis, Tom Compton and Bacarri Rambo are three young players that could either take the next step for this team and contribute meaningfully, or they could take the next step out the door. Sessions like the one that starts today with a new coach watching are priceless opportunities for players like these (among others).
6. I wanted to address the article published yesterday that was heavy on religion. It is my fault because I did not make Daniel Kelly fully aware of what is and what is not the "right amount" of religion on a site like this one. We come here to talk about football, and though we spend plenty of time talking about everything but football sometimes, an article with such a central theme of religion can certainly turn some people off. Dan is a good guy and his experience in the league as a scout under some of the biggest names in the business is a huge get for Hogs Haven. I hope that when future columns Dan writes are published, everyone will enjoy the content with the spirit for which it is intended.