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Wilbon Calls for a GM: I totally agree

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Update [2006-12-7 13:27:21 by Skin Patrol]: Brandon at the Curly R put up his take on it, which is predictably right on point. To use his analogy, we have too many chefs but not any Head Chef capable or willing to tell the other egos "no!" I couldn't agree more, and make sure to check it out.

Though there is a good bit I disagree with Michael Wilbon about in his most recent column, the general concept -- that the Redskins are in dire need of a qualified General Manager -- is a point I couldn't agree with more. Evidence of our disastrous offseason mistakes continues to grow, unabated and unchallenged:

The defense, in three years, has let Antonio Pierce, Champ Bailey, Ryan Clark and Fred Smoot go. This is not balanced by the acquisition of Andre Carter (three sacks, one impact game) and Adam Archuleta, now a $10 million special teams player. You're not going to read any criticism of Archuleta here. He should have taken the money the Redskins offered. Right after the Redskins signed Archuleta, a scout told me: "Everybody in the league knows Archuleta has left it all on the field. He can't be an every-down player anymore. Why do you think St. Louis let him go? What are the Redskins thinking?"
Two parts to this criticism. One is that we've let go some quality players; Antonio Pierce wanted too much money so we gave it to away to lesser player. His 93 tackles are good for 6th in the NFC and higher than any Redskins player. We got Clinton Portis for Champ Bailey so I'm not yet willing to call that trade out (though we did overpay in draft picks). I think Ryan Clark's absence has been adequately felt in the secondary; we were the 10th best passing defense in the league in 2005. Now we're 24th. One player Wilbon left off is Walt Harris, who we also let walk last year. His 6 interceptions are good for 2nd in the league and more than our entire team!

Second, why does everyone know that Adam Archuleta was a bust before we did? There needs to be someone in our front office who is capable of cock-blocking bad personnel decisions. When Gregg Williams (or whomever) says "We need that Adam Archuleta" there needs to be a mechanism in place to protect the franchise. And what's up with our financial decisions? Ryan Clark would cost too much to keep but Adam Archuleta is worth exactly the highest salary for a safety in NFL history?

It is almost as if there exists a giant, gaping disconnect between our financial decisions and our personnel convictions. Once the team determines they want a player, there is no price that is too high. And once we've decided to abandon a player, there is no reasonable salary we're willing to pay. Might as well throw this in there as well:

Nowhere is the need for a general manager more evident than in the disastrous trade for Duckett. The Redskins gave up at least a third-round pick (the total cost of the deal won't be known until after the season) for an insurance policy against an injury to Clinton Portis and then did not play him even after Portis got injured. Or in situations perfectly suited to his talents.
Great point! What possible situation could've arisen whereas TJ Duckett would've had his number called that hasn't already occurred? CP is injured and yet Duckett still isn't getting the ball. Let me remind you of this frustrating series of downs against Dallas where a big bruising back might've been the difference between zero and six points:
1-4-DAL4 (9:51) C.Portis left tackle to DAL 3 for 1 yard (D.Ware, J.Ratliff).
2-3-DAL3 (9:14) C.Portis right guard to DAL 4 for -1 yards (R.Fowler).
3-4-DAL4 (8:35) M.Brunell pass incomplete short left to A.Randle El.
PENALTY on DAL-T.Newman, Defensive Holding, 2 yards, enforced at DAL 4 - No Play.
1-2-DAL2 (8:30) C.Portis right end to DAL 1 for 1 yard (R.Fowler, T.Newman).
2-1-DAL1 (7:54) C.Portis up the middle to DAL 1 for no gain (R.Fowler, M.Spears).
3-1-DAL1 (7:14) L.Betts left end to DAL 1 for no gain (R.Williams, B.James).
4-1-DAL1 (6:40) C.Portis up the middle to DAL 1 for no gain (B.James, J.Ferguson).
Yet I can't even blame them for not using TJ Duckett since he probably wasn't even dressed to play. Why!?

Please, Washington, bring in a qualified General Manager to focus his efforts on scouting players (which, Wilbon correctly points out, is a "full-time job") and doing quality control on our ludicrous personnel decisions. We'll no doubt still suffer some hiccups, but at least they won't be as devastating in the long term as our financially tone deaf ones this year have been. And perhaps a GM will finally recognize that sustainable success happens when you draft players.

I'm all ears on arguments why this Redskins team is fine without a competent GM. Have at it.