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Tandler: Pass Rush is the (best available) solution

Tandler addresses the Fletcher/Clements debate and says yes to the former and no to the latter. He also excercises the kind of forward thinking fiscal responsibility that will never get him hired for the Redskins (emphasis mine):

After cutting a few more players such as John Hall and David Patten and giving Mark Brunell a pay cut (not a traditional restructure, where money is moved into future seasons, but an actual reduction in pay), the Redskins will have somewhere in the vicinity of $10 million in cap room. Certainly, they could structure a deal that could fit Clements for this year, but it would be fiscally irresponsible to do so. The Redskins already are over the cap next year ($119 million cap figure, cap should be a little less than that) and they will have Chris Cooley's contract expiring. In addition, they may want to extend Jason Campbell if he as a solid season as he will have just two years left on his rookie deal.
Fans need to realize that a player signed yesterday might mean someone else doesn't get signed today. Think Derrick Dockery in 2007. Chris Cooley is currently getting paid less than 700K a year. He's also one of the best TEs in the conference meaning he expects and deserves to get paid substantially in the very near future.

It is often said that the Redskins are never in cap trouble because we can always restructure so well (which we can't; there is no magic strategy the Redskins have unlocked that other teams haven't figured out) and that money can always be postponed in payment until tomorrow because the cap will be higher. And, in fact, the cap will be higher.

Major problem with this is that as the cap increases, so increase players' salaries. Claiming that it is best to pay in 2008 what one could pay in 2007 is only partially correct, because as there will be a bigger pie to draw from in 2008, players and their agents will also expect (and receive) a larger portion.

What this means is that Chris Cooley and Jason Campbell, as the future of this team offensively, will eventually sign huge contracts that pay them under the new salary cap. The new CBA agreement last year increased the cap by 17M; player's incomes haven't had time to trace that rise but they will soon. Early indicators such as Clements insane 20M signing bonus demand are just the tip of the iceberg. Many veterans, and rookies for that matter, will slowly realize that the deals signed under the 80-90M salary cap days are already obsolete. The market is going to bear a lot of nonsense demands from the players.

Back to Tandler...

There isn't much available at the [Cornerback] position in the draft and a lot of teams in need of a solid cornerback have a lot of cap room, so the bidding for Clements quickly will become astronomical.
His ultimate conclusion is to bring in a cheaper CB, like Fred Smoot. Shawn Springs is probably headed out of town.

All this suggests that the Redskins are going to be incapable of significantly upgrading their secondary. Springs will be gone but cannot be replaced by Clements. There is no instant bandaid available at that position from the draft. Thus:

[T]he key to the Redskins' 2007 pass defense is the pass rush. If they can draft a pass-rushing defensive end and if Williams can figure out a way to have his blitzers find the quarterback instead of finding blockers the Skins can get by just fine with a tandem of Carlos Rogers and Smoot at corner. If they record only 19 sacks again it won't matter if the have Nate Clements, Champ Bailey, Darrell Green and Pat Fisher in the backfield, opposing QB's and receivers will continue to torch them.
We agree that our pass rush last season is largely to blame for the failures of our secondary (I would add in injury, as I'm sure Tandler would agree). Frankly it wouldn't matter anyways because we really can't fix the secondary in 2007.

So a heavy draft focus on a pass rush combined with Gregg Williams banging his head against the wall figuring out a schematic way to throw opposing QBs off their gameplan is the best available of few solutions.

Or is it? TexSkins outlined a scenario that goes a long way towards solving both needs:

scenario 3 Trade down further, get a 2nd rounder.  Take a top CB (probably not Hall but one of the others) and still get a DE that is for sure a starter-caliber guy.  Use the 5th rounder on a DT.

I think the best option is to look to trade as far down as the 18-22 range and still get a good player there AND a 2nd rounder.  TEN (#19) I know has 10 picks.  I'm sure there will be another team wanting to move up.

The team has too many needs and too few picks to stay at #6 and not pick again until the 5th round.  It's that simple.

The only criticism is that the team doesn't do enough in any one area by doing too little everywhere. A Chris Houston might be someone we can plug in and start immediately, but then again he might not. And the difference between a Tim Crowder and a Gaines Adams/Jamaal Anderson could end up more pronounced than either I or TexSkins are willing to grant. (But really I'm just playing Devil's Advocate, because I want us to trade down.)

Reader(s): Is Tandler right (and he usually is)? Should we focus on the Pass Rush, the Secondary, or can we risk a shot at Both?