clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Redskins poised for a turnaround in 2007?

Same story plays itself out every year, whereas one team that struggled mightily in Year X breaks out in Year Y. The Saints played that role in '06. So it shocks no one when "Experts" (and I do not say that flippantly; the article I'm about to link identifies itself as expert-like) attempt to predict 2007's 2006 Saints. Which is exactly what MSNBC's Don Pierson did in a delightfully self-congratulatory titled piece: ASK THE NFL EXPERT. I'm no expert, though I think predicting next year's breakout team loses its strength when you effectively pick a majority of the last year's really bad teams. Don selects the Bucs, the Dolphins, the Cardinals, the Redskins, and the Lions as possible breakouts, meaning he's selected 5 of the 9 teams that won 6 or fewer games in 2006. In other words, he's already rewarded himself, by casting a large net, better odds on success than a coin flip. Anyways:

4. Washington Redskins. Joe Gibbs always has something up his sleeve and is unaccustomed to back-to-back losing seasons. He dropped from 10-6 in 2005 to 5-11 last year, but has high hopes for quarterback Jason Campbell, who started the last seven games last season and showed enough promise for Redskin backers to get excited.

A look at the NFC East reveals no dominant quarterback unless Philadelphia's Donovan McNabb can stay healthy and right his career. The Redskins figure Campbell isn't that far behind New York's Eli Manning or Dallas's Tony Romo and the defense cannot possibly be as bad as it was last season, when it fell from ninth to 31st. Adding veteran linebacker London Fletcher-Baker and top rookie safety LaRon Landry to fortify the middle should correct the flaws.

Gibbs already has two proven weapons in receiver Santana Moss and running back Clinton Portis, whose health is crucial.

Not that I'm in strong disagreement with that, though we're honored among the likes of Detroit and Arizona and Miami simply because the NFC East (which produced three playoff teams last year) is wide open? Or because we "cannot possibly be as bad" on one side of the ball? Stop it, I'm blushing.I am pretty sure experts had Arizona breaking out in 2006 (which they didn't) and Miami was a popular AFC Champion pick (and they weren't) and the last time Detroit went to the postseason Y2K was serious concern for many, begging the question: how many times can a team fail to breakthrough before predictions against evidence become ridiculous? But that's not even my main issue with this article, rather it was this gem later:

Q: Why did the Redskins pass up on running back Adrian Peterson for a secondary player when they already have Sean Taylor and company and could really use a young and talented running back to replace Clinton Portis and to develop along with their up and coming new quarterback, Jason Campbell? To me Peterson was the best player in the draft. I felt they missed a great opportunity there.
-- Josh Phillip, Sparks, Nev.

I'm sure there exist those Redskins fans who considered Adrian Peterson a reasonable selection, but don't count me among them. In fact I hadn't heard that rumored extensively anywhere, really, as running back was one of the places we were actually just fine. We had two 1,000 yard rushers on the roster at the time of the draft, both of whom were young and under contract through this decade (remember that Ladell Betts signed an extension in December). So I was shocked to not only see an "Expert" field this question, but grant it legitimacy, emphasis mine:

A: Hadn't thought of that, but you're probably right. Portis is still young, but he's been around for five years and has had injury problems, so maybe he's past his prime. As much as Joe Gibbs loves to run, Peterson would have made at least as much sense as LaRon Landry, who plays essentially the same way Taylor does.

Apparently Ladell Betts doesn't exist. If there were any doubt about the Redskins selecting Adrian Peterson, it disappeared on December 8th when we extended Ladell -- there's simply no way the Redskins are investing Betts' extension, along with Clinton Portis' contract, one of the largest for a RB in the NFL, along with the 6th pick money we'd have to pay Peterson. And why? So that we can have three potential 1,000 yard rushers on the team? That's overkill for a team that finished 31st defensively in 2006.So Adrian Peterson, who would effectively become a 3rd down back or else injury insurance for CP, makes as much sense as LaRon Landry? I had no idea that Pierson Prioleau was held in such high regard per the Experts. I consider a possible DB starter on a defense that was horribly bad as far more valuable than a backup running back in a unit that had literally just proven capable of withstanding injury to its marquee RB. But again, I am not expertly.

No disrespect intended towards Don Pierson, but I that Q/A was redonkeylegs.