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Football Outsiders Explains Their Grim 3-year Outlook for the Redskins

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If you haven't heard of the Football Outsiders, then let me introduce you to them. They're extremely well-knowledged sports writers that record, manage, and analyze NFL stats that go above and beyond what anyone else does. Doug Farrar, who contributed an article to our Redskins Annual Magazine, and Bill Barnwell are the two Senior Writers and are must follows for the twitter people out there like myself. Lets get right into it. In the first excerpt, I question Matt Tanier, who wrote the Redskins piece, on his belief the Redskins should have gone a different route saving all their draft picks:

FO Excerpt: "The Redskins could have Jake Delhomme or Derek Anderson as their starting quarterback, with second-round pick Jimmy Clausen waiting in the wings. Or, they could have given Campbell another year, used their second-round pick on a defensive playmaker like Sergio Kindle, and let their defense win a few games while Shanahan made tough decisions on offense."

Hogs Haven: Seriously? Delhomme has showed zero value the last two years and who would you rather want to groom a future QB under? I'll take McNabb, which is evident with Kolb's emergence under the former Eagles Pro-Bowler. And look at what CLE paid Delhomme ($7 mil). I really challenge you on that statement because if the Redskins had signed Delhomme, you'd be writing how that was a typical horrible signing. Delhomme's only experience in the WCO was in New Orleans 10 years ago, where he only played a total of 6 games. Jason Campbell is the furthest thing from a WCO QB, which was evident with his slow release and problems with accuracy. McNabb has a career background as a WCO passer, and as the last 3 seasons have proven, the Redskins defense can only keep them in games, not win them. Do you agree with that?

Mike Tanier: Well of course I am not suggesting that Delhomme is better than McNabb. I am saying that the team could have gotten a veteran placeholder AND a quarterback of the future instead of spending draft picks on a short-term solution. And I don't doubt that McNabb will be better in 2010 than any of the other options available. The concern is about 2011, 2012, 2013. There is no quarterback of the future whatsoever, which is a real problem when your starter is in his 30s and has had a lot of injuries in recent seasons.

As for who is and who isn't a traditional WCO quarterback, I am as big a supporter of McNabb as you'll find in Philly, but if you are worried about accuracy on short passes and a slow trigger, I have some bad news for you.

Fair enough. I guess the real problem lies with what the Redskins' decade-long view: "The future is now." That's been the mentality even before Bruce Allen arrived. I thought we should blow up the roster completely after the DET loss, but Shanahan has done some exciting, cost-effective moves. I'm not opposed to his trades assuming we can stay healthy, which I am a lot more confident in now since the Redskins over-hauled their Strength & Conditioning staff. Next topic....

FO Excerpt: "It will be hard for the team to find and develop quality replacements. In a few years, Shanahan will be fired, McNabb will return to Philadelphia to retire with the Eagles, and Snyder will stand next to Urban Meyer heralding the start of another new era."

Hogs Haven: Those are some harsh words, but so far the Skins have proven the opposite by finding quality players at a very low cost. With very few draft picks to work with (Thanks Cerrato), the Redskins have been able to bring in some quality players (Adam Carriker, Jammal Brown). What most people don't realize is the Redskins did not lose draft picks in these deals, they only moved back. A huge difference since those late picks can be used to bring in youth or in a trade up if they have a player in mind. That is a HUGE change in football operations from past years where picks were given away, so I ask, do you really believe Shanhan will fail or was that just poetic writing?

Mike Tanier: I still don't see evidence of some great, coherent front office plan. I still see a bunch of old running backs, and a team trying to add Brian Westbrook for good measure. There's all the insane veteran filler on the roster that I mentioned in the article. You mention bringing in youth with draft picks. The best way to bring in youth is to bring in youth, not Vonnie Holliday.
Do I think Shanahan will fail? Yes, absolutely, if this is his, Allen's, and Snyder's idea of roster management. I can't look at this team with an old QB (no replacement on roster), old RBs (no replacement), old or bad WRs, question marks on the offensive line, and other problems, plus limited picks in future drafts, and say "well, the Carriker move was pretty good." This team needs real, actual, draft-guys-and-wait rebuilding. I thought Allen and Shanny were bringing that. They brought just the opposite.


Hogs Haven: It is a big leap of faith to think the Redskins will come on top out of this Cerrato over-haul. I am actually of the mind that they will struggle THIS year and improve over the next few years. With Shanahan being out of the NFL for a year, he got a long look at the college game, so I think the quality of the draft picks will be higher than average this year and next. I also think (hope) he'll start dumping some players for picks as the offseason goes on. Regarding your one comment, I was hoping I could get some clarification:

"I am as big a supporter of McNabb as you'll find in Philly, but if you are worried about accuracy on short passes and a slow trigger, I have some bad news for you."

What is that bad news? McNabb certainly has accuracy problems on short plays (worm balls), but I think he has one of the quicker triggers in the league. One could argue he holds the ball too long, but all of his highlight reels involve him making plays out of nothing (whereas Campbell has zero of those types of plays). McNabb's pocket awareness is also top-tier, which is evident in his ability to consistently get rid of it. I went fishing for passing stats in short yardage situations but didn't see any.

Mike Tanier: The bad news is that you said "Campbell is the furthest thing from a WCO QB, which was evident with his slow release and problems with accuracy." That was your argument as to why Shanahan shouldn't have kept Campbell around for another year while developing a Clausen or Colt McCoy. By those standards, McNabb is hardly the prototypical WCO quarterback, either. Of course McNabb is a better quarterback, for 2010, than Campbell. The crux of the argument remains that the Redskins have no plan for when McNabb takes the next step toward breaking down. The Eagles, who know him better than anyone else, started planning three years ago. The Redskins should have started planning in April, or (better) recognized that they aren't a Win Now team and passed on him.


Well, looks like we should fold the team and start rooting for the Ravens! Of course, we play the games for the reason. After last season, we all know the Redskins are re-building whether they want to admit or not. Wiping out 45% of last year's roster is re-building...I don't care how old the players are. Hopefully, in my interview with FO next year, Shanahan will have traded some "prime" players for draft picks having realized pre trade deadline the Redskins are not Super Bowl contenders. (Moss, Sellers, Rogers, etc).