This will be the first in a series of round table discussions between a few of the writers here at Hogs Haven in which a topic question will be asked and each person will get a chance to respond.
The main topic that most everyone has talked about with the Washington Redskins through the draft and free agency this year has been the fact that the Redskins don't have a quarterback that is viewed by the "experts" as an NFL starter. Did Mike Shanahan and Bruce Allen make the right decision by not drafting a top quarterback or picking up a seasoned veteran this off-season, and do you think the Redskins have been aggressive enough in free agency this year?
The Redskins definitely made the right decision. With the lockout, all of the QBs from the 2011 draft have had no time to learn the intricacies of their new playbooks. They will either struggle mightily or ride the pine all year. The Redskins had way too many holes to sit a 1st round pick for a year. Instead, they got a pass rushing compliment to Orakpo who can contribute early and often. At the same time, the Redskins are piecing together the O-Line. By minicamp next year, Shanahan will have guys entering multiple years in his system. That sounds much better to me. Watching Grossman and Beck will be very painful, but Kerrigan should give us some good moments as well.
I think the right decision was made this year, but I'm not sure that the decision was one hundred percent intentional. Who knows what Shanahan and Allen were trying to do when they traded back with the Jaguars? They could of thought they were getting into position for Ponder. But it was clear that Blaine Gabbert was not a viable option. Also, this year's quarterback class should be a lot better than 2011 with Andrew Luck, Landry Jones, Matt Barkley, Ryan Lindley, and others. Many teams took a QB this year and it seemed to be urgent moves, I think patience will pay off for us.
With that being said I would have like for us to have grabbed a guy like Kyle Orton or another veteran that we know can start in DC for two to three years. We may sell the farm to get Luck, but any other QB that we may draft will not be ready to play their first year in my opinion. So a guy like Orton with a two or three year deal would of been really nice.
Coach Shanahan and Bruce Allen absolutely made the right call in not trying to address the quarterback issue this season. By trading back in the draft the Redskins stockpiled picks, including those that led to WR Leonard Hankerson and RB Roy Helu Jr. (among others), while saving money. The Redskins also got an exceptional young talent in OLB Ryan Kerrigan, and he will have more of an impact over any rookie that would be learning on the sidelines. The fact that they continued to stay away from the position once the offseason started, showed a prudent move to value draft picks and resources over an immediate upgrade.
While the Redskins have been aggressive in releasing players and making trades, they have a mixed record and complacency when it comes to free agency. The Redskins punted on UDFA, signing barely anyone who was considered a draft prospect. They have been more aggressive on defense adding 26 year old Josh Wilson at CB, 27 year old Barry Cofield and Stephen Bowen to the DL. While all 3 are good signings, they have ignored a lot of cheap young players, who would have been great buy low candidates. On offense the Redskins have brought back Moss and added Jabar Gaffney and Tim Hightower via trade, but have only replaced one offensive lineman, from a group that was among the worst in the league last season. While there is little left on the market, it would be nice to see the Redskins add another quality starting lineman, while adding depth across the board.
Partially by chance and partially by circumstance, Mike Shanahan and Bruce Allen made the best choice by not addressing the need at quarterback. No one truly knows just how close the Redskins came to drafting a quarterback this year, had Jake Locker or Christian Ponder slipped a couple of picks down who’s to say they wouldn’t have been selected by the ‘Skins. That being said I do believe the Redskins could have made a move towards getting a veteran like Kyle Orton from the Broncos; a move that would have put them in better shape for this season and perhaps would have made a rookie quarterback transition much smoother next season when the draft class is richer. Rookie quarterbacks need a season or two to bring along so that would mean a hole could remain at that position for a few more years.
In the process of not addressing the quarterback position the Redskins did address other areas of need in the draft and free agency that will strengthen the team overall for years to come. The defense should return to top 10-15 status this season and the addition of OJ Atogwe should fill a hole that has been in the secondary for years now. The strategy of building a team up and then placing a quarterback into the system will probably lead to more success in the long run.
Quarterback is no doubt the most important position in the game, and the Redskins clearly have a big hole there to fill. That being said, it isn't the only position in the game. It's a team, and the Redskins had to make sure 2011 was about building a solid core up and down the roster. I agree with their decision to pass on a quarterback and focus on other areas of the team. 2012 will be a season where they can look to the draft, after hopefully another successful free agency period, for their potential franchise QB. If the parts around the QB are better, then the Redskins are in better shape to have their version of Mark Sanchez, Matt Ryan and Joe Flacco in the future.
I agree with that they've done in free agency, too, choosing to acquire 20 something’s who are being paid not by past performance, but for future performance, was the right way to go. It also doesn't hurt that the free agents brought in are seen as team first, character type of guys, something the Redskins desperately needed.
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