1. I appeared on Danny Rouhier's show this past Saturday on 106.7 The Fan and we spoke about the various quarterback plans the Redskins could pursue this offseason. As you would expect, I pressed my trade-down plan, which was not the most popular idea I have offered on their air (that honor goes to my 2009 promise that Kevin would spend all of his free time covering every Devin Thomas photo shoot) . I went all in with my "trade down, take a flier on a quarterback this year and if he doesn't work out, use the added ammo in the 2013 draft to trade up."
2. Danny's biggest question at the end was simply, "Does this fanbase possess the patience for that?" He wanted to know if I thought this fanbase could withstand another year (or years) of uncertainty at the quarterback spot. That is a very fair question, as we can, should and do think about ourselves with regard to the evolution of the Redskins. Put simply, I believe the fanbase will support the continued development of the roster as long as Bruce Allen continues to find serviceable players into the fourth round and beyond.
3. The trail of tears that is the last decade or so for Redskins fans might dictate for some that we do whatever it takes to break the cycle of misery NOW. I know I could use some wins and some positive momentum, but I am most interested in seeing the Redskins become a good team for the next 10-15 years or longer. My concern is that we could miss an opportunity to cement the foundation for a team built to win for the long haul by either trading up in this draft or reaching for a passer in this draft.
4. Longevity should be our main goal. I am no longer interested in making the moves necessary to spark a one-year playoff run. It is fool's gold, and Redskins fans have been served heaping piles of it in recent years. Sure, whenever we are able to bring in a franchise quarterback, we will be a lot closer to the goal of longevity, but for that quarterback to have a chance, there has to be a lot more in place around him than what we have now.
5. On one hand, it isn't that I don't care if we suffer through what is essentially a two-year plan that I am proposing from here. After all, Shanahan and Allen have already been here for two years. I do care, because I am among the suffering. But I also understand what it means to be down for a LONG TIME. One more year of foundation-building after all of the shenanigans that have transpired here is hardly a tipping point. If we truly believe in Bruce Allen, then we should be happy to let him bring in one more sizable draft class full of guys who are capable of becoming career Redskins.
6. Further, since when has the Redskins organization truly considered the feelings of the fans while planning its actions? Granted, there have been a few moves made over the years that were ostensibly driven by a desire to appease the fanbase. How did that work out for us? I would sure hate to see this team sacrifice some of the momentum being made to execute a move that is designed more to sell tickets and make fans happy than to win games for the long haul. Wins would make happy. Genuine contention would make me happy. I am not convinced that trading away three or four potential starters for one rookie quarterback sets us up with the ability to contend for years to come.
7. Do I think that drafting Robert Griffin III would be more about selling tickets than winning games for the next ten years? How about I just say that it is a concern I have. That said, I think RG3 is going to be a very good NFL player. I think he is capable of coming in and starting right away. I just worry about any quarterback's chance to thrive in this offense right now, and acquiring the rights to draft Griffin will likely deplete the necessary resources to build core components of our offense--line and wide receiver specifically.
8. As Kevin rightfully points out, the decision to roll with John Beck and Rex Grossman in 2011 hardly smacks of a plan to make moves specifically to sell tickets. You could argue that anything they do at the quarterback position would likely draw fans. (Put down your phone Jeff George.)
9. We can't--and shouldn't--be afraid to pull the trigger on players that have the full faith of Shanahan and Allen to change the fate of our team. I am not opposed to the idea of trading up--at some point. I am not opposed to the idea of making Shanahan and Allen earn their money and pick the players we need. I just want one more year of stockpiling picks to get the foundation of this team set for years to come. You won't get any argument out of me when it comes to the fact that you need a very, very good quarterback to be a very, very good team. Our need there is undeniable, and gambling a top pick at some point on a quarterback is inescapable. I just see too many other needs that could be solidly addressed this year ahead of that decision. If we did put it off for another year, we are talking about a potentially miserable extra year to this plan.
10. That extra year could likely result in us suffering through more disappointment and heartache. It could likely result in us being back here in the same place next January, debating the merits of trading up to get Barkley, or whichever other college quarterbacks have risen to top tier status. But if Bruce Allen and Mike Shanahan are successful in identifying quality players with the additional picks we would receive by trading down, we could be in for a long run of success. Perennial winners are built from the ground up. That takes more than just one good draft, as well as the ability to fight off the temptation to speed things up by trading away a bunch of future picks. Put a different way--I believe that if Bruce Allen trades down in this draft and makes the most of the acquired picks, we would likely be in a position to begin comparing the way our team is built to the way the best teams in the league are built. Growing pains could cause a little sustained misery for us, but wouldn't the progress be obvious enough to allow hope to become the predominant sentiment? Why should our misery drive the decision now?