In honor of the Motley Crue concert I am attending with Kevin this Friday night at the Borgata (if you intend to be there, you better tell us), I thought I would go with this title. Now is not the time for self-pity, denial or delusion. That is what got us here in the first place. Let's own our situation and address it plainly. I always like to preface posts like this by saying that I DON'T support rooting for losses just so we can get a higher draft pick. I believe wins--no matter how few--are essential to the growth and development of an organization. Besides, rooting for losses is a terrible way to live. Wherever we end up in the draft, there will be at least one or two players that can help us right away. We just have to actually draft those players! Here goes:
Our quarterback situation is a disaster. Again. Except for an insanely hot streak at the end of 2012, the Redskins have not enjoyed any kind of stability or consistent, sustained competence at the quarterback position for quite some time. We've had promise. We've had hope. It's been fun, and to be completely honest, it's been enough fun--at times--to overcome the growing pains associated with grooming two young quarterbacks and taking the losses that go with such an endeavor. It really doesn't matter if you thought Kirk Cousins would show better or if you thought that Griffin was miles ahead of him at any point in time. It is somewhat controversial to judge quarterbacks based on wins, because of how much goes into winning and losing that is out of the quarterback's control. Great quarterbacks have winning in common, but we are not in a position to debate that level of quarterback play. I don't think Griffin or Cousins are as bad as their win-loss records, but this league is about winning, and the quarterback--rightly or wrongly--becomes the face of those wins and losses. As Redskins fans, we love our quarterback(s). Unconditionally. Jeez, just look at the way we embraced Colt McCoy. Colt freaking McCoy. I would always rather be about the love than the hate. Truth be told though...I would rather be about the wins. Someday! Once again, we are just about to the point where wins will be more about momentum for next season as opposed to meaningful progress toward current year goals.
Our "franchise" linebacker is out for the season. Again. He has a torn pectoral muscle. Again. You see, this is why I have deliberately refrained from overdeveloping my own pectoral muscles. When is the last time you heard of a "torn moob?" Moobs don't tear. They love. As for Brian Orakpo and his obvious disdain for moobs, I want to make sure I steer clear of apathy. I hated like hell to see him get injured again, but how shocked and disheartened can you be when something happens over and over again? I won't forget when he tore it for the first time. I was told by a medical professional that this injury was one that would never go away. I said, "Never?!?!? Surely modern medicine has advanced to the point where an athlete in his prime can recover fully from a torn muscle." Nope. He said this was the kind of deal he would be unable to escape from but I had already covered my ears and starting yelling, "Lalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalala." The good news is that we have yet to pay him a record multi-year contract. The bad news is that we are just the kind of team that would say, "Three pectoral tears? Sure...but FOUR? No way. Pay this man." It could be a blessing in disguise to see how Trent Murphy responds to more time ahead of our decision on what to do with the #98 car.
Our offensive line is struggling. Again. Aside from Trent Williams, this organization has decided not to rebuild the line at the top of the draft despite me yelling my moobs off that we need to do exactly that. It KILLS me to see the Dallas Cowboys have three top picks anchoring their line. It is absolutely the difference for them. What kills me more is that it isn't rocket science. We have known for years that the game is won and lost at the line of scrimmage. Bobby Beathard taught most of us this fact, even though it is no secret. I mean, for God's sake...having solid pass protection and run blocking isn't a damn magic trick! You have to have the horses. We have spent way too much time trying to be the smartest guys in the room on draft day, taking third rounders and touting them as "nearly ready" to step in and contribute.
Our defense, while respectably ranked in total yards and points given up, still gives up huge plays that change games. Again. We rank among the worst defenses on third downs converted. Unless I am reading the NFL.com stats incorrectly, we are also the most penalized defense. This is not the recipe for success. Our offense and special teams units have--at times--put the defense in tough spots, but it is possible for a defense to overcome such things. I have seen it on the television before...I swear some teams do it regularly. Injuries have eliminated a couple of top players and have forced young guys into positions where opposing offensive coordinators can isolate and expose them. I am encouraged by the development of guys like David Amerson, Bashaud Breeland, Keenan Robinson and even Trent Murphy. I guess it would be fairer to suggest that I am encouraged by the opportunity these guys have this year to develop. Murphy is going to have to develop a lot faster it seems. We could hit 2015 with a pair of cornerbacks that have a chance to make an impact. We could find ourselves with a Kerrigan/Murphy (Murphigan?) combo that is even more potent than Kerrakpo. I know it comes off as the brand of wishful thinking that Redskins fans have become famous for, but watching young players develop has become "what we do" in the second half of seasons.
I did kind of cover the penalty issue on defense already, but not the greater issue of the manner in which the Redskins are their own worst enemy. Again. Listen, feel free to kill the messenger on this, but in the stands this season, I hear a cacophony of unsurprised voices when we repeatedly commit careless mistakes and shoot ourselves in the foot. From individual mistakes on defense that lead to wide open receivers, to insanely ridiculous interceptions thrown, to play-calling mysteries, to special teams gaffes...there is something completely expected when we commit these mistakes. I listen to the reaction at the sports bar or at FedEx and I am finding that people have really come to count on such things occurring on Sundays.
Well, that was a lot to lay out, and there is both good and bad in it. Short of the "blowing it up" strategy that I don't believe we need to adopt, what would be one or two concrete moves you would make to try and change this? It's all on the table for us today. I will bat leadoff with two ideas for your consideration. First, I am ready to try and find a defensive coordinator candidate to replace Jim Haslett (shocker). Don't look now, but Rex Ryan is in trouble up in New York. If I'm Dan Snyder, I don't let him stay unemployed for more than 24 hours. He could even help us potentially add a guy or two in free agency, as good defensive players have historically wanted to play for him. My other idea is more drastic. With the trade deadline approaching, aren't there teams that might consider parting with a first or second round pick for DeSean Jackson? I get that he is our most dangerous player on offense, but if he nets us the ability to add a starting offensive lineman at the bottom of the first round or top of the second round, I think our future is much better served. I would be fine getting Andre Roberts and Ryan Grant more time to develop in the offense. DJax has shown what he can do. Surely there is a team in need of his services that would be willing to give up something valuable for him.
Don't go away mad, y'all. Dr. Feelgood will return eventually.