1. Dear Hogs Haven readers,
If you're reading this, you already know. It's Tuesday. I gave myself the extra day to compile my thoughts. It is a small pile.
2. I have spent the past two days in New York City and have had occasion to discuss the state of the Redskins with fans of what feels like every other team in the league. I have to say that this has been somewhat therapeutic. Imagine my hidden delight when I found myself in a conversation with a Rams fan and a Raiders fan, surrounded by Jets fans watching the Monday Night Football game. There is little comfort when engaging Rams fans. They have built a core group of talented young players. Even in a division like the NFC West, this organization has a chance to compete very soon. The Oakland fan...staring down the barrel of Peyton Manning for however long he plays...I felt genuine sorrow for his plight. Even after Peyton leaves, you have to believe Kansas City is going to upgrade their quarterback situation, adding to a fairly solid collection of talent there.
3. Jets fans on the other hand...talk about looking in the mirror. Did anyone see Rex Ryan's press conference after the game last night? Wow...talk about dejection. Talk about depression. You want quarterback problems? How about a guy who completes SEVEN passes? How about a team that ran the ball on third and ten!!!??! I couldn't believe my eyes. The fans I hung out with at the bar near the end of that game could have been the same people I watched the last Redskins game with...same sense of defeat, same sense of "what are we going to do now?" and the same sense of "how long is this going to last?" It was like a Christmas miracle. Just when I thought that nobody had it as bad as us, I got to see first hand how other fan bases are suffering. Is that a Christmas miracle?
4. Here's a question I got repeatedly: If Colt McCoy plays lights out ball over the next month, does Jay Gruden hand him the keys to this team in 2015 or not? I feel like every time I answered this question, I added more to it. Here goes: I can't see any realistic scenario where Jay Gruden names Colt McCoy the starter going into the 2015 season. I am not sure which guys will be here next July to compete for it, but the starting position will be decided in an open competition. Something tells me that Jay Gruden has no interest in deciding between Kirk Cousins, Colt McCoy and Robert Griffin III. One or two of these guys will be in the mix, but I will bet dollars to donuts that someone else is brought in to compete--and I don't mean a rookie. I know Jay is not his brother, but Jon Gruden loved few things more than signing quarterbacks. He loved to bring them in, work them out, and see if they possessed that "it" factor that he was always so relentlessly pursuing year-round. I fully expect Jay Gruden to stock the pond at Redskins Park with fresh arms between now and next summer. I fully expect there to be names that will cause us all to roll our eyes and scratch our heads as they get brought in for legitimate looks. As for Colt McCoy, I think he has already shown that he deserves consideration to be included in that competition, but no Vegas handicapper worth his salt is going to install him as the favorite. It remains to be seen what defensive coordinators will figure out and employ against Colt over an extended period of time, although I don't think we should hold his time in Cleveland against him.
5. Another thing I added, probably after a few whiskeys: watch out for Sam Bradford. I have NO idea what plans St. Louis may have for Bradford. They have so much talent on that roster--a healthy Bradford could take them places. Then again, we know about his health. If he were to become a free agent, I think there would be interest from many teams. He would almost have to sign a salary cap friendly deal, based largely on his ability to stay on the field. He would almost have to agree to compete for a starting job as opposed to being given one. He would almost have to consider going to a team that already has at least one established veteran looking to win the job. Don't look now, but I think I just outlined the "Help Wanted" ad Gruden will be placing in the NFL classifieds. Would Bradford be the long-term answer? Would Bradford be our next "franchise quarterback?" Would Bradford stunt any potential for Griffin to grow into a "franchise quarterback?" Let me be very clear: WHO CARES?!?!?! If it's true that we don't have a starting quarterback yet for 2015, then what we need is as many qualified competitors for the job as we can find. We can't afford to overpay or commit too much money there. We need players who are hungry to prove something. I am not saying Bradford is my dream quarterback, but he pretty much fits this bill.
6. As for RG3, a player that I still love and want to see succeed, he is going to have to live with the reality that he is no longer #1 on any list right now. I don't see how the Redskins can justify exercising the fifth-year option on him at this point, turning him into a guy playing on a one-year contract. Perhaps that is what he needs: his back to the wall. Between Griffin and Kirk Cousins, the Redskins have succeeded in proving that the value we thought we had at the quarterback position was...ummmmmmm...overstated. RG3 has to prove his abilities to every GM in the league, not just Bruce Allen (am I supposed to make a harvest-related reference here?) and he needs to do it without the benefit of a coach who drafted him or a team that is dedicated to him for the long haul. He is going to have to play his cards very carefully. There is no way he wants to play on a one-year deal. Nobody that has suffered the kinds of hits and injuries he has can stomach that kind of insecurity, but can he afford to hold out? Can he afford to thumb his nose at plays designed to make use of his unique athletic abilities? Can he afford to be a player that rumors swirl around? As much as I hate to say it for RG3's sake, this situation becomes ideal for the Redskins. They get a guy who almost has to do whatever the team wants him to do or he risks becoming somewhat untouchable for the bulk of the teams in this league. Griffin has between now and next summer to solve the problems that have plagued his play. The Redskins have between now and next summer to create an environment where Griffin and the other competitors for the starting job can flourish. As I found out by talking to fans of other teams, it could be worse. That doesn't make it suck any less to be a Redskins fan these days, but we continue to believe that our best days are ahead of us. In a league like the NFL, those days are always closer than you think.