You guys have been hearing me say it enough. Now you get to hear some of the talking heads say the same thing:
HogHunter's looks are becoming a problem.
The Redskins are having a very solid offseason.
I was leaning more toward the highest B+ I have ever given, thinking I needed to mask my optimism and joy over the work that McLovin' is doing. Grading offseasons has become somewhat difficult for me over the last decade or so, because I DEFINITELY got carried away by some of our more infamous offseasons. I know, I know...you're all shocked. The last few years have seen me deliberately pull away from getting too excited about anything the Redskins do in the spring. No need for me to go all "Navin Johnson" on you every time we sign a backup linebacker, I guess. This summer, however, it feels like the phone books are here every...damn...day.
Over at ESPN.com, Mike Sando trumped me with an A- for the burgundy and gold. There have been similar sentiments from around the interwebs that have really started to crack the hard candy shell that I have surrounded myself with for protection from shenanigans over the years.
Could it be that the Redskins are actually earning some respect for something other than below-the-waist close-ups of Jabar Gaffney? (If you don't get that joke, I don't advise you google any of it.)
McLovin' has really impressed me, as I know he has really impressed the rest of you. Getting the Redskins back into position to contend for division titles, and playoff wins, and eventually a chance to hoist the Lombardi Trophy takes multiple bites from the apple. It doesn't happen in one offseason and it won't happen because of just one or two big moves.
What I love about what the front office has done this offseason is that every move isn't billed as "franchise-defining" or anything even close to that. Drafting Brandon Scherff might be the exception, but a fifth overall draft choice should be as much about the player as it is about the conviction and direction of the front office. Investing in the offensive line was necessary for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is the realization that little can get done in this league without horses up front.
Instead, the assault on 26-year old free agent defensive players that are likely to come in and start right away for this team was a real treat to watch. Signing players that actually have a chance to both play out their contracts as well as meet expectations is refreshing. It was a very calculated approach and you would be a fool to suggest that important holes weren't filled with players who are absolute upgrades.
Yet all the holes were not filled. The reason is the one stated above: you can't (and maybe shouldn't try to) solve it all in one offseason. The work is still in progress, and yet the moves made this year are WAY beyond being considered mere band-aids.
My absolute top reason for gushing over what McLovin' has done this offseason is that--in my humble opinion--you can't succeed in establishing a contender in year three without making the kind of year one moves the Redskins have made. Pretty much every major move McLovin' has made stands to improve this team immediately, but that aside, these moves allow the team to develop both style and efficiency in a variety of schemes on both offense and defense. McLovin' can then continue to add the right pieces to it in the next two offseasons. There is purpose and direction to these moves. They are not terminal moves. McLovin' isn't going to stand in front of reporters and belligerently claim he has handed Jay Gruden a playoff roster. The trenches have been addressed meaningfully enough that Gruden--if he is ever going to do it--should be able to really start to show the world he can be an effective and successful coach in this league.
The skill players already in the fold should have a little more upside, and overall, the talent level just seems to be going in the right direction.
There was a time when this kind of offseason would be woefully inadequate to many fans...and one owner. While the jury remains in deliberation, early signs point to a new reality in D.C. In this reality, the Redskins have an actual chance to improve year over year. Better put: in this reality, the Redskins simply have a chance.