1. If you are waiting for me to start screaming for the Redskins to sign Chris Cooley, you will be waiting for a while, even though I think it would be freaking awesome to see #47 come out of the booth. I think the word 'dire' is called for when discussing our tight end situation, but thankfully there is a man in charge (McLovin') who is equipped to deal with just such a scenario. Enter D.J. Williams and Ernst Brun, Jr. Signing Chris Cooley is soooooooooooooo typical...of the way we used to do things. In the old days (the early 2000's, through 2012ish), this would be a PR spectacle. Press conferences with Dan Snyder and Chris Cooley would be appointment viewing for us all. We would completely lose sight of the things that mattered as we tracked every route and reception Cooley made. There is a sick side of me that misses those days, but only because, for so long, that was the only we we knew how to do things.
2. When Niles Paul and Logan Paulsen were announced as "unavailable" for the remainder of this season, my first thought was, "Your move, McLovin'." And I was EXCITED about that. I was not happy to lose two tight ends, nor was I excited about losing a player like Niles Paul. He is a guy who has worked his ass off here since being drafted out of Nebraska. It's nothing against Logan Paulsen, who turned Mike Shanahan's head and earned a spot on this offense, but I have always hoped that Niles would be that upper-echelon second tight end that so many good teams use to beat down opposing defenses. As for my aforementioned excitement, well, this is the kind of spot where front office guys earn their stripes.
3. I really liked his draft, and I thought his free agency execution was spot on, but these are the times when guys like McLovin' show the world some things. If you recall, in a quasi-similar situation, a young man named Vinny Cerrato made a training camp deal to acquire Jason Taylor. Our starting defensive end, Phillip Daniels, went down during the first training camp practice and before you could say, "Calm down, Phillip's great and all, but losing him is hardly the end of the world," Cerrato got burned by Bill Parcells. I guess you couldn't blame Vinny...after all, he thought he had already traded away every second round pick we had for the next decade. When he saw he still had a 2009 second rounder, it was like a puppy discovering it had an extra penis. In other words, he didn't know what to do with himself. That was the backdrop for my weekend of pondering what we would see out of our new front man, and there was ZERO part of me that ever felt like McLovin' was going to make the same kind of mistake.
4. I don't doubt that every GM in the league has a "list" of players to move on in the event something happens to a roster guy. The difference is that Vinny's list was full of players already on other rosters, as if they were his very own developmental teams. Acquiring players on his list required trading away valuable assets to ensure he could hand his head coach a "playoff-caliber" roster. McLovin' pulled out his list and made calls to two players desperate to find a spot in the league. D.J. Williams (26 years old) and Ernst Brun (24 years old) are not coming into town with guaranteed contracts or guaranteed roster spots. They will need to claw their way onto our roster if they have any hopes of donning the burgundy and gold. These are the kinds of players you want to add in training camp. These are the kinds of players that you can look back and see were added to previous McLovin' teams out west. The Seahawks, in their run-up to getting very, very good, tried out pretty much every player on the street. I would argue that this strategy worked out alright for them. Young, unproven players fight the hardest in this league, on average. Locating ones that are literally praying for a chance to give you 110% on a steamy, August practice field is what top-tier football men do. Nobody is penciling in either of these new tight ends in the Pro Bowl, but the point is this: if this is what we can expect from McLovin' in the face of adversity, it stands to reason we are going to come out okay. We still have pretty much all of our future assets, and we have added two young players that will fight for the chance to play any role they can earn. If we're being honest, the dropoff from Paul/Paulsen to Williams/Brun is probably not as great as you think, and both have future upside. When you break the bank to bring in 33-year old players on the cusp of retirement, future upside is nowhere to be found.
5. Lost at least a little bit in all of this is the presence of our very own Jordan "Mr. Glass" Reed. I kid. He has had a problem staying healthy, but so would most of us in a league where people get broken jaws standing in front of their lockers. (I considered opening up for discussion which Hogs Haven commenter would be considered most likely to get Geno'ed, but I worried about the conversation going negative.) Losing Niles hurts, but not as much as losing Reed would at this point of the season. There is no doubt that losing players so entrenched on our roster dings our offense, but the truth of the matter is we still have our #1 guy and it is not unreasonable to hope one of these new players is capable of filling the void. At the end of the day, our tight end position is largely unsettled. It is on a very long list of positions that need to be firmed up, and there is only so much McLovin' can do at any one time. We need to hope for a big season out of Reed and the development of at least one of these unproven guys. At the end of the day, trying out guys like D.J. Williams and Ernst Brun is exactly what we should have been hoping for with McLovin' in the fold. This is where stripes are earned. This is how you find the right kind of players to fill out the bottom of your roster. This is how you build an identity that goes beyond the names on the backs of jerseys. I hate losing Niles Paul, but I love the response from our GM. Finally, I know you can argue that he was short on options and strategies and that this is hardly something to get worked up over. If you are arguing that, however, you likely have either forgotten or never experienced the days when reaction to these kinds of events was met with lunacy...sheer and utter lunacy.
6. Do you even know how many tight end jokes I avoided in this piece alone, not to mention all the opportunities in the sports news in D.C. over the last few days? I'm going to need therapy after navigating this minefield.