Through various points in the Redskins' 2015 season, there were moments where I thought "OH F*CK! WE'RE DONE!" Of Course, we were not done...only just beginning.
Before the season started the Redskins lost presumed starting OLB Junior Gallette, starting TE Niles Paul and backup TE Logan Paulsen.
During the season, starting LG Shawn Lauvao, starting SS Duke Ihenacho, starting WR DeSean Jackson, starting CB Chris Culliver and starting C Kory Lichtensteiger all went down for either the season or long periods of time.
Because of sound management, these losses weren't the season-ending Redskins curses that we would all later use for excuses of why the team stunk. Instead, McCloughan was able to fill out the roster with good depth and guys like Quentin Dunbar (UDFA), Will Blackmon (street FA), Spencer Long (3rd round pick), Preston Smith (2nd round pick), Kysheon Jarrett (6th round), Mason Foster (street FA) and Jamison Crowder (4th round). These are players who were not expected to "save the season" last year, but injuries are going to happen every year in the NFL and the teams with good depth come out on top.
Now, everyone is gassed up on the Cowboys as the NFC East favorite this year. To this I reply with a vulgar wrist and hand motion.
"But iH8, Romo and Dez were hurt. When they come back they'll be straight beasting on the NFC East."
Um, no. I'm not denying that losing a starting QB and WR hurts a team. But a team that is supposed to be the NFC East favorite should be able to at least muster 8-8 with a backup QB. I mean, with THAT offensive line (greatest in history, ask a Cowboys fan when they take a break from cheering on the Warriors) a backup QB should be able to play pitch and catch with Terrence Williams, Cole Beasley and Jason Witten...right?
But instead, the Cowboys were picking 4th in the draft. The Patriots lost Tom Brady in 2008, went 11-5. The Steelers lose Big Ben for extended periods of time, frequently make the playoffs. The Broncos lost their starting QB for several games, won the Superbowl. The reason? Depth, consistency and good management.
Looking forward to 2016, the Redskins are best positioned to win the NFC East because their management is head and shoulders above the competition.
The Eagles were decimated by Chip Kelly, then to compensate they traded a ton of draft picks for a QB with the 2nd pick. I've seen that story before.
The Giants GM, Jerry Reese, turned a terror of a pass rush into the 3rd worst defense in the history of the NFL. He then blew his load bringing in four high-priced free agents. Again, I've seen that story before.
The Cowboys hopes seem to rest solely on the clavicle of Tony Romo. They better hope that the greatest offensive line in the history of the universe (gave up 33 sacks last year) can keep him upright.
Meanwhile, the Redskins are loading up with depth. Last year's solid contributors like Mason Foster and Will Blackmon are back on cheap deals. The Redskins have Josh Doctson and Jamison Crowder behind Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson. If Jordan Reed has to miss time, Niles Paul is back and Vernon Davis was brought in for insurance. The offensive line is oozing with 3rd and 4th rounders developing. The linebacker depth has been added to with Su'a Cravens and Steven Daniels.
The NFL isn't so much about winning as it is surviving. And Scot McCloughan has given the Redskins the best survival plan they've had since the Reagan administration.