- I sure hope every father out there reading this today had a great Father’s Day yesterday. Being a poppa to my kids is the thrill of a lifetime (they call me “Pop”, and I believe Chris Wallace provided us the proper spelling of p-o-p-p-a). I would venture to say most of us are on this site today because we watched games with our dads growing up. I was instructed on how to be a D.C. sports fan by both my father and grandfather, and I got to share the day with both of them yesterday. I owe them both far more than just my fandom, and I am always appreciative for days like yesterday that focus solely on those guys. On behalf of my family, I want to say thank you to all the fathers out there that do the best job they can being a role model and presence in their kids’ lives. We also won’t miss an opportunity to thank the mothers out there—I know I would be in pretty terrible shape if it weren’t for St. Megan! (This is not to state I am in any way in good shape or not a disaster...just that St. Megan is responsible for anything good about me at all.)
- I thought I would tug on a few threads that have been dangling around the last few months or so since there is very little breaking news these days. I wouldn’t necessarily call it mop-up duty because these debates will not be resolved anytime soon, but we are seeing a movement to resolution—or at least consensus—on some of these matters. Of course, only on Sundays this fall will most of this truly be settled, but that rarely stops us from beating ourselves up in the meantime. Before we get to wide receiver and cornerback talk, I know you all have the law on your minds.
- As much as I love to wade into the Redskins name debate/court case (wait...I don’t love that at all), there is some news today. The Supreme Court has—and I’ll likely oversimplify—essentially ruled that the law that bars using alleged disparaging terms goes against free speech liberties. This is largely expected to benefit the Redskins legal fight over the name of the team. There you go...just the facts. I am sure nobody will have any comment whatsoever on this matter...either today or in the future. (Quick question: IRREGARDLESS of where you stand on the issue, isn’t it at least noteworthy that the defense of a name argued to be honorable and respectful hinges on the legal treatment of alleged disparaging terms? That said, I do understand the legal path here and I look forward—as do we all—to years and years and years of legal wrangling.)
- Now let’s move on to a slightly more fun conversation: the shape of our wide receiving corps. Last winter, our conversation here centered around what the Redskins were going to do about Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson. We raged over the true value of DJax, but generally all agreed on the value Garcon provided the Washington offense. It was always going to come down to the money Garcon was going to be able to get from other teams, and as it turned out, it was a lot (at least in the first year). Because the Redskins had such a disparity in terms of offensive versus defensive spending, most of us knew that these two players would not be coming back. The two players replacing Garcon and Jackson—Terrelle Pryor and Josh Doctson—will cost Washington less than what Garcon could earn this season (approximately $16 million). It remains to be seen what a season from Doctson (aka John Snow) looks like, and Pryor also comes with questions, but the core of the conversation is are we better off or not? In June, I am arguing we are “just fine” (sorry to be so technical). I was and am a huge Garcon guy. He is a pro’s pro and his collaboration with Kirk Cousins last season was central to our success (between the 20’s, that is). Nobody is dismissing what DeSean brings to an offense, but to suggest we can’t still challenge defenses over the top is unfair. I guess my argument is based primarily on the fact that our offense is based on Kirk Cousins, and not necessarily on the strength of any individual receivers. This is the case on most good-to-great offenses. Assuming we have guys who are going to run their routes properly and can haul in the vast majority of their targets, Kirk should be able to produce the same kinds of results we saw last year. I think we have those guys. Finally, I don’t see this as a “failure” to retain key free agents. I see it as a pretty legitimate resolution to a salary cap disparity we had, and I believe our offense continues to be dependent on the man under center.
- How about the opposite side of the ball at cornerback? Kevin has been leading the Kendall Fuller charge on The Audible, followed closely by Tim and I. Until someone actually puts together a full season in the league, it’s all speculative, but I think SkinsNJ’s Fuller-bashing makes no sense. By most medical accounts, last season was just a year of “working it out,” coming back from microfracture surgery. The guy is in the middle of his first real, full, active NFL offseason. We might be biased because of his WCAC affiliation, but Fuller is a player, and I very much expect him to contribute extremely positively to the upcoming season. His ability to perform at a high level will not only impact our immediate chances of winning, but will also impact our salary cap decisions over the next few seasons. It says here that the team VERY MUCH envisions a Fuller/Moreau combo in the not-too-distant future, and that should work out pretty dang well for us. Both players came into the league with injuries, but both are expected to recover fully, and both were considered top-end corner prospects when healthy. I get that things have to go our way for that all to work out perfectly, but it seems that they are already starting to go our way.
- Let’s go out on one other area that has been a steady source of debate since the season ended: running back. Rob Kelley’s 700 rushing yards last season excited us all just enough to see us entertain the idea of the team drafting Christian McCaffery or Dalvin Cook in the first round. Both of those players would have been penciled in as the starter ahead of Rob Kelley. The selection of Samaje Perine doesn’t seem to offer the same kind of cut-and-dry depth chart discussion. I know it is a popular thing around here to suggest that Perine will be starting for us in September, but I am just not so sure. As you heard Kevin say last week, Kelley has come back stronger in his sophomore season. It says here that he is going to make it extremely hard for Jay Gruden to move him out of the starting lineup. I think we should all be excited about this because I don’t think it matters. Between Kelley, Perine and Chris Thompson, the Redskins should be able to both find success in the ground game and sustain any injury bugs that tend to impact every team in the league. If you’re handicapping it today, I think you have to bet on Kelley being in the backfield on the first offensive down from scrimmage. I have wagered that Thompson will lead the team in yards from scrimmage (among the running backs), and that in itself has caused a few heated conversations. What say you?
Offseason topics that have led to lingering debates are the perfect source material for this week’s Sixpack.