- Happy Labor Day everyone...belatedly of course. Most of you reading this know the “three-day holiday rule” of Sixpacks—hell, most of you are born with the natural instinct to maximize such stretches. If ever there was a time for an extra day to digest information ahead of a Sixpack, this is one of those times. I’ll lead off with the Su’a Cravens topic today because that is pretty much all everyone is talking about today.
- I don’t think we can be credibly shocked anymore when these athletes tap out at younger and younger ages. I am not going anywhere close to the speculation about what is driving Cravens’ decision-making. The guy looks to be hurting, and you can hear the worry in the voice of teammates when they are asked about him. That said, you can also make out the sense of frustration that is emanating from Redskins Park and Redskins Nation due to the incredibly late-breaking news of the impending absence of a guy we all thought was going to rock the safety position this season. Setting aside for a moment the manner in which the Cravens retirement decision landed like a thousand-pound turd in the punch bowl, I can’t help but find myself thinking we can’t miss what we never had. Cravens, while loaded with promise, was just that: promise and potential. We think he would have played safety at a higher level than we have been accustomed to seeing, but we don’t know that. It still remains a possibility that he could come back and suit up, but the path to that is just plain unlikely. Given his record of almost leaving football a time or two at USC (which I am not sure we all knew fully about), as well as his unexplained absence after an injury last season, Cravens has kind of established something that doesn’t play well in the locker room. I fully believe his teammates are concerned about his well-being, but if and when those worries are alleviated, my guess is that feelings will turn to at least a form of resentment. After all, the entire defense has been looking forward to having D.J. Swearinger and Su’a Cravens at safety this year. This move is going over like a failed version the ol’ “pull the tablecloth off the table without moving the centerpiece” trick.
- It is always nice to see our guys get picked up around the league, as it is an affirmation of sorts on the level of talent that remains on the roster. When I heard that Nate Sudfeld got picked up, I wasn’t surprised since he looked good enough to be given a shot by someone. When I heard it was the Eagles that picked him up, I shook my head. I hate that move so much, but I get it. I hope he doesn’t get chewed up and spit out by Philadelphia, our week one opponent. I am sure he will do a great job for them running the scout team offense that prepares their defense for Kirk Cousins. I am sure he will provide great tidbits to help defenders anticipate various moves Jay Gruden may try to make. Nothing Philly does makes me happy, and while this is a perfectly legit football move that teams (including ours) make all the time...it has my britches in a knot.
- The Matt Jones Era is officially closed out, and it gives me no pleasure to report it. He checked the size box that Scot “McLovin” McCloughan was always adamant about, and he came with a tantalizing amount of athleticism. Unfortunately, a case of fumblitis cost him his place in the pecking order and he never recovered. The Colts claimed him and we’ll see how that works out, but first...a quick Matt Jones reflection. Like so many other players that showed up in D.C. with the chance to steal our hearts, Matt Jones was deified thanks to his size and the McLovin stamp of approval. We sent Alfred Morris packing and shacked up with the new guy. We love us some running backs, and there was enough to get excited about in Matt Jones to set our imaginations on fire. As for the cut itself, I will say this: I thought Mack Brown wanted it WAY more. I don’t think this comes as a surprise to all of us who have seen Jones express unhappiness with his role and spot on the team this summer. Despite playing against a bunch of guys that were heading for the cutting room floor, Brown ran violently and deliberately. Against those same kinds of players in the preseason, I didn’t feel Matt ran as hard as Mack. I would be willing to guess other factors were involved (like Matt’s attitude towards being at the bottom of the depth chart), but at this point, I am kind of excited for that game where the Redskins have a lead and Mack Brown comes in for some mop-up runs.
- I am encountering a lot of Mclovin angst today. From Su’a Cravens to Matt Jones to Josh Doctson...people are seeing perhaps a little less shine on the draft classes brought in by our former personnel man. It is still too much for me, as I look at Brandon Scherff, Jamison Crowder, and even Preston Smith and Kendall Fuller as guys that I think will make fans forget about potential misses. More than anything, I implore folks to wait out Josh Doctson’s 2017 season. If Josh can play meaningfully for the Redskins this season, EVERYTHING changes inside this discussion. Depending on how faithful the Redskins were to Scot’s draft board this year (I am led to believe they were extremely faithful to it), I still think we will look at him as one of our better personnel guys. This roster is so much younger and so much more athletic and talented than it has been in years, frankly, and to lay the credit for that at anyone else’s feet besides Scot seems wrong.
- It’s week one people! WE MADE IT! (Finally, an appropriate use of the phrase.) Any traditions out there for the first week of the season? The tailgate is ready to go on Sunday, and The Audible is gearing up for a FedEx visit this season. We are looking forward to recording in the parking lot at some point—TBD. Despite Nate Sudfeld’s full download this week at Eagles practice, I feel good about the Redskins chances to get the 2017 season started with a win. No disrespect to the Iggles, but people have been predicting both them and us to finish last in the NFC East, so to suggest it will be a contest is not being a homer. The Redskins should feel confident about this matchup. Both teams are relying on fresh faces at wide receiver, and both squads are looking for the quarterback to make major leaps this year. It says here that in week one, Kirk Cousins proves that he is far and away a better signal-caller than Carson Wentz. This is the story we will be following all season, so get used to it! At $19 million, I was willing to defer the conversation, but at $24 million, I absolutely expect to see a franchise quarterback under center all year. The Redskins will go as far as Kirk Cousins can take them, and it says here that that destination is the postseason.
Fit was destined to hit the shan with the Redskins at some point this summer...time for some cleanup.