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The 5 O’Clock Club: Which Redskin is the "face of the franchise"?

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It’s 5 o’clock somewhere…

The 5 o’clock club aims to provide a forum for reader-driven discussion at a time of day when there isn’t much NFL news being published. Feel free to introduce topics that interest you in the comments below.

Green Bay - Aaron Rodgers

New Orleans - Drew Brees

New England - Tom Brady

Think of a team, think of a player... usually the quarterback. That’s the “face of the franchise”.

It’s not always crystal clear

It’s not always clear all the time who the ‘face of the franchise’ is.

Take Dallas, for example. Is it Dak? Zeke? Jason Garrett? or maybe Jerry Jones?

What about Tampa Bay? Jameis Winston may have taken his last snap for the team. Fitzmagic has been just a “filler-inner” for a bunch of teams over the past several years. In fact, most of the veterans on the team seem to have just recently arrived from somewhere else: Jason Pierre-Paul, Vinny Curry, Brent Grimes, Desean Jackson... for the most part, these players are associated with other teams (largely the NFC East).

Can we say that Josh Allen is the face of the franchise in Buffalo? Maybe it’s Nathan Peterman. To be honest, I still think of Tyrod Taylor when I think of the Bills, but maybe I’m just slow to adapt.

You can make the argument for players other than quarterbacks as well.

When people think of the Los Angeles Rams, do they immediately think of Jared Goff? Perhaps Todd Gurley or Aaron Donald are better bets for the role.

Da Bears, with Khalil Mack, may have a defensive player who just arrived that is more strongly associated with the image of the team than its quarterback, Mitch Trubisky.

One might have made similar arguments in the past for players like JJ Watt in Houston or Vonn Miller in Denver. Even now, I’m not so sure that those two players don’t outshine their respective quarterbacks when it comes to the guy that is most associated with the franchise.

Redskins

But we are Washington Redskins fans, and it occurs to me that the team is in a bit of an identity crisis.

I wonder if we agree on which player is the “face of the franchise”?

Let me run through a few candidates, and then we’ll see what you think.

Alex Smith

As the team’s starting quarterback, Alex is the most natural first choice for FotF, but I get the sense that not many people see him that way. For one thing, he just got here; furthermore, he hasn’t played very inspiring football. In press conferences he’s kind of bland, and he doesn’t say a lot of inspiring stuff that flashes across the Twittersphere. Furthermore, Alex is on his 3rd team, so he already has strong connections to the team that drafted him (the Niners) and the team where he had the most success (the Chiefs).

Adrian Peterson

He’s been the only consistent producer on offense, but there are lots of arguments against AD as the face of the franchise, not the least of which is that, when you think of Peterson, you think #28, purple. He is probably still the single active player most associated with the Vikings.

Trent Williams

He’s one of our own; he’s been here since 2010; he’s arguably the best player on the team, and Washington has a tradition of loving linemen. Still, the FotF is a guy that other NFL fans think of when they think of your team. I’m not sure how many Patriots or Browns fans would think of Silverback if they were asked to name one Redskins player.

Derrius Guice

Sort of the corollary to Trent Williams is Derrius Guice. He just arrived, he’s a high profile skill player, and people all across the NFL fan base know his name. In the two or three months following the draft, Guice made himself a DC celebrity through his infectious personality and incessant use of Twitter and Instagram. I’m happy to make the argument that if he hadn’t torn up his knee, he would already be the undisputed face of the Redskins across the NFL. As it stands right now, most people have forgotten he’s even on the team.

Jonathan Allen

He’s a defensive lineman, but he was a 1st round selection, he got tons of pre-draft hype last year, he’s a BCS National Champion from Alabama, and he plays really good football. He’s been credited by a number of people who follow the team closely with being a leader on the team and one of the guys that has helped set a new tone for the locker room.

Daron Payne

Almost everything you can say about Jon Allen can be said about Daron Payne, except that he’s a rookie and perhaps hasn’t established his reputation as a locker room leader as clearly as Allen has, but he’s got a habit of providing really quotable material to beat reporters.

D.J. Swearinger

The safety is on the field for just about 100% of all the defensive snaps. He’s widely credited by teammates, coaches, journalists and fans with being a vocal leader, a locker room presence, and a talented leader on the field. Swearinger still benefits from a lot of pre-draft hype, despite the fact that he’s in his 6th year in the league. D.J. is extremely active on Twitter and Instagram — he reminds me a lot of Tyrann Mathieu in that respect. D.J. has had several stops with several teams already, but I don’t think he’s associated with any team more strongly than the Redskins.

Ryan Kerrigan

We picked him in the 1st round of the 2011 draft, one year after Trent Williams. He’s a cornerstone of the franchise. Jay Gruden will tell you that no one works harder; no one is a better teammate or role model. Ryan Kerrigan is the clean-cut boy-next-door that you hope your daughter will bring home. Redskins fans love him, but, around the league he doesn’t have the kind of profile that one usually associates with a guy who produces the way Kerrigan does.

Josh Norman

JoNo may have the highest profile among non-Redskins fans of any player on the roster outside of Adrian Peterson. He’s on Dancing with the Stars, he gets interviewed by the national network shows, he’s had high-profile battles with OBJ and Dez Bryant that have given him the notoriety to do high-profile mobile phone TV ads. Josh Norman certainly has his face out in front of the camera, and he’s always good for a quote (though personally, I find it really hard to understand what the hell he’s talking about most of the time. As an English teacher, I’m offended by the gibberish he spews in reply to questions from journalists). Beyond my personal dislike of his rambling incoherence, one big problem with Norman as FotF is that he is still probably at least as much associated with the Panthers as with the Redskins.

Trey Quinn

Trey Quinn can kill two stones with one bird, and in high school, he is reputed to have counted to infinity... twice. It’s well-documented that when a zombie apocalypse starts, Trey Quinn doesn’t try to survive. The zombies do. His college coach once reported that Trey Quinn can hear sign language, and that he know’s Victoria’s Secret. Of course, everyone knows that the reason the Holy Grail has never been recovered is because nobody is brave enough to ask Quinn to give up his favourite coffee mug. Whenever the receiver enters a room, he doesn’t turn the lights on, he turns the dark off.

Jay Gruden

It’s just possible that the face of the Redskins is not a player, but the head coach, Jay Gruden.

Poll

Right now, at this very minute, who is the face of the Redskins franchise?

This poll is closed

  • 5%
    Alex Smith
    (16 votes)
  • 4%
    Adrian Peterson
    (13 votes)
  • 15%
    Trent Williams
    (44 votes)
  • 2%
    Derrius Guice
    (6 votes)
  • 2%
    Jonathan Allen
    (7 votes)
  • 0%
    Daron Payne
    (2 votes)
  • 25%
    D.J. Swearinger
    (73 votes)
  • 23%
    Ryan Kerrigan
    (68 votes)
  • 4%
    Josh Norman
    (14 votes)
  • 5%
    Trey Quinn
    (17 votes)
  • 9%
    Jay Gruden
    (28 votes)
288 votes total Vote Now

Poll

Thinking ahead, who will be the face of the franchise a season or two into the future?

This poll is closed

  • 4%
    Alex Smith
    (10 votes)
  • 0%
    Adrian Peterson
    (2 votes)
  • 1%
    Trent Williams
    (3 votes)
  • 54%
    Derrius Guice
    (131 votes)
  • 15%
    Jonathan Allen
    (37 votes)
  • 2%
    Daron Payne
    (5 votes)
  • 4%
    D.J. Swearinger
    (11 votes)
  • 2%
    Ryan Kerrigan
    (6 votes)
  • 0%
    Josh Norman
    (0 votes)
  • 2%
    Trey Quinn
    (7 votes)
  • 0%
    Jay Gruden
    (2 votes)
  • 11%
    Someone else entirely
    (28 votes)
242 votes total Vote Now