- I can think of few ways to ruin wild card weekend better than having to watch division rivals like the Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles win in dramatic fashion. Just when Redskins Nation has morphed into a rather negative place, the sights and sounds of fans from Dallas and Philly have infiltrated through the thick walls of our panic rooms. As the resident homer/insufferable optimist, I am finding my job to be increasingly difficult these days, but I am going to rededicate myself to the effort...as best I can.
- Each year around this time, there is an unmistakable excitement deep inside the Redskins fan within me. I have had more than a couple weeks to get cozy with the fact my team is not in the playoffs this winter, so the disappointment that is married to that fact has had a chance to at least fade a little bit (a very little bit). The excitement has to do with that unbridled optimism that a fan of any downtrodden team has to be able to tap into if there is any hope of remaining a passionate fan: I speak of the potential that comes in the offseason. From free agency to the draft to the front office changes that may or may not take place, there is hope that some form of change between now and next September will result in the kind of improvement that will change both the on-field fortunes of my team as well as the manner in which my team is viewed. It’s possible, and because that is absolutely true, I can absolutely envision that improvement without needing to be fitted for a straitjacket. Kevin Ewoldt and I used to argue incessantly about just how true this could be, but past performance can not be used to predict future results in terms of what is and what is not “possible.” Though the Redskins have stumbled repeatedly in the months between January and August, improvement has occurred from time to time. It is fair to argue what you think might happen—even if you want to take the fast train to Negativetown—but it is unfair to argue that something positive happening is “impossible.” Hey—we have to find the best set of handles to grasp, and this is where I start.
- People view the #FireBruceAllen movement as an overly negative one—especially people named Dan Snyder and Bruce Allen. I don’t. Regardless of who started it (irregardless, even), it is a sentiment that is widely shared and felt in the Redskins fanbase. The beauty of it lies in our ability to speak in one voice on one very clean, singular issue. In short, once again Dan Snyder has gotten what he is going to get out of another team president. Allen’s opportunity to turn this organization into a champion has been squandered. He failed, with more than enough room given to him by Snyder the Steward to have gotten the job done. Just like Vinny Cerrato before him, Bruce Allen should now be replaced. We can all wring our hands and complain that Snyder will just bring in the next person to fail. That is everyone’s right, but all that matters in the moment is that we get to the next person. Should Dan Snyder succeed in hearing the mind of his team’s fanbase and actually make a move, it should be the cause of celebration and happiness. We have to be able to find the positive in that and that alone. We know what our team looks like with Bruce Allen at the helm. We know what agents, players and other team execs think about Bruce Allen. I believe Sally Jenkins’ reporting (and John Keim’s and Adam Schefter’s). I believe the vote that resulted in Bruce being named the “least trustworthy team exec in the league.” We believe it is simply time to move on, and here is what “moving on” looks like for the Washington Redskins: #FireBruceAllen. It’s pretty obvious, actually. This hashtag/movement is not about Redskins fans checking out...it kills me when people accuse me of such things. This is as actively engaged as we have all been together on one thing since...hell, since we all wanted Vinny Cerrato fired!!! I am very much enthused by our energy on this, and I find great warmth and solidarity on this campaign of ours. Like I said...it’s not a bad thing at all!
- Someone will be making some pretty cool decisions about this team’s future in the coming weeks and months ahead. Free agency comes first, but let’s talk draft ahead of that. Once again, the Redskins will be picking in the middle of the first round. So many out there get hung up on which prospects we are missing out on by winning one or two extra games. I hate this way of thinking. First of all, there are ALWAYS good players available in the first round of the NFL Draft. ALWAYS. I mean, sure, you have to pick the right guys—but that is part of our other problem (our Bruce problem). The Redskins are slated to make their pick at #15 in this year’s first round. You know who will be available there? Guys who can start for the Washington Redskins. MULTIPLE guys. I have no doubt there will be an offensive lineman, a defensive back, a wide receiver, a tight end and maybe even a quarterback to choose from when the Redskins are on the clock. The hidden beauty of drafting in the middle of the first round is the value. Gone are the days when the top picks did little more than hamstring a team for years because of the money required to sign them, but it is also still true that the contracts extended to middle-first round players are more valuable than the ones going to the top of the first round. It is the reason why Josh Doctson is less of a bust than he otherwise would be had he been drafted 10 picks earlier. You can say I’m splitting hairs, but that is what the salary cap space game is all about—splitting hairs. The better argument to make about Josh Doctson—or first round players in general—is that when you get them wrong, it still hurts a lot. You need better production out of the first round than Doctson, but the Redskins have gotten better production than what Doctson has given them. Brandon Scherff, Jonathan Allen and Da’Ron Payne have returned every bit of value and then some from their first round homes. (I have to be careful here, as this comes dangerously close to praising the man I want fired. Hahaha...seriously though, #FireBruceAllen.)
- The Redskins are going to get a few players in the draft that are almost certainly going to be good enough to replace or bolster positions on this roster. As is true for so many teams, it will come down to the key free agents the Redskins are able to haul in that could turn the tide in 2019, and THAT is where we need a stronger team president (you know, one that agents and player and other teams trust). Because of the money wrapped up in players like, ummmmmm....oh yeah, Alex Smith, the Redskins will be forced to get pretty creative to fill gaps. The team will need to do very well with mid-tier guys who can come in, play hard and actually contribute meaningfully right away and all season long. I would love to get a robust comments section below focusing on the targets you guys think fits this bill. We will pull them out and review them on our show tomorrow night. I don’t want to get into the free agent crushes too quickly, but a name that I will get things started with is Matt Paradis, the center in Denver. He is no spring chicken (he’ll be 30), but that could help keep him from breaking the bank. It could allow us to move Chase Roullier over to guard, which would help us save a few bucks since he is still on his rookie deal (and will be through 2020). The long and short of free agency at this point for the Redskins is that a lack of superfunds should not restrict the organization from being able to make moves. Again, this is a rather positive truth. Execution will be key, but from the vantage point of today, good things are possible.
- As we do every time of year, we will transition to our critically acclaimed offseason programming, “Offseason On the Brink.” (Critics have acclaimed...many things about this show.) This will be our third season of the show, and I like to think we have gotten it down to a science. That said, I was always pretty bad at science, so be forewarned. I welcome all of you back to the sunny side of the street this week, which is the best side of the street to walk down, and one I try my hardest to find. Sure, it gets a bit dreary in Redskins Nation from time to time, but it’s football!!! Let’s have some fun. (P.S. I reserve the right to go rogue from time to time if the cloud gets a little too full of rain/tears.)
There’s no worse way for Redskins fans to kick off an offseason than having to watch the Cowboys AND Eagles win in the playoffs.