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Looks Like Someone Has a Sixpack of the Mondays

The NFL’s March Madness is settling down ahead of what promises to be a pretty spicy draft in late April.

NFL: 2015 NFL Draft Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports
  1. You have heard me—and many other people that are a million times smarter than me—talk about the “scheme-specific” era of the NFL draft. You can’t just line up the 32 best players and expect to know the first round of this thing anymore. Sure, there’s always been guys like Al Davis and Jerry Jones willing to make moves that cause people to wonder out loud if owners should be drug-tested. I suppose even Robert Kraft’s old-fashioned sensibilities could be called into question at times, but the guy’s been making money hand over fist in the postseason for years, so I see no need to tug on that thread (with Gronk retiring, Kraft will be back on the hunt for a tight end or someone else who could be handy in the passing game). As teams get more and more scheme-specific with their draft boards, the jockeying for position gets even more interesting. There are still “reaches,” and legit stars do “fall” to teams unexpectedly, but now we are seeing teams prioritize talent based on their individual scheme and take players according to that list. So the calculus becomes, “Who plays the same way we do and in what ways are we competing for the same players?” Instead of a game of chess being played between the bulk of the league, it has turned into many games of chess played by sets of teams. One of the cool results of this is when your team ends up being on the clock with one or two players you never thought would be there (Derwin James and Da’Ron Payne for example). This draft class doesn’t appear to boast “the best class of xxxxxx’s” in any position category relative to the kinds of groups we have seen in recent years so we can reasonably expect to see different sets of teams place wildly different board rankings on guys. It doesn’t change what the Redskins need in the draft, but it does impact who might be available and where in the draft those players might be available. I think it would be fair to suggest that the group of edge rushers that will be drafted in the first round are a special group, and I think it would also be fair to suggest that the Redskins see themselves in position to partake in that group.
  2. It seems that Colt McCoy had another surgery, but that this surgery is of the “cleanup” variety. I am not Mr. Insider, but I have gotten enough access to professional teams of all sports over the years to interpret that phrase correctly. It turns out WAY MORE professional athletes than you think or know have “cleanup” surgeries every single offseason. I was shocked when I first began to fully appreciate this phenomenon. Elbows, knees, shoulders, ankles...everything can be “cleaned up.” One reason why this is so shocking to me is that I KNOW how much professional athletes hate to get opened up in surgery. It is literally one of the last things they ever want to do, and not just because of the infections guys get like what happened to Alex Smith—though that is one of the fears. Any time you go under the knife, it is its own injury that has to heal, and the word surgery seems to decrease a player’s value in the minds of coaches and general managers as far as players think (not to mention doctors routinely “find” new problems during surgery, which is no bueno for players). Finally, getting back to Colt...he had surgery on the same leg he broke. That puts the “cleanup procedure” story immediately in doubt because...well, because he just freaking broke that leg. I am sure it is possible he could be fine by the start of the season because we live in a medical age of wonderment. I am also sure that it is possible the Redskins are full of crap, because we live in a sports era of teams being full of crap (when it comes to truthfully reporting on the health of players). If you’re out there keeping score, we have a one-legged quarterback that the Redskins still haven’t ruled out to play this season and a second quarterback who just had additional surgery on a leg HE RECENTLY BROKE that the Redskins would have you believe could start the season for us. Again, nobody is going to confuse me with Adam Schefter, but you don’t need a decoder ring to play the home version of this game. Find yourself a casino willing to give you an over/under on the amount of games Colt will play this season and bet the under. You’re welcome.
  3. The Redskins signed Ereck which I say, “Big Gulps, eh?? Welp, see ya later!!”
  4. How many of you are out there stressing out about your decision to renew those season tickets? I think the deadline is April 1st, and this is yet another season where I am seeing a ton of season ticket holders decide against stroking that check to Dan Snyder. Last year at this time I outlined the impending doom that was coming to FedEx as yet another large swath of season ticket holders chose not to renew their seats. I don’t see that trend reversing this season. I personally know of about 75-100 seats not being renewed this year and parts of this group once again hit very close to home for me. (I gave up my season tickets back in 2009.) There will be plenty of #NeverSnyder people who say we all need to stop paying the team any money at all, and I get that argument, but for those of you holding out hope that this team is as young and talented as it has ever been over the last 20 years, I am more than willing to have that conversation. Aside from the fact that we have two healthy legs instead of four between two quarterbacks and a guy calling shots (Bruce Allen) that is destined to be the basis of a Jordan Peele horror movie, things aren’t looking that nightmarish...
  5. Time to get positive and talk about a player that could be crazy valuable for the Redskins this season. Shocker, Brandon Scherff could be valuable. I know people have been holding their breath to see if and when the Skins will extend the former first round pick to create some space, but to me the biggest deal is just that we extend him at some point. Scherff has been worth every penny we have paid, and it would be fair to suggest that we can’t be great without him playing on the line. I do think the Redskins still have some work to do in terms of free agency, so his contract extension could directly lead to the addition of a player that could come in and contribute on day one. Otherwise, Scherff is still playing on a deal that creates value for the team. Zack Martin’s new deal has his annual cap hit in the $14 million/$15 million range, putting Scherff at a discount playing for $12 million. Knowing that the first year of that new deal will have a low number attached to it, maybe it works out better for the Redskins if they can enjoy that low-cap year in 2020. I’ll dip back into the small-dollar contracts next week.
  6. In case you missed it, and because it is March Madness, I thought this would be a good place to put our show from last week, when we did a 64-team, Redskins-themed tournament. We had four regions. One region was all-time great Redskins coordinators; one region was all-time great free agent signings; one region was all-time great stat lines (for example Art Monk’s career reception stat, or the game where Sammy Baugh threw four touchdowns on offense and got four interceptions on defense). The fourth region...well, you’ll just have to watch to see that! Join us every Tuesday night, live in the basement for the Official Redskins podcast of Hogs Haven: The Audible! Do us a huge favor and subscribe to our channel so you can join in the fun. (I really try to make that particular show an extension of this Sixpack.)