- Most of us are about a month in to our stay-at-home programs, and it occurred to me that despite this weird episode in our lives, the weekly Sixpack kind of continues to hit folks pretty much the same way as it always does...which is to say on the same laptops, iPads, and smartphones. But the mental place from where you are reading it and the mental place from where I am writing it has changed considerably. I hope everyone out there is hanging in there mentally, and I hope folks see every day that they and their families stay healthy as a real gift. I was going to try and muster a “We’ll get through this” with a side of “We’re all in this together,” but at this point we know these things kind of implicitly. The first part we all know is true, and like a swimmer who only comes up for a breath every three or four strokes, we have our heads down as we plow through this ordeal the best we can. These are important messages, but most important to us at this point is the job at hand. We know what we are doing is work, because it is hard. It requires discipline and it asks us to act in a way that is unnatural to most of us. The exercise is harder for some than others, so we should always be on the lookout for ways to help those among us who are struggling. I know in my circle of friends, I am starting to see some separation between how people are coping. So instead of repeating things we know are both heartfelt and true (we are in this together and we will get through this), let me say this: if you are having a difficult time, ask for help. My belief is that this is where our efforts will need to turn to in the coming month or months. Stay together!
- Thankfully, the NFL is giving us plenty of activity, as its offseason calendar is in full swing. We are a week out from the draft and there are two huge topics for Redskins fans to beat up. I have transitioned my draft coverage (my personal, basement draft coverage) to be positioned from the standpoint that the Redskins are drafting Chase Young. From the perch of “months away from the draft,” I was happy to express my thoughts regarding what the Redskins could gain by trading down. Never in that analysis did I ever gloss over what we would be losing. Now, as the probability increases that the Redskins make a potentially generational pass rusher their pick at second overall, I am excited to embrace this is our reality. It’s pretty easy to do. As you hear us talk about on our Tuesday night shows, we know who Chase is. He played high school ball in the WCAC (the greatest high school sports conference in the country), which my company broadcasts and covers. I stood on the sidelines and watched him evolve. We had the chance to talk to his coaches and the coaches from the other schools—in real-time—about his presence and ability. We know who he has surrounded himself with and we know what people say about him when there are no microphones and cameras. I couldn’t be happier to report to this Redskins fanbase that Chase Young is exactly the kind of player any fan would ever want to join their team. He works hard, is dedicated to his craft, is grounded in things that extend beyond the football field...let’s put it this way: if you’re serious about changing the culture of a professional football organization, Chase Young is the kind of young man you bring in and put at the center of that evolution. I don’t deny that I would have gladly traded down to gather multiple first-round choices, but that was always more about the Redskins and less about Chase. Pairing Ron Rivera and Chase Young is potentially what we will all point to as the moment upon which the Redskins turnaround hinged. (Someone still might make an incredibly stupid offer that we will consider.)
- As we begin our race to the podium for Chase Young, the lack of a second round pick becomes more and more glaring. In Young, the Redskins get a day one difference-maker, but don’t fill any additional buckets that could have been filled by trading down. The ability to add draft assets will have to come via a trade of Trent Williams. It was all fun and games when Trent and his agent were helping to get Bruce Allen fired, but now they are messing with the future of the Bruceless Redskins. At this point, Trent and his agent are saying, “Coach Rivera, not only do you have to say goodbye to a franchise cornerstone left tackle, you also have to do it on the cheap, because we are going to make the team that takes us reset the market.” I personally find their demand to be unreasonable at this point, but what do I know? Trent will get a huge contract from whomever trades for him. The Redskins should not have to doubly pay for Trent’s desire to be traded. If he wants so badly to play somewhere else, he should agree on terms that are less than the “resetting-the-market” level so that the Redskins can get more than “bottom-dollar” in a trade.
- In the comments section, please put down what you think is going to be the end result of the Trent Williams fiasco. Use this format in the title line (and then expand in the body): “Trade; third round pick” or “Trent plays for the Redskins next season” or “Trent sits out again.”
- One of our topics tonight will be the time off the sports world has been given (or forced to accept). My question to our group will be about which DC sports team has benefited the most from the layoff (and in what way have they benefited?)—of course, from a sports perspective, since nobody benefits from a global pandemic. For example, the Washington Capitals had been one of the best teams in the NHL. They were cruising to the playoffs and boasted a veteran roster that was one year removed from winning the Stanley Cup. This layoff costs the Caps dearly, as they were a legit contender to win it all, and now there may be no Stanley Cup playoffs. The Nationals continue to be the defending champs in the MLB, and fans have not had to meaningfully deal with the loss of Anthony Rendon yet. The offseason is always shortest for the champions, so added rest has to be helpful. The Wizards...well, perhaps the layoff is helpful for them as well, as they weren’t contending for much of anything and folks were openly opining if Bradley Beal needed to accumulate so much mileage on such a terrible team.
- But what about the Redskins? The NFL calendar is pretty flexible this time of year, making it possible to still conduct business despite the distancing. For a franchise like the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the addition of Tom Brady has yet to be fully celebrated with no real events marking what is kind of a humongous deal. The Bengals organization lose out on leading the party in the heart of Las Vegas. The freaking Raiders are a Vegas team now!! Some organizations have had monstrous offseason with huge moves that would otherwise lead to major events covered by the national audience. In our own way, the Redskins have had a ridiculous offseason, albeit not one that would be compared to adding a player with the gravitas of a Tom Brady. Firing Bruce Allen and hiring Ron Rivera is as big a move as any of us would have asked for had we have the choice a year ago. My question to you, should the Redskins organization be at all thankful for this downtime? Is it your belief that this has in any way given Rivera a little more room and time to operate in the background? Do you think it’s possible that the quiet around Redskins Park in March and April—for the first time ever under Snyder—could end up being a monumentally wonderful gift? Hey, I’m just trying to find the bright side!
Stay safe and stay healthy!