Basically, the premise of this post will be to answer the question — is it reasonable to consider a partial rebuild, or will the foundation need to be recast in order to field a Super Bowl contender?
1) Talent accumulation is paramount, coaching is of secondary importance. The point being that players win games, coaches can determine success or failure, but if the players are not of sufficient caliber, then no amount of scheming and game planning can make up the deficit. Talent accumulation is absolutely essential. In fact, when I look at the Rivera Era and the number of players signed & drafted vs. lost and retired, it is really no surprise that the team is struggling. Rivera has really struggled with the draft, free agency, and player retention - all coming to a head this year.
2) Drafting at a high level is essential, no amount of FA acquisitions can make up for it. From 2020 to 2022 the draft yielded at most 5 to 6-ish plus-level performers (Curl, Robinson, Forrest, Dotson, Howell Cosmi? Davis?) whereas the Eagles have hit on ~9.
It is exceedingly difficult to win with a measurable consistent talent deficit.
3) Teams are better off paying for known quantities, rather than guessing in the draft, or finding a scheme-matched plus-performer in FA. This is my opinion, but the Commanders would be better suited going after scheme-matched NFL performers, rather than picking from draft prospects that have a significantly high fail rate (~50%)
So, where are we at?
Can we do a partial rebuild?
Do we have enough talent?
Answer: Likely not. We do not have enough talent. In fact, we may not even have enough talent accumulated by the end of Sam Howell’s rookie contract, drafting at the current rate of 1.5 plus-players per year and losing 1.0 plus players per year to free agency.
If we retain Curl as S1, Fuller as CB2, and Gibson as RB2. Then we will only have to fill: LT1, LG1, RT1, DE1, LB1, CB1, which is shows the incredible need on the OL, and at every single level of the defense.
Will these spots be filled by rookies? Will we find scheme-matched options in free agency?
I say we go out and get what we need. Design the ideal offense around Howell. Strong pass blocking OL. Design the defense around defending / pressuring the pass. Blitz from all levels. Hell, copy the Ravens blueprint.
Take chances on guys that could be great. Because if doesn’t make a d*mn bit of difference — if you just go for the guy that fills a hole then what do you gain. Go balls to the wall. Because the contenders are already ahead, and the next-level teams are champing at the bit.
Go BIG or go HOME. There is no middle ground Washington. Embrace the suck. Build or Die. Josh has a limited amount of time to capitalize on the $6BN investment. He had better signal the path to greater levels of success or we will see witness the death of the fanbase.
I know that went a little dark. But F*CK. If your fanbase only knows losing — you become the frickin’ Cleveland Browns.