We finally convinced ex-Official Blogger of the Washington Redskins Matt Terl to make another guest post. Enjoy.
When the Brothers Mottram headed into their secret sweatshops to press Offseason Champs shirts, it wasn’t exactly meant as a compliment to the way the Redskins do business. So a big offseason move — for example, trading away three first-round picks and a second to move up four spots in the draft –- is going to raise some questions in the mind of any right-thinking Redskins fan. Well, the Internet is here to answer questions JUST LIKE those, and in this case the Internet is me. Let’s go!
Do you like the deal?
Yes, but you’re a paid shill.
That is one accusation that you can no longer level. And it’s not a question.
Also not a question. But, no, really: even after everything that’s happened since the deal went down –- the cap penalties and Mike Holmgren’s criticism and Matt Flynn’s bargain price -– I still really, really love the deal.
You can’t really believe that it’s worth giving up THREE first-round picks AND a second-rounder for one guy, though.
These are all leading statements, not questions. But … well, yes, I can.
Really? You would really trade Brian Orakpo, Trent Williams, Ryan Kerrigan and Jarvis Jenkins for ONE DUDE?
This one gets a three-part answer:
1) Yes, I would, if the “one dude” was the full career of a Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, etc. I am not a talent evaluator and have no idea if RG3 can achieve those heights, but you make this trade because you believe it’s possible.
2) Also, highlighting those four players ignores the more complicated question of just how good they actually are. Orakpo is a hell of a player, great locker room guy, already been to multiple Pro Bowls. But it hasn’t resulted in a ton of wins, and the only talk about him this year were the questions of why he had fallen off and if he could get another move or two in his arsenal. Trent Williams has ranged from solid to very good, but hasn’t been great by any stretch and is now coming off a catastrophically stupid drug suspension. Kerrigan was terrific in his rookie year. Totally exceeded expectations in every way … and all it did was help the team to a five-win season. And Jarvis Jenkins impressed IN PRESEASON. Plenty of smart people believe he will be great someday, but for now he is the Colt Brennan of the defensive line — AND he’s coming off a severe knee injury. A quarterback –- a true, consistent superstar quarterback, which the Redskins haven’t had since Sonny Jurgensen –- has a far greater impact.
3) And those are the GOOD picks. I’ll tell you this for sure: right now, I would retroactively trade Carlos Rogers, Jason Campbell, Rocky McIntosh and LaRon Landry for Aaron Rodgers in a HEARTBEAT. Possibly less. That’s a deal that’s roughly analogous in both value (three 1s and a 2 to move up virtually no spots) and timing (covers three drafts). And yet the Redskins are about to have none of those draft picks in town FOR NOTHING. Keep in mind, those four guys aren’t even huge busts … they’re just solid football players who didn’t work out in the city where they were drafted. You could list much, much worse as first- and second-round Redskins picks.
Having draft picks is great, but if you don’t use them effectively they’re basically worthless. Look at the Patriots. They’ve been stockpiling picks for a decade, which we’re all jealous of. But they’ve used that stockpile remarkably inefficiently — some random dude on a Patriots message board calculates that New England is getting production from just four of 28 defensive players drafted in the last five years, and I always trust random message board dudes. But the Patriots have had stability at head coach and quarterback for years — a world-class quarterback, no less — so maybe the lesson to take away from their continued on-field excellence is that those two things can overcome the loss (or misuse) of draft picks. Which, in its own way, further validates the Redskins’ trade.
If successful, this move stabilizes the most important position on the team for a decade, with a charismatic, dynamic, modern player. And if it fails, we’ll look around in five or six years and realize that we’ve just watched a string of mediocre-to-bad seasons and that we missed out on four high draft picks. Which is exactly where we are right now relative to Aaron Rodgers and the 2005 draft.
Is this move just going to provide a new and more interesting way for the Redskins to lose? I just can’t imagine the team carving out a path to sustained long-term success.
For a long time, I think you could’ve said the same about the Saints and Patriots (and Rams and Lions and, hell, the pre-1998 Colts) among plenty of other teams — I think a sustained run of excellence always seems to be a long way off, right until a franchise quarterback falls into place. It’s only after the QB shows up that consistent success starts to seem like a possibility. (The Favre-era Packers would be another example of this — no matter what they did or didn’t do in the offseason, they seemed like a contender as long as they had Favre — an impression that persisted long after it was actually true.)
Check this out: if Griffin is what we hope he is, I think you have to consider the very realistic possibility that Mike Shanahan steps down in two years and Kyle Shanahan becomes head coach, setting the Skins up with a young head coach and a young QB who will have grown up together. You could promote Kyle-bros to fill out the staff as well. Make new DB coach Raheem Morris the defensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Matt LaFleur or tight ends coach Sean McVay the OC and suddenly you’ve got the nucleus of a team (and coaching staff) that simultaneously has youth AND experience all over the place.
Holy crap, that’s terrible! Chad Dukes keeps telling me that Kyle Shanahan just uses an Xbox controller on his quarterbacks! Why would I want him as head coach?!?!? WE’RE DOOMED!
Oh, for heaven’s sake. In my interactions with Kyle Shanahan, he struck me as both a good guy AND a very smart dude. His ability to get his receivers open is beyond reproach, and the 2010 and 2011 Redskins put up the second- (5,722) and third- (5,672) most yards from scrimmage the franchise has seen since the last Super Bowl win. (Only the 1999 squad has more, with 6,151.) And that’s despite the lack of superstars at almost every offensive skill position. Let’s see how he does with a quarterback who’s actually NFL-starter caliber.
And the other guys are more than just Kyle’s pals. I’ve had multiple NFL types tell me that McVay is the kind of guy who will definitely wind up as a head coach in the league sooner than later. Morris was impressive enough that he earned an NFL head coaching gig at the age of 32, and LaFleur is a sharp, incisive guy.
So in my mind, the Shanahan dynasty is a best-case scenario, and probably a pipe dream. But the point remains: the team is finally upgrading the QB. There is a plausible line of succession in the coaching staff. They’ve even upgraded the facility. For the first time in at least a decade, it seems like a sustained run actually MIGHT be possible.
You are insane.
Maybe so. But what I really am is bored. I am tired of safe options at quarterback, and even more than that I’m tired of other teams’ castoffs. Bruce Allen’s quote about looking for players who are “born in the burgundy and gold” is trite and cheesy, sure. It’s about one level of meaninglessness away from “clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose.” But it’s also true. Give me a guy to root for –- a face of the franchise whom actual, honest-to-god experts believe could be a superstar –- and let’s just see what happens.
Or, you know, we could’ve tried to sign Matt Flynn for a reasonable price and hoped to upgrade the line with the sixth pick and oh hey 2008 when did you come around again, good to see you and ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ.
God, you really are an unbelievable shill. Are you going to try to convince me to use CroppMetcalfe next?
(Image taken with love from our friends at Burgundy Blog.)