Here we go with another edition of “How to Spend Dan Snyder’s Money!” Also affectionately referred to as “Who Wants to be a Gazillionare!”
Fans are understandably nervous about the possibility of a lockout in 2011, but in the mean-time, it’s looking like 2010 will go uncapped. The rumors of what the Redskins would do in an uncapped year began the moment someone realized this was an actual possibility.
“Look out for Dan Snyder,” they laughed, “an uncapped year and an owner that sees money as no object? It’ll be like Y2K all over again!” I’m paraphrasing of course, but with every release of a high-priced free agent, the Redskins’ name gets mentioned as a possible landing point complete with golden parachute.
Time to face facts fellas; the Dan Snyder of ’99, ’00, and ’01 is long since gone. He’s not the “wide-eyed know it all” he once was. A decade of losing and marginal seasons will do that to ya. I put forth that Snyder has let his coaches make the player recommendations dating all the way back to the Spurrier era. Certainly were a lot of former Gators on the team back then.
We have not seen a coach since Turner that has seemed unhappy with the personnel moves, and in most cases, we’ve seen it reported that Snyder, while party to the discussions, has let his coaching staff have their say. Jason Taylor was a move that involved Zorn, Blache, Cerrato and Snyder. They each agreed it was the move that needed to be made; even the Washington Post reported it that way (and they have never gone out of their way to make Snyder look like anything but an idiot).
Just prior to Michael Vick’s release from prison, the Washington Post reported that Snyder asked if the team should go after him, and it was reported that Cerrato and Zorn both agreed that Vick was not a good fit for the team. Vick was eventually picked up by Philadelphia.
Many credited Cerrato as nothing more than a puppet for Dan Snyder; a straw-man to take all the blame. Even with Cerrato’s “resignation” many felt it was nothing more than a scapegoating orchestrated by Snyder to take the heat off of himself. That could be true, but then it doesn’t seem to fit very well with Snyder’s next two moves. Snyder could have promoted someone from in house to Cerrato’s position, and kept up the “straw-man” game as many speculated, but he didn’t. He picked up two of the most respected professionals in the league in Bruce Allen and Mike Shanahan, and gave them control over all football decisions.
Snyder has done everything he can to show the fans that he has taken a back-seat approach. He can’t leave the picture all-together, it is his money after all, and no owner is completely out of the picture. The one thing Snyder has always done well is get the coaches what they want. If a coach says “we need this guy” Snyder will get him. Even Joe Gibbs, now two years removed from the team can’t say enough good things about Snyder. Gibbs was credited by Shanahan for convincing him to take the job.
So, the big question is, what are the Redskins going to do in the draft? It’s not every year you get a first round pick as high as fourth overall. Sure you can trade down and get more picks, but when you need to be that high, how many picks are you going to need to give up to get it?
Many of the same people, who think Campbell isn’t worth his role as the starting QB, think that drafting a QB is a waste of time. I say take a QB. You’ve got at least one more year with Campbell, get one and get him ready to go by next year. Then you can decide whether you want to stay with Campbell, or start your rookie. Dump Collins, and bring up Colt Brennan as the number two. Let’s face facts; this is not a Super Bowl year. Even if Campbell goes down, we aren’t riding the arm of Collins into the playoffs.
If you’re not going to go QB, than go HB. Portis has clearly lost a step, and it might be time for us to cultivate a new running back. As far as running backs go, Shanahan has always had a good eye for them.
For those of you howling about the offensive line at this point, we don’t need ten picks to get quality O-linemen. You can pick up perfectly good offensive linemen in the second and third, and even fourth rounds. They can also be found in free-agency. I may be wrong, but I’ve never seen a single offensive linemen credited with being the Super Bowl MVP. It’s usually a QB or a running back, and they were usually taken in the first round.
You just don’t see a team saying “we really won this game because of the outstanding play of our left guard.” I’m not saying that we don’t draft linemen, but they don’t all have to be this year, and they certainly don’t have to be as high as #4. I know the argument is to trade down and get two first-rounders, but again, what happens next year when you want a QB or a Running Back? How many picks are we going to need to trade to get as high as fourth? Solid, MVP-type Running backs and Quarterbacks are much less likely to be found in free-agency. Drew Brees being the exception; not the rule.
Granted, a solid offensive line could do wonders for this team, but if we learned anything from last year, play-calling was as much to blame for the losses as the talent on the field. The team’s offensive production picked up markedly when the play-calling duties were handed over to Sherm Lewis. A team that couldn’t beat the 0-fer Lions carried the Super Bowl Champion Saints into overtime.
I’m not saying we are one or two players away. How many offensive changes have we seen now over the past ten years? The first year is always the hardest while the players all learn new lingo and plays. We are getting a new offense AND a new defense. This year is going to be tough for us fans as well as the team. Personally, I think we’ll be lucky to get to 8-8.
I like the move to get Allen and Shanahan, and I’m excited for the future in the long term. I will hate seeing us go through yet another losing season, but I can at least temper it with the knowledge that we have people who know what they are doing, who have a combined three Super Bowl rings in the free-agency era, running things for this team.