Hi gang! I’ve been spending the spring and summer over at the golf blog but am back and ready to take on the 77th edition of the Washington Redskins, who will kickoff their season in Houston on Sunday.
Much has been written about Jay Gruden’s handling of RG3 in what has been described as an underachieving preseason. I have absolutely no faith in any preseason results (forget the 3-1 record) because of the lack of game planning, vanilla offense, and over emphasis on avoidance of injuries, and generally stop watching when the regulars come out. Can you believe they actually have point spreads for these meaningless affairs? Anyway, Griffin didn’t play in the preseason final, but my concerns are with the obvious attempts to convert him into a pocket passer. This is a huge red flag, and I’m beginning to think the trade of three first rounders and a second to Saint Louis for the rights to draft RG3 may have been a monstrous mistake. It may take years to recover the lost value.
With humans in general and Griffin specifically, I’ve observed that people function more effectively when they are allowed to utilize their strengths. Running and throwing the football from a spread formation is Griffin’s, and I’ve never been a fan of trying to change a guy’s game coming out of college. When you get to the pros, you learn to deal with the speed of the game and the greater sophistication, but changing what a player fundamentally does is a bad idea. If the game and profile are not there, don’t draft him. Do you recall the Redskins competing against Donovan McNabb and the Eagles, and struggling mightily with the young McNabb’s scrambling and improvising? Andy Reid accentuated McNabb’s downfall by trying to turn him into a pocket passer. While he had some good seasons, he never was great, and certainly wasn’t as effective as when he was on the run. The same thing is playing out with RG3. Is he physically more talented than Kirk Cousins? Yes, but Cousins is more suited to throw from the pocket in a pro set, because that’s what he did in college. I’d like to see the Skins swallow their pride and start Cousins with Griffin playing a “Slash” type role the way the Pittsburgh Steelers worked with Kordell Stewart.
This of course will not happen because of problem #2: RG3 at quarterback is a huge marketing tool from Dan Snyder’s perspective. The trade to acquire the rights to RG3 is looking more like Snyder’s meddling. Relegating your top marketing draw to a Slash role will not sell hordes of #10 jerseys.
Problem #3 is organizational. Bruce Allen is now President and GM, but the guy is not a talent evaluator; he’s a finance guy! Need contracts restructured to work within your salary cap? Allen’s your guy, but picking players is not his fortay. Snyder hired Mike Shanahan to pick players and Gruden is coaching but that’s it. You arguably have no top guy evaluating talent!
These three issues can set the team back years and while it will be difficult to go 3-13 playing a last place schedule, coming close may be a reality. Hoping against hope this year. What are your predictions? HTTR!