Doing sports talk radio, in your hometown, is both a blessing and a curse. The blessings are obvious. Meeting guys like Lavar Arrington, Brian Mitchell, Ken Harvey and Gary Clark would be the stuff of dreams for any lifelong Redskins fan.
The curse is trying to objectively cover a team that gets you involved emotionally. I often debate the team's future with my fellow Redskins fans on the air and in doing so, I get a very good sample of the opinions many Redskins fans have. The big one I hear over and over is also the one I find most frustrating.
"It doesn't matter who plays quarterback, just build the offensive line."
The reason Redskins fans think this way is not because it's true. In fact, the exact opposite is true. Look at this year's playoffs. Look at the Super Bowl matchup. The Pittsburgh Steelers and Green Bay Packers both have franchise quarterbacks picked in the first round.
Honestly, I think Redskins fans are stuck in the glory days. When Joe Gibbs was making his run, maybe the notion that "any quarterback will do" made sense. When you win three Super Bowls with three different guys, that will happen. The problem is that the game of football continues to get refined each and every day. What worked then may not work now.
The Super Bowl quarterbacks this year are Ben Roethlisberger and Aaron Rodgers. Last year, it was Peyton Manning dueling Drew Brees. Previously it was Eli Manning vs. Tom Brady. You see what I'm driving at here? There are no Mark Rypien types on that list.
Enough with the Trent Dilfer argument. Enough. That was an outlier. The exception, not the rule. Dilfer had one of the greatest defenses of all time playing while he was on the sideline. Baltimore won their title against a Giants team that was possibly the worst Super Bowl participant in history. The Ravens thought so little of Dilfer that he was purged the following season in favor of Elvis Grbac. Focusing on trying to repeat what the Ravens accomplished would be like trying to hit a hole in one every time you stepped up to the tee. You're going to spend a lot of time in the woods with that mentality.
I'm in no way saying the offensive line doesn't need improvement. It does. But one is not autonomous from the other. ANY quarterback for this team would benefit from them investing some draft picks at the guard or right tackle position. That in no way diminishes the need for a franchise quarterback that this coaching group trusts.
We don't have that now. I think Donovan McNabb got a raw deal. I think he was embarrassed by coaching staff. I also believe none of that matters now. The mistake was made, and it's time to move on. Griping and complaining about McNabb accomplished nothing for Redskins fans. What we need is a plan to acquire a player that the Shanahans believe can lead this team to the playoffs.
It honestly doesn't matter to me where that player comes from. If the Redskins like Carson Palmer, make it happen. If they are steamed up for Jake Locker, pull the trigger. Just put to rest the notion that counter trey, counter trey and a play-action pass is going to punch your ticket to the Super Bowl. The NFC East is no longer a smash-mouth running division, and Joe Jacoby isn't walking through that door.
It's high time Redskins fans get their offensive mentality out of the '80s are start thinking about what works in the NFL in 2011. From my vantage point, a team is only as good as the guy they have behind center, and the Redskins aren't very good there at all.