Baylor's Robert Griffin III will officially become a Washington Redskin Thursday evening when he is taken with the second overall pick. It is hard to believe he is not "officially" on the team now, considering we have been obsessing about the Heisman winner for months.
Fans have already made RGIII t-shirts, hats, jerseys, and posters. Some have gotten RGIII-inspired license plates in anticipation of his arrival. Late last week, news broke that RGIII may not be perfect. He may even be a little selfish and cocky. Wow! A selfish and cocky NFL QB. Who would have ever thought?!
I find most of this comical because RGIII seems to always say the right things in every setting, including at a Subway restaurant stop where they made a sandwich of his likeness.
I have to go in and prove it to them. You can't come in thinking that you're a big-dog. I might be the second pick, I might be who the fans want as a quarterback and the coaches want as a quarterback but I've still got to go beat out Rex Grossman ... Rex Grossman is the quarterback in Washington right now and I've got to go beat him out. I've got to prove to those guys that I'm there to work and I will, it's who I am. I'll be the first one in, last one out and it won't be a cliché with me.
At this point most fans know more than they ever truly needed to know about the guy they hope can help lead the franchise back to prominence. Yes, I did say "help lead" because it takes a village to raise an NFL quarterback. And yes, I said "Village to raise an NFL QB." In this week's edition of Chain Reactions we look at the other needs that Washington must fill by the end of the draft. Also, we explain why the Caps' time is now.
What Else Do the Redskins Need?
RGIII will be in place Thursday night, but what do the Redskins address on Friday and Saturday? Let's be real: When you are the last place team in your division, almost every position is in play. The 'Skins will have no second round pick ( the Rams got that in the RGIII deal), but they do have a third round pick, 2 fourth-round picks, a fifth-round pick, a sixth-round pick, and a seventh-round pick.
There is really no position, except maybe defensive line (and now kicker), that the 'Skins can feel has enough able bodies. Even though they were busy in free agency shoring up the secondary, that is still an area of need, especially at CB. In this day and age of pass-happy offenses, you can never have enough quality cover guys. Also on defense, they need depth behind London Fletcher and Perry Riley at ILB.
On the offensive side of the ball, the Redskins clearly still have questions at RT because of Jammal Brown's health, and they could use interior depth, too, in case Corey Lichtensteiger is not fully recovered from ACL surgery. The 'Skins need a lineman that can be like Raleigh McKenzie used to be, playing multiple line positions and playing them well.
Running back seems solid with Roy Helu and Evan Royster. Tim Hightower, though, remains unsigned and is coming off ACL surgery, so I would not be surprised to see Mike Shanahan take a running back at some point. There are lots of numbers at WR but the group still lacks that big target man. Hopefully, Leonard Hankerson will be healthy and able to pick up where he left off before his injury in the Miami game. A tight end might be in play, too, with Niles Paul moving over to play behind Fred Davis and Chris Cooley, the latter of whom could be a cap casualty.
What about another young QB to be the #3 behind RGIII and Rex Grossman? That might be in play since the Redskins clearly do not trust John Beck. Taking the best player available should be the play for the 'Skins on Days 2 and 3. The entire 53-man roster needs to be strong to support the future franchise QB.
Caps Look to Exorcise Playoff Demons
Sooner or later, the Caps have to win one of these series, right? That is what I have been telling myself since the 1980s, when we went to a place in Landover, Maryland, called the Capital Centre to watch games. Sure, the Caps made the Stanley Cup Finals back in 1998, but historically, the playoffs have meant nothing but heartache and pain for the D.C. franchise.
This year's team barely got into the postseason, yet they have gone blow-for-blow with the Big Bad Boston Bruins, who just happen to be the defending Stanley Cup Champions. The series has been historically close, the first series to have one goal decide every one of the first six games. Sure, the Bruins know how to win these Game 7's, as they did in three of their four playoff series last year en route to the Cup, and the Caps are, well, the Caps.
Maybe I'm crazy, but I think this year's team is different. They are playing gritty and tough, like you need to play in the postseason. They seem to finally be buying into Dale Hunter's system and, oh yeah, Braden Holtby has been really good too. He's gone toe-to-toe with Vezina Trophy winner Tim Thomas.
"We're content with where we are. It's kind of who we are," veteran Mike Knuble said. "And so I'm excited to go, excited to get it underway. Guys are comfortable and confident and that's what you want going into Game 7. You look around the room and know that everybody's going to be in this game and everybody's going to show up."
Sure, this group has been 1-3 in such Game 7's since 2008, but these Caps have become the team we wanted them to become in this tough series against Boston. I like the Caps' chances in Game 7, but there still is that possibility that they could play their best and still head home losers.
I'm glad the game is in Boston, a city that knew enough heartbreak for 20 cities themselves not too long ago. The Caps are 2-1 so far in this series in Boston, where they seem to play a more disciplined game. Hopefully, they will do it again in Game 7, and they can finally exorcise their playoff demons.
The Caps have a confidence, an edge, a swagger, whatever you want to call it. They are not scared of the moment, unlike a good portion of the fan base.