Nearly universally, most agreed the smart play for the Washington Redskins was to trade back in the 2011 NFL Draft, acquire more picks and fill more of the holes created last year when this team tried to compete too early. I agreed with this philosophy whole heartedly.
It seems, though, that several members of the national media are taking umbrage with Washington's decision to not address their need at quarterback in this year's draft. SB Nation D.C.'s very own Mike Prada and others have done an excellent job of compiling a list of everyone who is outraged that the Redskins would dare pass on the likes of Blaine Gabbert. For example, Nate Davis from USA Today:
Washington Redskins: After years of moving up and mortgaging picks, they reverse course and amass them -- but in a year when the draft may have been thinner on talent than usual. Their top two choices, Purdue DE Ryan Kerrigan and Clemson DT Jarvis Jenkins, would fit perfectly -- along with DT Albert Haynesworth, ILB London Fletcher and, arguably, former college defensive end Brian Orakpo -- if the Washington was still running a 4-3 defense. More importantly, with QB Rex Grossman a free agent and the bridge with Donovan McNabb blown, it seems John Beck remains the nominal starting quarterback unless the Redskins go after yet another veteran signal caller post-lockout.
First of all, the notion that the Redskins can't bring back Rex Grossman if they choose to is ridiculous. No one who is not named Shanahan is beating down the door for Sexy Rexy.
More importantly, what Davis and the rest of the national media do not seem to understand is that this is not a one-year project. It may not even be a two year project. There is plenty of complaining about the condition of the offensive line as well. Those criticisms are just. What these "talking heads" need to realize, if they are panning this draft, is that even if the Redskins had 20 picks this year, they just couldn't get it all done.
I am not an apologist. This team arrogantly thought they could compete last year. A first-year offense, first-year defense, first-year quarterback and first-year coach and general manager. Ludicrous. Absurd. They should be held accountable for that error. Knowing that, the only thing this team can do now is try and start the rebuild that we all knew needed to happen. That's exactly what they are doing. The defensive line has been addressed. Skill positions have been addressed.A veritable gaggle of young players are going to come marching into Ashburn when this lockout lifts, and that is crucial and necessary.
So why is everyone killing this team? Why are they being smashed nearly universally for not selecting quarterbacks that were overvalued the second Andrew Luck decided he need one more year at Stanford? They are going to struggle next year whether John Beck, Cam Newton, Donovan McNabb or John Elway was quarterbacking them.Why all the animosity? The answer is clear if you live here.
Mike Shanahan is not nice to the media. Dan Snyder is horrible to the media. They treat us like idiots at best and enemies at worst. We are stonewalled, threatened, bought out, spoken down to and sued by this team. Is it any wonder that the Redskins don't get the benefit of the doubt? It's the same thing I said on the radio when Mike Shanahan was getting accused of racism after the benching of McNabb. Do I think Shanny is a racist? No. The problem is, that when you conduct yourself the way this team has, people assume the worst.
Dave McKenna from the Washington City Paper (yes, THAT Dave McKenna) called me the other day on this very subject. I think it still applies here:
Yes, with the 2011 NFL draft almost upon us, the racial angle of the 2010 Redskins quarterback's saga remains a top story among fans. Chad Dukes, co-host of WJFK's "LaVar and Dukes," says that he personally sees no racism in the Skins' handling of the star quarterback. But he hears day after day from an audience that begs to differ.
"If you bench a QB of the caliber of Donovan McNabb for a QB of the caliber of Rex Grossman, you leave yourself open to those charges," says Dukes. "The move was so baffling. Nobody understands it. And Shanahan's explanation makes no sense, so [some callers say] he must be a racist."
That's what is happening here. People are assuming the worst. This administration already has a reputation of lying, mismanagement and poor planning. They have completely devalued players they have up multiple draft picks for. They have put petty, personal squabbles before what's best for the team. They started players that were clearly hurting the team based on personal bias. These are the men trusted to LEAD this franchise, and they did all of this in one year? No wonder no one is willing to give them the benefit of the doubt.
It sounds like I'm killing the team. I'm really not. I think they drafted well, considering they needed everything. Including O.J. Atogwe, they have brought in three defensive starters that can make a difference right now, and that's with no free agency. Laudable.
We are looking at a team that needs more than one offseason to be fixed and the Redskins seem to realize that and are conducting themselves accordingly. What I would tell my fellow Redskins fans is this. Don't be surprised when the national media remains dubious of this team's moves. Considering the way the brass for Washington conducts itself at times, it's a wonder we get any coverage at all.