You may have heard about the short-lived, so-called drama between Washington Redskins cornerbacks Carlos Rogers and DeAngelo Hall. It started with Rogers suggesting that he's always been looked at as the team's No. 2 corner, despite being "the one they put on a guy they want to shut down," as he told David Elfin of 106.7 The Fan. It ended with Hall saying that all he cares about is winning games, and "Hope all of my teammates feel the same way!"
Hey DeAngelo, you've got a point.
Rogers' attitude in this situation is part of what has been plaguing the Redskins for years now. It's needless drama and unnecessary controversy. The focus constantly moves off the field and away from the game. Rather than actually winning football games, the Redskins organization tries to win popularity contests in the media.
Rogers is a free agent this offseason, and he seems to desperately want out of Washington. And yet Redskins fans need not worry deeply about it. Rogers is a fine NFL starter quality cornerback, don't get me wrong. But he's not the type of player who is going to win or lose a Super Bowl for his team, so losing him to free agency isn't likely to make or break the Redskins' 2011 season.
The Redskins have made the playoffs only twice since Rogers was drafted in 2005, going 42-54 in the process. He's been a part of the culture of losing that has affected the team for far too long. It might not be easy for Mike Shanahan to replace Rogers with a better player, but he's not the only thing that they're replacing. The culture of losing needs to eradicated. They need to find a way to change that culture in the locker room. They need players who care only about winning games.
It always seems like a shame for the Redskins to lose a player that they drafted, but this is way bigger. This is the next step in Shanahan placing his stamp on the franchise. It's the next step in moving away from the Owner-as-GM model that has failed so succinctly since Daniel Snyder purchased the team.
In the short-term, the team is losing an above average player. Well, above average is about all the Redskins could have hoped for the past several years. In the long-term, losing Rogers to free agency signals that the team is sending a message that above average isn't good enough anymore.
Rogers is the most Redskins player on the Redskins' roster. He's a metaphor for the entire organization. He's a living, breathing missed opportunity. Sure, he's an NFL starter quality cornerback. Rogers certainly has the talent necessary to make a Pro Bowl, just like the Redskins had the talent to make the playoffs the past two years. On paper, they rule.
Like Rogers, the Redskins always come up just short. They're always a few bad bounces, a few missed calls or a few botched snaps away from being great. If the Redskins could convert all their opportunities, they could be perennial contenders in the NFC East. If Rogers caught every interception that hit him in the hands or chest, he'd have been to more than a few Pro Bowls.
We likely bid farewell to Rogers this offseason, but its not good riddance. We wish him the best. Unless of course he goes to play for a division rival, in which case we hope that he brings his metaphoric mediocrity with him.