March Madness is no longer about College Basketball in the DMV. No, it is about the panic that seems to be settling over Redskins Nation at the thought of RGIII going to Indy. March Madness is about the 'Skins perhaps getting ready to go after the NFL. March Madness is also about the Wizards making an addition by subtraction move and whether the Caps will hang on and make the playoffs.
In this week's Chain Reactions, we cover the concerns over losing RGIII, the ongoing Redskins cap drama, and the Nene era being underway in Washington.
RGIII to Indy?
Once again, Robert Griffin III did not shrink under the spotlight at this week‘s Baylor Pro Day, which could be a problem for those hoping he ends up in D.C. because the Indianapolis Colts still own the draft board. So what if the Colts have a change of heart? What will we do with all those cool RGIII avatars and mock 'Skins jerseys?
It is not an accident Mike Shanahan has not said, "I love RGIII and only RGIII." He knows there really is no reason to profess anything until the Colts commit one way or the other. I have stated here for months that RGIII is the guy I want to be the Redskins quarterback of the future. That feeling partially comes from the assumption Andrew Luck is going to be a Colt.
However, if the Colts change course, make no mistake the Skins will be just fine with Andrew Luck. Sure, he doesn't have a cool sock collection and doesn't have the personality RGIII has or the cool nickname ("ALI" just doesn't cut it). However, Luck is the real deal. He played in an NFL-style offense with a target on his chest for two years. He has not done anything to lose the top QB status and after a strong pro day will still be that guy.
"He could have thrown the ball left-handed today and still be the No. 1 pick in the draft," NFL Network draft guru Mike Mayock said.
So why the concern among 'Skins fans? RGIII has been so smooth under the spotlight, both at the combine and at his pro day, that it has made some take pause. He was so fast at the combine, measured the right height, answered all the questions correctly, no red flags with his character, and was really good on the field
That being said, Luck would have been the No. 1 guy last year and still, for now, appears to be that guy this year. He also performed well at the combine. His measurables are very similar to that of Cam Newton, who had a really nice rookie year in Carolina.
The fact of the matter is, the 'Skins really can't go wrong. Both of these QBs are off the charts in measurables and intangibles. Either could be a success in their system if (big if) they surround them with the right pieces.
A Question Of Collusion
There have been some rumblings that the Redskins are ready to go nuclear on the NFL over the $36 million cap penalty handed down earlier this month by the NFL. I mentioned in this space last week that there seemed to be some arm twisting by the NFL to get the NFLPA to agree to the penalties. Yahoo's Jason Cole wrote about it this week and even found a player that says those suspicions are on point.
"Why did we agree to it?" a former player said, rhetorically. "Because the league had us over a barrel. If we didn't agree to the penalty for the Redskins and the Cowboys, the cap would have been $113 million, the players would have been [angry] and De would have gotten fired.
"What the league is doing is collusion, plain and simple."
Now, the Redskins still need to be careful here because if you haven't noticed, Roger GOD-ell is not in a very good mood these days. The safe money is still on the league, the Redskins, and the Cowboys working this thing out behind the scenes and not in the courts.
Nene to the Rescue?
Nene's Wizards debut could not have gone any better, as he recorded 22 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in a win over the New Jersey Nets. His second game was more like what Wizards fans are used to this season: a meltdown in the 4th quarter in a loss to the Indiana Pacers.
The Nene deal is a step toward improving the overall basketball IQ of the team and changing the culture within the locker room, as this quote indicates.
"Basketball is simple. When you play the right way, play hard, cut hard, you make basketball easy," Nene said. "I'm excited. This is a very athletic team. A lot of talent. Just need more experience, but we'll be fine. I just ask for the fans to support the team. We have a new team, so let's go Wizards."
Nene knows how to play the game. More importantly, he is a grown up, a professional, and someone that younger players can learn from. Kevin Seraphin has already shown some improvement this month, and having a big guy like Nene (to whom he has been compared in the past) should be helpful for the second year player.
But the biggest benefit of the move is that two of the Three Stooges are gone, with Javale McGee in Denver, Nick Young in Los Angeles. Andray Blatche will likely be next via the amnesty this off-season. Just from a PR standpoint, all three needed to get out of here. Most fans have grown tired of them and what they have come to represent during their time in DC. Now they need to add another piece to complement John Wall, which should come via this year's deep draft. If they choose wisely, maybe--just maybe--they wil finally be on the right road to rebuilding.