A Burgundy and Gold Obsession
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A Burgundy and Gold Obsession

The 'IT Factor'

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There are as many theories on what our Washington Redskins should do in the 2010 NFL draft as there are recipes for ĎNC barbecueí in my neck of the woods. And the discussions revolving around those two passion-inducing topics can get equally spirited. I canít help you with the NC barbecue debate (although you are putting too much vinegar in yours), but let me try and help clear things up for you on the upcoming Redskins draft picture.

Brace yourself Ė because the Redskins are going to draft a quarterback with the 4th pick of the draft Ė and theyíll be making a rock-solid decision.

I know. I know. Iíve heard the arguments youíre about to make.

Without an offensive line to protect him, it wonít matter who we have at QB, we need to build from the trenches up. Weíve largely ignored the offensive line for a decade and we wonít be successful again until we invest there. Selecting a QB in the draft is a crap-shoot. Youíre as likely to get a Ryan Leaf as you are a Peyton Manning. Teams find QB Ďgemsí in the later rounds, why canít the Redskins? Jason Campbell can be a solid NFL starter, he just needs protection and stability. Mike and Kyle Shanahan will help him make it to the next level. Etc...etcÖetcÖ

Letís start with what we know. You may argue we *may* know this, but search your soul and youíll know you know it. Jason Campbell is not the answer at quarterback and never will be. Campbell is not without significant physical gifts. He throws a beautiful ball, has plenty of arm strength, and although rarely mentioned, heís capable of turning a broken play into a 20 yard gain with his feet. Campbellís athleticism is undeniable.

Some have argued Campbell isnít Ďsmart enoughí to be an NFL starter. Ridiculous. Campbellís simply the victim of his own southernness, his quiet, thoughtful demeanor frequently mistaken for something else. Given the voluminous changes Campbell has had to embrace during his time in DC, one could argue heís proven his football IQ is more than high enough to get the job done.

Thereís just one problem. He hasnít gotten the job done.

Sure Campbellís shown flashes. Heís shined occasionally. Heís been more than solid for a 2 or 3 game stretch. But he hasnít, when critically necessary, shown the ability to take the team on his back and carry it to crucial victories. Campbell is simply not the answer. He wonít be. And Shanahan clearly knows it. The Redskins flirtations with and courting of numerous potential successors even prior to Shanahanís arrival speak volumes about their assessment of Jason Campbellís future. In DC, he has none. If you accept that one fact, you know we are on the hunt for our next QB in DC.

Could he already be on the roster? I donít think so. Of course, sometimes life brings surprises. Colt Brennan could shock us all and dazzle Shanahan this summer. Perhaps Rex Grossman, given a new lease on life in what appeared to be the terminal stages of his NFL career, could rebound and turn into a Pro-Bowler. But neither of those outcomes seem likely, do they? So, again, where does that leave us? In dire need of a franchise quarterback.

And so on to the most compelling argument against doing what the Redskins will surely do on April 22nd, 2010. The Redskins cannot, will not draft a QB with the 4th pick because without rebuilding our offensive line, no QB can be successful. This argument is tricky, because like all good arguments, itís half right. No QB can be successful without a solid offensive line protecting him. But the argument fails because itís a Ďsuckerís choiceí. The argument is not ĎThe Redskins need to rebuild the offensive line; therefore they should not draft a QB with the 4th pickí. To the contrary, it's ĎThe Redskins need to rebuild the offensive line to protect the QB they select with the 4th pickí. The two goals, while somewhat daunting given the extent of our needs and our limited picks in 2010, are not mutually exclusive. We can do both.

So why must the Redskins go QB with that 4th pick? Itís really quite simple. Its true selecting a QB in the draft is a crapshoot. But Redskins fans have to start with one supposition, without which our future may be dark, foreboding, and scary. Mike Shanahan is a Super Bowl-winning head coach with decades of experience all supporting the idea that he damn well knows a winning quarterback when he sees one. It has to start there. Assuming thatís the case, and God knows, Iím assuming it (because I donít have the stomach to consider the alternative possibility), no matter where we select a QB, itíll be Shanahan selecting him.

Another assumption Iíll make is that, given there are only so many QBs in a draft, itís very probable there are only 1 or 2 in a given draft thatíll ultimately be Ďimpactí or Ďfranchiseí QBs, however you define that. I define those players as QBs who have the ĎIT Factorí, that almost impossible to define quality in the guy behind center that allows him to make those crucial plays, whether by experience or perhaps just instinct, that turn the tide and bring victory more often than defeat. The ĎIT Factorí is exactly what Jason Campbell lacks and will never have. Thereís a QB in this yearís draft that has it. And one or two teams will have the opportunity to draft that guy.

This year, Washington is one of them.

Yeah. I know. Tom Brady was drafted in round 6. I get it. It happens. But more often than not, if you want a franchise QB, youíd better count on having an early round 1 pick, unless you believe youíll win the lottery some day. The most crucial factor which will drive the Redskins inexorably towards making that crapshoot selection of a quarterback with pick number 4 is that it could be a decade before weíre in a position to use a top 5 pick again. Thatís it. You can argue that there are no franchise QBs in this draft. I think youíre wrong but you can make that argument. But if Mike Shanahan thinks heís got the opportunity to pick a QB with that elusive, rare ĎIT Factorí with pick #4, he has to make that choice. Do we need offensive line help? Absolutely. In fact, if we do go QB at #4, Iíd strongly recommend we let junior hold the clipboard for a year while we continue to rebuild our offensive line. I suspect thatís exactly what weíll do.

April 22nd is fast approaching Redskins fans. Get out your jerseys, dust off your foam fingers, tell the wife youíll be otherwise occupied that evening, and get ready to meet the next franchise QB of the Washington Redskins 18 days from now.

Updated 04-04-10 at 02:02 PM by Boone

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