HAIL!: Not Your Same Old Redskins

One of many experimental iterations ...

Om

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When Mike Shanahan accepted the Redskins’ head coaching job last January he made it clear right from the beginning that his first season would be no rebuilding project. He acknowledged that certain areas of the roster—the lines in particular—needed rebuilding, but didn’t agree the Redskins needed the kind of raze-it-to-the-ground fresh start many fans and observers were clamoring for.

He wanted to build, but also to win. Now.

At first blush, it appeared he and general manager Bruce Allen intended to do that with a Back to the Future is Now approach that would have made George Allen and his famous Over the Hill Gang approach proud.

Six-time Pro Bowl quarterback Donovan McNabb (33) was brought it to replace popular but ineffective incumbent Jason Campbell (28).

Running backs Larry Johnson (30) and Willie Parker (30) were brought in to compete with Clinton Portis (29).

At wide receiver the team signed graybeard Joey Galloway (39) and not-spring-chickens Bobby Wade (29) and Roydell Williams (29).

Key names expected to help transition the defense from a base 4-3 alignment to a 3-4 included Philip Daniels (37), Vonnie Holliday (37), London Fletcher (35) and Ma’ake Kemoeatu (31).

Before you knew it word on the street was the 2010 Redskins, the “oldest team in the NFL,” were simply the latest incarnation of Dan Snyder’s Flying Circus and destined to crash and burn.

But a funny thing happened on the way to disaster.

An opening night victory over ballyhooed Super Bowl favorite Dallas was followed up by a close loss to the suddenly relevant Houston Texans. A road win over division rival Philadelphia and surprising victory over preseason Super Bowl favorite Green Bay had the team 3-2 and suddenly being called “rugged” instead of “ancient.”

In a matter of just five weeks, the national conversation about the Redskins had evolved from clichés about age and “buying championships” to “tough and improving.”

On the fly, without fanfare and even while changing the losing culture fielding a competitive team in a transition year, Shanahan and Allen are also making the Redskins younger...


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Henry

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Hey, check this out. It's a record. I've had it for about ten years now. Sadly, it's broken. :)

Here's what it says:

I like the attempt to inject some youth in this team, but we still need to draft better, and more often.
 

fansince62

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Hey, check this out. It's a record. I've had it for about ten years now. Sadly, it's broken. :)

Here's what it says:

I like the attempt to inject some youth in this team, but we still need to draft better, and more often.
not broken...you meant to say it has a scratch that causes an endless replay!
 

Om

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Ah yes, the half empty glass.

Ain't no one sayin' the Redskins have fixed a dozen years or more worth of dogpoopian drafting or that the youth movement has been accomplished or that the team doesn't need to do a better job with the draft henceforth.

What someone IS saying is that quietly, without picks to work with, and while managing to field a competitive team through the process, it's becoming clear that Shanahan/Allen "get it" and have started injecting youth into the program by whatever means necessary and available to them now.

We'll know more come the offseason obviously. And the offseason after that. But it strikes me as worth noting the job they've done so far, even while it's happening, and taking at least some comfort in the knowledge it does not seem to be an accident.

It's almost like they know as much as us fans do. :)
 

Cycleans

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Ah yes, the half empty glass.

Ain't no one sayin' the Redskins have fixed a dozen years or more worth of dogpoopian drafting or that the youth movement has been accomplished or that the team doesn't need to do a better job with the draft henceforth.

What someone IS saying is that quietly, without picks to work with, and while managing to field a competitive team through the process, it's becoming clear that Shanahan/Allen "get it" and have started injecting youth into the program by whatever means necessary and available to them now.

We'll know more come the offseason obviously. And the offseason after that. But it strikes me as worth noting the job they've done so far, even while it's happening, and taking at least some comfort in the knowledge it does not seem to be an accident.

It's almost like they know as much as us fans do. :)
Well said. The way I see it. I have all offseason to be miserable . I'm gonna try and enjoy this ride as far as it takes me. Wild card is a reasonable expectation at this point. Thats a huge upgrade over where they were this time last season IMHO.
 

Henry

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Ah yes, the half empty glass.

Ain't no one sayin' the Redskins have fixed a dozen years or more worth of dogpoopian drafting or that the youth movement has been accomplished or that the team doesn't need to do a better job with the draft henceforth.
Sorry Om. I admit I have turned to the dark side. :)

I will see the glass as half empty until such time as the Redskins actually fill it up rather than tip it over for the umpteenth time.

I am thrilled with 4-3 though. Make no mistake about that. If we continue to remain this competitive throughout the season I'd put Shanahan up for coach of the year.

What someone IS saying is that quietly, without picks to work with, and while managing to field a competitive team through the process, it's becoming clear that Shanahan/Allen "get it" and have started injecting youth into the program by whatever means necessary and available to them now.
Understood. Having a few undrafted rookies and young cheap FAs stick is pretty cool. But, even with this front office in place, only one of our draft picks made the team this year. That's got to get a lot better if we want to sustain success going forward. Either that or (sorry, I have to) we will need a LOT more draft picks.

That's what I was trying to say. In a blog entry about the youth movement I think it deserves noting.

We'll know more come the offseason obviously. And the offseason after that. But it strikes me as worth noting the job they've done so far, even while it's happening, and taking at least some comfort in the knowledge it does not seem to be an accident.

It's almost like they know as much as us fans do. :)
You are absolutely right. One thing I'll give this coach/GM credit for is the ability to say 'I know this guy is a vet, but he's just not getting the job done.' That's something that seems to have eluded us for the past ten years, even when Gibbs was here (hell, especially when Gibbs was here.)

ARE being allowed to return punts for more than 5-6 games, for example, was a symptom of this 'stars in the eyes' disease. It's nice to see that change. I do agree with that.

Well said. The way I see it. I have all offseason to be miserable . I'm gonna try and enjoy this ride as far as it takes me. Wild card is a reasonable expectation at this point. Thats a huge upgrade over where they were this time last season IMHO.
I am totally enjoying this ride. Make no mistake about that. As I said earlier, I think we are witnessing a virtuouso coaching performance, the likes we haven't seen here since Gibbs took an old injury-plagued team to the divisional round in 1992.

I'm just trying to live in the moment. To enjoy the wins without reading anything into them, without trying to parse out what each means for the future. Because I've learned through painful experience that I suck at that. :)

It's that damn glass again, I guess.
 

Om

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I actually had a paragraph in the column about the draft picks ... but it didn't make the edit cut for length in Hail!. It mentioned both that the Redskins had traded down to get extra picks in their first draft under the new regime, and that that was another encouraging sign. It also noted the fact that they were almost all late-rounders and unfortunately few of those picks stuck.

Again, I'm not apologizing for the new regime or saying they've got it all figured out. I'm just looking at the product on the field and seeing what appears to be a seriously healthy mix of being competitive with a new team, and getting younger at the same time.

I like that. :)

Of course if we go into a tailspin and end the year 6-10 or something and can't seem to get the offense cranked up, I will have to find a way to convey my feelings about that as well. Dammit.
 

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Understood. Having a few undrafted rookies and young cheap FAs stick is pretty cool. But, even with this front office in place, only one of our draft picks made the team this year. That's got to get a lot better if we want to sustain success going forward. Either that or (sorry, I have to) we will need a LOT more draft picks.
Not to quibble Henry, but two picks made the final roster. Trent Williams and Perry Riley are both on it and have been since Day 1. In fact, I am kind of wondering if Riley isn't McIntosh's heir apparent since the team doesn't seem in a big hurry to resign him (now watch, the team will announce an extension with Rocky this afternoon). Although Riley did not play last week when Rocky was out so I could be wrong.

And depending on how you count the Practice Squad guys, there are still 3 more draft picks hanging on in the form of Austin, Capers and Cook. While that does not represent total success, the way teams move guys around on the Practice Squads had to leave you with some hope that these "projects" may one day turn into something. Solid depth if nothing else.
 
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Ax

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But, even with this front office in place, only one of our draft picks made the team this year.
Hah!

Trent Williams, and Perry Riley, makes it two.

Proving things are only half as bad as you think.

There is still good in you, Skywalker.
 

Ax

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Damn Neo, you are The One.
 

Neophyte

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I think you guys are missing the point. :)
No Henry, I got it. And I agree with you . . . to a point. I am just not quite ready to give up on this last year's draft class yet. While I don't see Capers and Cook as ever becoming world beaters, they could become quality depth. And Austin is a WR, a position that is notoriously slow to develop. I assume these 3 guys are still on the Squad because the coaching staff sees something of value. That is 2 guys on the roster from this last draft class with the potential of 3 more down the road.

Considering we only had 6 picks total and no 2nd or 3rd choices at all, I am thinking that 5 out of 6 still being with the team represents progress. And I consider it realistic progress because 3 of them are Practice Squad guys, meaning the front office and staff considers them projects and didn't just keep them around to make themselves look good like previous administrations might have.
 

Ax

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I think you guys are missing the point. :)
Naw, just bustin' your balls, my friend.

That, and I really don't care where players come from, as long as they perform.

There ain't a GM alive that doesn't miss, a lot, on player/coach/personnel decisions. Be it the draft, FA signings, or trades.

Or BIGGEST problem has been the revolving door of head coaches. Every staff has there own type of player they want. It would have to be difficult to have to tweak your criteria every couple years.

In the meantime, losing sucks, winning don't.

So just try to enjoy what we're getting now. It's the ONLY thing we can control.
 

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