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Hindsight is 50-50

Loss Vegas

Boone

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In April of 2020, the brain trust in Ashburn Virginia was confronted with its first crucial decision – what to do with the 2nd overall pick of the 2020 NFL Draft.

They blew it.

Let me provide one huge caveat to that harsh assessment right from the outset. Drafting the best player in ANY draft, and Chase Young was that player, is never a ‘mistake’. Young was a dominant, perhaps even generational talent who as a rising senior likely still had room to grow. Give 100 NFL GMs that pick and all the options accompanying it, and 99 of them select Chase Young.

It was the biggest no-brainer in draft history.

And yet, it may well prove to have been the wrong decision.

It’s been so long ago that Washington has had a true franchise QB under center, I can’t even decide who would actually qualify as deserving of the descriptor. Leaving that debate for another time, let’s just agree that the Redskins/WFT/team to be named later has been wandering the desert in search of a QB for decades. We have yet to resort to drinking our own urine but there’s no arguing – we ran out of water, and hope, a long time ago.

Fans have done little else but suffer over the course of all these QB-starved years, teased only occasionally by brief glimpses of competency, morsels of imagined glory that only further whet our ravenous appetites. Both ironically and cruelly, rarely did our ineptitude result in disastrous failure, but more often merely mediocrity. Thus, the fool’s prize, a top draft pick to aid us in our search for the promised one, has eluded us over and over again.

In the absence of a top pick, the opportunity to (at least theoretically) grab that next ‘sure thing’ franchise QB, we’ve resorted to desperate measures to cheat our way to a franchise QB. Trading a king’s ransom in picks to draft RG3, placing multiple franchise tags on a better-than-average Kirk Cousins in the hope he’d prove to be our next Sonny Jurgensen and decide DC was the place to be, and most recently, letting the owner pick the next QB. Which of these ill-conceived approaches was the most disastrous, it’s hard to say?

Some of you are already preparing your counter here. There is no guarantee that a high draft pick will yield a franchise QB. And you will find no argument from me. The data clearly demonstrates this as fact. But the number of failed QB prospects taken with early draft picks is as much a testament to the critical nature of the QB position as it is a condemnation of the strategy. Teams without a top tier QB will seek to find one with their highest pick, over and over and over again. It matters that much. No – a top pick does not guarantee you find your franchise QB. But it does guarantee that you’ll get to pick the guy you believe can be before 30 other NFL teams get the chance. Like the lottery, you can’t win if you don’t play.

Washington had it’s opportunity. But instead of the lottery they bought savings bonds.

We rationalize. Look at RG3. How did that work out? Defense wins championships. The Ravens won a Super Bowl with Trent Dilfer under center. We need to build the offense from the trenches first. While none of those assertions are wrong, they belie the truth. It’s really hard to consistently win in the NFL when you don’t have a QB.

Good lord – as rabid lifelong Washington fans, can we just admit that?

On Sunday, the WFT will take on the Los Angeles Chargers. Under center will be the young star QB that Washington should have taken with pick #2 of the 2020 draft. Justin Herbert. In his rookie campaign, all Herbert did was throw for 4,336 yards, 31 touchdowns, just 10 interceptions, and complete almost 67% of his passes.

Yesterday, Ron Rivera was asked about Justin Herbert. After effusively lauding Herbert and his skillset, Rivera made a couple of interesting comments.

‘You draft who you think you need, and that’s what we did’.

I suppose it’s possible that Rivera means they *thought* they were set at QB with Dwayne Haskins on the roster. But I’m more than a little skeptical, given how things transpired from there.

‘When you get an opportunity to find that QB, a young man like him, that’s what you wanna get and hold to. Part of it also is hindsight, now you get a chance to see that he’s had success, that he’s capable of that. He was offensive rookie of the year last year for a reason obviously.’

Rivera was not asked directly about the decision to draft Chase Young vs. other options, but he volunteered this response, specifically using the word ‘hindsight’. Do Rivera and the other decisionmakers in Ashburn regret taking Chase Young, and not Justin Herbert at pick #2?

I doubt it. Chase Young is hardly anyone’s consolation prize. He may well be a future Hall of Famer.

But would they make that same decision knowing what they know today?

That my friends, is an entirely different matter.

Had Washington selected a QB at pick #2, there’s no guarantee it would’ve been Herbert who was the choice. Most pundits would have had us taking Tua Tagovailoa instead. And while it’s likely, had Washington not selected Chase Young gone #2, that Young would be a Detroit Lion today, it’s also possible he slides to pick #4. Facing Chase Young in a New York Giants uniform twice a year for the foreseeable future is an unpleasant proposition.

So while it’s hard to criticize the Chase Young pick, there is no question about the impact of a true franchise QB versus a great defender and pass rusher, no matter how transformative the talent. We had the chance to draft Justin Herbert in the 2020 draft. We did not.

I think time will show we blew that pick.

Then again, in the words of the great Steve Spurrier, ‘Hindsight is always 50-50’.
 

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Henry

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Meh. I realize you are trying to create content here :) but that's an argument you can make about half the teams in the league every single year.

But even if I buy your basic premise, I'd counter with the fact that the WFT has not really had trouble finding decent QBs. The trouble with this team is keeping them. Drafting a guy who puts up 4000 yards in his first year as a starter? P'shaw! The Redskins did that twice ... in one draft!

I think at this point, the assignment isn't finding the talent. It's building a team and creating an identity and a winning culture that lasts more than ... three seasons? So far the counter is at *checks notes* ... zero. Maybe one, since the team did win the division, even if it was with a losing record. But let's see if this team can sustain and then build on the positives from last year. How about another year of awesome defense? How about a non-totally-s**tty offense? We can accomplish those things without Herbert. That would be fine. That should be fine.

We pull off something like that for a few years and I won't lament not-drafting Herbert one bit.
 

Boone

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I made it clear that I'm not *faulting* anyone here. Few saw Herbert coming (except the Chargers Front Office - and maybe they just got lucky). It's not even 'Herbert is a bigger talent than Young'. I doubt that's the case. But pass rushing defender and QB - contrary to what you implied - are not 'equivalents'. It's fine to say teams really need both to succeed. But 1 of them is historically much harder to find, much less draft. If Herbert continues like he started - it doesn't matter what kind of career Young ends up having, we'll have blown a massive opportunity. I agree with you on the 'assignment' comments. But sticking to the assignment didn't preclude us taking a QB in 2020. Hell - we may sorely regret not taking several of them before all is said and done.

I did post this to get some *discussion* going - but I still think I'm right about it.
 

Henry

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I seem to remember a similar discussion to this one about ten years ago when the possibilty of trading up for a supposedly sure-thing elite QB in the 2012 draft came up. I think what I said back then was something along the lines of “if the front office knows what its doing it doesnt matter if they draft a QB or not”

And the team did draft an elite QB (two elite QBs, one could argue), and, in the end, it didnt matter, because the front office was a disaster.

Since Dan Snyder bought the team, the Washingtons have managed to acquire two QBs that put up a 4000 yard season as soon as they got the starting job. Both QBs were off the team within three years, only to see greater success elsewhere. That’s not even counting Griffin, who was, of course, snapped in two after one season. I’m sorry to keep bringing this up, but until the team stops driving away franchise QBs, it’s part of the larger discussion about what sort of team the WFT should be looking to build and what type of culture the team needs to create before investing a high pick on a top QB.

Herbert’s gaudy numbers mean nothing if he ends up posting them somewhere else which, again, given the WFT’s track record, is more likely to happen than not.

I’m fine seeing if the team can show a little front office discipline, for a change, before reaching for the bright shiny object. Drafting Young and building a foundation for a long-term, quality defense, was a small step in that direction. I’m more than ok with that.
 
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To compound this feeling...

I was reading an article yesterday (can't remember where) and they were talking about how lean the 2022 draft will be for QB's. There's no stand out Elite talent in it at this point. And while it might turn out that there is a legit 1 or 2 prospects that warrant a first round pick, we'll likely be good enough this year that we'll be down the pecking order draftwise and ay potential Franchise number 1 will already be long off the board.
So if that holds true, then WFT are in a holding pattern for another year next year - Fitzmagic year 2.

It looks like there will be some trade options next year, but a part of me hates giving up any of this core to get it. You know there will be a bidding war if a talent like Rodgers hits market.

I'm not a draft expert, so I only know what I read in the article, but passing on a QB this year may mean we've put ourselves out for a couple of years of transition.

Do any of you guys know the QB's in this years draft? Are there any that would be a good option for where our pick is likely to be?

I guess the other tangent here, is to watch how the Haskin's experiement unfolds in Pittsburgh. The kid didn't do himself any favors here, thus far has not distinguished himself in Pittsburgh thus far. But what I'm interested in is if the Steelers can rehabilitate his career to find a decent replacement for Big Ben when he retires. What can a 'good' organisation do with his talent? If so, that'll be a pretty damning indictment of the way Washington was run back in the day. Is his failure all on him? Or was it helped by the systemic dysfunction of the Franchise?

Did we miss out on a potential Franchise QB by being impatient with him?

(This is not a defense of Haskins, he was a muppet while he was here. It's just interesting to see if he was a missed opportunity)

As Henry said, we've had elite QB's here before. There's the 'What If' scenarios of RGII never getting hurt, or Bruce actually negotiating a contract with Kirk, or Alex not breaking his leg...
Whether by bad luck or bad management we've let good QB's slip through our fingers.

The way the team is now though, I'm optimistic that if we could grab an elite young gun to play behind center, then we could hang on to them and develop them. HAskins never played well enough to overcome the bridges he burned with his immaturity. But I think a no-nonsense young QB that meshed well with Ron's no-nonsense attitude would do really well here. Plus I think our Front Office would do a much better job of keeping them without the petty contract wranglings of Bruce Allen.

As much as I love Chase... I gotta admit, if we had Herbert I think we'd be in a pretty strong position right now.
 

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I will say this:

The longer the team goes without drafting a QB, the more likely Snyder will step in and make the team do it.

You don't think he's having the same thoughts running through his head that John is? Look at Herbert! We should have a guy like that! We blew it! Somebody get Rivera on the horn!

That's coming sooner rather than later, so in that respect maybe grabbing that shiny object last year was the right call. At least if Rivera wants to keep his job. We'll see.
 

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Don’t compare me to Dan ****ing Snyder please.

Henry, to be fair, you have no idea if Justin Herbert will turn out to be a ‘bright shiny object’ or one of the best QBs in recent history. He looks pretty good so far, but we all know only time will tell. Also possible Chase Young never becomes the dominant force we think he will be.

Rivera himself signaled they might at least have considered going with Herbert with that 2nd pick had they known how talented he appears to be. No, he didn’t say it, but he raised the prospect of hindsight himself, no one asked about it.

Im not sure anything I wrote warrants snark, my intent was just to raise the ‘will we regret the route we went down the line?’ question. I figured the vast majority would support the Young pick and that’s obviously a supportable position.
 

Henry

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John, I would never presume to compare you to Dan Snyder. :)

We as fans can second-guess coaches all day long if it pleases us, and despite my snark I'm glad you do it. Owners have a slightly larger responsibility. I think one of Snyder's big problems is he reacts like a fan rather than an owner. That was more what I was trying to say.

Anyway, yes if Young busts and Herbert turns out to be awesome then sure, we can say the WFT should have picked Herbert. Of course the reverse is also true. I think one year in is probably a little early to make that determination.

My point, I think, is that even Herbert if turns out to be awesome and Young busts out, that may be a function (at least in part) of the organizations they play for. There is ample evidence to suggest that sort of thing matters to a player's career.
 

Boone

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All good points, particularly that it’s too early, and also that you can’t extrapolate a players success in one setting/situation and assume the same thing would’ve occurred elsewhere. I get it.
 

Henry

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Also, if I'm being snarky, it's not aimed at you. I reserve that for the team, which despite one non-terrible season still has lot to prove before I'm back on the Bandwagon.

Sorry if that wasn't clear.
 

Boone

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Nah man, I spend too much time on social media where the snark and nastiness isnt imaginary. You’re too 5% of humanity, even with a little snark, lol.
 

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Boone, I keep coming back to something you said to me years ago - that you don't do regrets because you made the best decision you could with the information you had on hand at the time.

I believe that WFT made the best decision they could with the information they had at the time. Even if Herbert turns out to be the second coming of Brady, I'm at peace with that. Just as I am at peace with the Skins passing on Brady 5 or 6 times 20 years ago.
 

Boone

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I hear you and I agree …

I will always harbor one bit of bitterness. The first Rivera comment I quoted is very revealing.

’We drafted who we thought we needed’

That translates to one thing imho. They had Dwayne Haskins on the roster, coming into camp in the best shape of his life, saying the right things, etc… Rivera had no choice, from an organizational standpoint, but to give him a chance to prove he either could or never would be the guy. He did not realistically have the option to cut a 1st round draft pick in the off-season no matter how skeptical he might’ve been about his potential.

So because Daniel effing Snyder did Dan Snyder things, and saddled us with a blown 1st round pick, it really took the QB position off the table in the 2020 draft.

That’s a damn shame. And damn Dan Snyder for creating that situation.
 

Henry

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You need to join us on the Pigs
HAH! :)

I don't know that I'm ready to invest the emotional energy necessary to know what I'm talking about for an hour, but I'm checking out the episodes to see if there's a chance in hell I could keep up with you guys.

That and I'd need to get a camera, and a microphone ... and a haircut. :D
 

Boone

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You could definitely keep up. The in season pods will be reaction to the previous game (that’ll probably take up most of our time) and then thoughts on the upcoming game.
 

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HAH! :)

I don't know that I'm ready to invest the emotional energy necessary to know what I'm talking about for an hour, but I'm checking out the episodes to see if there's a chance in hell I could keep up with you guys.

That and I'd need to get a camera, and a microphone ... and a haircut. :D
The haircut is totally optional on this. Trust me. :ROFLMAO:
 

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