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Lack of Identity and why it matters


Camp Fodder
Jul 23, 2009
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This is not another slam on the lack of players and talent; this is an examination of something that comes before the final product, the confusion from the top that affects all aspects of the organization. The team has been said by many to have no identity but usually we follow that up with talk about running the ball too much or running the ball too little. This is a mistake and a short sighted definition.

Team identity is something that can be seen easily in all the top football clubs in the NFL. The Steelers, Colts, Eagles, and Patriots are all good examples of teams who know what and who they are year in and year out. They draft players that fit their philosophy and hire coaches that do the same. The Steelers when replacing Cowher did not go out and grab a coach that varied from their style of football, they found a guy that was of the same mold. Do the Colts look dramatically different to any of you now? No, they still play the same style of football. They know who they are, what they have, and what type of person they need to bring in to compliment their team, instead of changing it.

The Redskins don't believe in this approach if we can judge by their coaching hires:

Norv Tuner: A progressive offensive mind in football that doesn’t run an offense your grand daddy would recognize. He was the last coach DC had that generated a serious offense. Sadly as a head coach he just isn’t as good as he is as an offensive coordinator so he had to go.

So who do we get?

Marty Schottenheimer: This guy’s philosophy is old school to an extreme. Crazy practice schedules and hard nose offense that sets out to run over teams not surprise them. He couldn’t be more different from Norv Turner without coaching in another sport. Sadly he wanted too much control and Dan Snyder wasn’t impressed enough with him to surrender it.

So who do we get?

Steve Spurrier: Wizard of the pitch and catch. He doesn’t know what hardnosed football is and he doesn’t behave like any field general I’ve ever seen. Long hours? Not for this guy, the golf course is calling. Let’s just get out there and throw it around a little bit and see what we get? Shockingly his California dreaming coaching style failed and he jumped off the plane before it hit the mountain side he and millions of Redskins fans could see coming.

So who do we get?

Joe Gibbs: This man is the anti-Spurrier. Long hours and hardnosed football is the foundation of a successful team. Unlike the nobodies Spurrier brought in here Gibbs has always favored bigger names in free agency. Pitch and catch is great but it comes after a steady dose of counter trey. Gibbs is all about sweat, blood, and heart. He was all about an all star coaching staff with big named assistant coaches. But even 5 million a year couldn’t keep him around for year 5 and he traded in fast backs for faster cars and returned to NASCAR.

So who do we get?

Jim Zorn: The west coast QB coach from the Seahawks. This is the quiet spoken soft hearted man that no one saw coming. The diamond in the rough that Danny and Vinny found that would stun the league. Unlike Gibbs’ big name staff structure Zorn got virtually no staff on offense and chose to pretty much wear every hat that Bugle wasn’t wearing on that side of the ball. Well here we are and it’s not working…

So who WILL we get and what system will they run? No one knows but if the pattern remains constant it will be a big name coach that runs an entirely different system.

The point of this is that it's extremely hard to draft the right players or sign the right free agents when the entire direction of the club keeps changing. The players never get comfortable and the new ones arrive into a group of confused veterans losing some of the value of interacting with the older players. If you look around the league you see different OLine players in place for different systems, some smaller for movement some larger for grinding. You see wide outs the excel in specific systems and QB's that do the same (compare Orton in Denver to Cutler in Chicago). We can't have any system success here because no system lasts very long.

(I originally posted this on that other site but figured you guy might appreciate it)
Outstanding, brother. BG Overdrive nominated.
Great post Des. I posted this in another thread but it goes better here:

It goes way beyond talent at this point. The scheme has been changed so many times over the past ten years that the talented players that do exist on this team don't fit with each other or whatever the current system happens to be.

This team is the epitome of a 'bunch of guys.' For the players to start acting like a team, the Redskins need to be built like one. Until then, talent won't get us past the 8-9 wins we see during the 'good' years.
This is evidence that this team is a ways away from being anything like a contender. You don't get all the pieces to fit the puzzle overnight (or in one off season), especially when you don't know what the puzzle is supposed to look like when it is assembled. At the moment, what we have are pieces from a half dozen different puzzles and we are trying to make them work to create on picture.
One Piece at a Time

(Click it)


Edited to resize---this one was real page-buster. ;)

- Om
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An identity has to begin somewhere. It didn't work under Norv's extended watch and, as Destino has so eloquently pointed out, hasn't had a chance to work since. (Although a younger Gibbs would have ultimately accomplished it.)

In order for this organization to establish such an identity a strong, determined, intelligent, and wise owner will need to appear. Of the teams mentioned as examples of well run franchises in the op, that is the common denominator. It is to clear nearly everyone that the Washington Redskins are now starting from scratch and not in need of some tweaking.

Daniel Snyder, and only Daniel Snyder, has the onus and responsibility of setting a new, successful course for the team. He is the one who must change before anything of importance can change.

I wish I felt more optimistic about the possibility of that occurring. I firmly believe that one can change their behavior, although not their personality.

I hope Daniel Snyder can make that change, but I wouldn't bet on it.
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I want the Hogs back

I want mean, nasty, rabies infested linemen that taunt the other team with "We're running it your way again Randy"

I want Wilbur Marshall back. I want linebackers that will try to kill people every time the come into their area.

I want Gerald Riggs on the goal line back

I want Pete Cronan on Special Teams back

Nasty people in a conservative offense like Pittsburgh's that takes shots down the field every once in awhile.

Is it really too hard to look for and get players like that? Is it really too much to ask your coach to put that mentality into your team?
One thing that I do think needs to be asked:

What exactly are the Redskins known for on offense? What do we do that is our specialty? We certainly don't run the ball well, nor do we pass well. We do nothing well. And we don't concentrate on any one thing, as far as I can tell.

I would not call Pittsburgh's offense "conservative." The Steelers pass to set up the run. Fifth in the NFL in passing. In fact, especially when Ken Whisenhurt was with Pittsburgh, I would say their offense was as far from conservative as you can get.
One thing that I do think needs to be asked:

What exactly are the Redskins known for on offense? What do we do that is our specialty? We certainly don't run the ball well, nor do we pass well. We do nothing well. And we don't concentrate on any one thing, as far as I can tell.

3 and out?
It's even simpler than that.

The common thread in the NE, Indy, Pitt, Philly chain of management is that they draft and trade for players THAT GIVE A DAMN AS PROFESSIONALS.

And those players have to confirm that professionalism ON the field BEFORE the teams sign them to long-term lucrative deals.

Here in Washington we pay the athletes first and THEN hope they show that they are worth the money.

That's back asswards.

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