OF: 2011 Redskins: Winds of Change or Just More Hot Air?

One of many experimental iterations ...

Om

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The most overlooked factor surrounding the 2011 Washington Redskins is the fact it is a new regime's second season.

If that simple statement does not resonate, perhaps it should.

The team that head coach Mike Shanahan and general manager Bruce Allen inherited in 2010 was, in the most generous terms, adrift. Twenty years of regime changes and organizational about-faces take a cumulative toll.

The Redskins brand, on and off the field, had faded from bold light to indistinct shadow. Beyond a wildly successful marketing machine, the franchise lacked competitive direction, identity, philosophy and any other team-oriented facet you might care to name.

Well, that may ... may ... be about to change. What we are going to see in 2011 is whether or not the new regime's unmistakable establishment of a clear guiding philosophy has begun to "take..."

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Hog Fever

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Nice piece OM.

We do stand at a crossroads as a team. I just hope that Dan has the patience and wisdom to let this run its course. I love this team and I always will but it’s hard to see the team make the same mistakes over and over again expecting different results.

The blueprint for success is there, it’s no big secret. Of the teams who seem to be in the mix year after year they have certain things we don’t: Coaching stability, front office stability, a commitment to the draft, a “franchise” QB and ruthless efficiency when dealing with overpriced or older unproductive players. Like it or not that is how to have sustained success in today’s NFL. We haven’t had any of these things. Is it any shock that we’ve been spinning our wheels for so long?

Sure, you can have a Carolina, Seattle or Arizona catch lightning in a bottle and make a run to the Super Bowl or have success for a season or two but they all come quickly back to earth. They don’t follow the rules.

The trickiest part of this equation is the franchise QB. We can be a .500 team without “that guy” through hard work and a lucky break here and there, but it’s very unlikely we’d be much better than that.

As a fan I want it all. Why settle for a one or two season run when we could have sustained success if we’re just patient? I’m willing to let this play out because I’m seeing all the right things happening here (except QB of course). If we bail too soon we go back to being the side show most of us claimed we didn’t want anymore.
 

servumtuum

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Good piece, Om. It mirrors a lot of my perspective on what I'll be looking for watching the Redskins this season.

Improvement. Not just technical, statistically measurable improvements, but the things that are harder or even impossible to assign a quantitative value and incorporate as a variable in an equation-at least on an individual level.

I know many fans look at things almost precisely the opposite of my perspective in one important way. I never make a mental measurement based on an "idealized" goal whose realistic attainability is heavily influenced by personal emotional preferences and then assign success or failure based on how far short of that "goal" the team, in this case, happens to be in my mind.

To me a goal is a compass bearing and not a destination. Relating to your post, I personally think the Redskins have changed a compass bearing and I'm measuring progress by how close that bearing seems to be in the direction of producing a winning, playoff contending football team and then how well the team is progressing in keeping to that bearing. This past draft and how the Reskins did free agency is, to me, evidence that they are maintaining a course close to that compass bearing-away from the previous direction of "quick high profile expensive band-aid fixes" and more in a "let's build this thing more carefully, try to meet as meet as many needs as possible with younger, better, more capable players across the board and keep that up" making us more competitive and, alluding to something you referenced, more cohesive as a team, something the Redskins, IMO, have sadly lacked for too long.
 

LoyalSkinsFan

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Great write-up, Om! Gonna be an interesting year. I just hope that the team shows the patience it needs to get thru, winning season or not. They seem to be stockpiling draft picks in the next two drafts.....which will come in handy both as additions to the team or as trade bait. Either way, getting the bodies in as they did this year will pay off in the long term. Patience....patience......
 

stevenaa

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This is how I felt last season, but in retrospect, there was just too much fodder that needed jetisoning. I don't think Coach had a firm grip on just how bad things were, and i'm not sure he really could until a year was under his belt. Now he knows what he has, what he needs and is going about a plan to fill those needs. This year should be about optomistic change and some incremental improvement by the end of the year. Hopefully with a few more wins spattered in.
 

Dik Shuttle

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While I certainly would like to see ANY amount of improvement, measurable or not, I don't think it's out of the realm of possibility in this league to field a winner in a handful of seasons. Granted, most teams that do that aren't coming from our level of dysfunction.
Still, I would like to see us compete for a playoff spot this year & the Division championship this year. Do I think that will happen? No. But those are reasonable expectations on a 2nd and 3rd year rebuild. Notice I didn't say "attain", just compete. I would say that if we aren't perennially in the hunt by Shanahan's 5th season, it's buh bye.
I still say building the 3-4 is a mistake. But we'll see.
 

Rymanofthenorth

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While I certainly would like to see ANY amount of improvement, measurable or not, I don't think it's out of the realm of possibility in this league to field a winner in a handful of seasons. Granted, most teams that do that aren't coming from our level of dysfunction.
Still, I would like to see us compete for a playoff spot this year & the Division championship this year. Do I think that will happen? No. But those are reasonable expectations on a 2nd and 3rd year rebuild. Notice I didn't say "attain", just compete. I would say that if we aren't perennially in the hunt by Shanahan's 5th season, it's buh bye.
I still say building the 3-4 is a mistake. But we'll see.

I would normally completely agree, however we arent really in the second year of a rebuild and I think we are being expected to temper our expectations accordingly, last year was not a rebuild, last year was a wasted year where Shannahan had to learn some very harsh lessons about where exactly his Genius gets him in the NFL. Now that we are actually following a rebuild plan, I will temper my expectations on everything but the defence, whether OM agrees with me and the facts or not, the fact remains that the defence was nowhere near as bad as it has been as a 3-4 and that we have wasted valuable resources reinventing the wheel rather than fixing what we had already and tweaking it, completely revamping a defence takes a maximum of 2 seasons, and if you dont see marked improvements by year 2 of the switch, its a fail, if you see huge dropoffs in the first season? its a fail. unless the object was to drop games without looking like you are trying to lose.

You build your team for the future, but the games are played NOW with the guys you have NOW, you cant mortgage the future but you also cant live completely for it.
 

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