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Burgundy Burner

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http://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/news?slug=lc-carpenter_redskins_shanahan072811

Redskins make big moves without big splash

By Les Carpenter

When you are working for Daniel Snyder, you are never working on the long-term plan, so Mike Shanahan can’t figure to have much time to turn around the Washington Redskins. The clock has been ticking on the head coach’s tenure from the moment he arrived in Washington with the expectation that hiring him guarantees winning.

It always seemed the most important offseason would be this one. By then he would understand the kind of team he had, the players he needed and the salary cap space to make it happen. So these three days that constitute something of a normal football winter might be the most important in Shanahan’s time here. If he chooses wrong and 6-10 repeats itself, he might not get another opportunity. He has to win now to win later.

Once again the Redskins are lining up to be champions of an offseason, and yet for the first time they might be doing it right. The moves Shanahan has made in the past two days – dumping Donovan McNabb and Albert Haynesworth while adding Barry Cofield, Stephen Bowen, Josh Wilson, Donte Stallworth and Jabar Gaffney – are solid. It’s what the Redskins have needed to do for years: ignore the glamour of big names while adding solid, anonymous pieces that make a decent team.

In the past, Shanahan has never been tempted by the shiny names that so dazzled Snyder and his GM Vinny Cerrato. Winters were never good if they didn’t include one or two big packages with giant bows out in front of Redskins Park. But, aside from London Fletcher, the big signings rarely had value. All they did was clog the halls with egos. Shanahan’s predecessor Jim Zorn never had a chance the moment Haynesworth walked in the door. Haynesworth, his money counted, had little interest in trying.

Shanahan has his own impatience. And has proven flawed as a talent evaluator. Some who have worked with him say he relies too much on his instincts, watching highlight tapes of free agents and draft prospects, while not listening to the advice of the scouts and assistants around him. When those players don’t work out, he fails to mask his disappointment. Things often don’t end well.

But Shanahan has also thrived on players who slip under the radar – low-round picks that come to him without pretense or ego – and he coaches them into winners. No coach may burn to win as much as Shanahan. He despises six-win seasons so much that he pushes as hard as he can for nine and 10 wins, sometimes at the price of long-term growth. Last year’s team, as miserable as it was, would have probably won a couple of more games were it not for the inability of Shanahan and McNabb to find common ground.

The Redskins are now better. Gone is the quarterback whose dispute with the coach divided the team. Gone is Haynesworth, who was never going to play here and whose presence on the roster angered everyone. New on the roster is Cofield, who will help the pass rush, and Bowen, whom the Cowboys appeared to still want. Wilson is an efficient corner who won’t drop all the interceptions Carlos Rogers did. When healthy, Stallworth has always been an effective receiver and Gaffney knows Shanahan’s offense from Denver. None are superstars but the Redskins don’t need superstars, they need decent players who will buy into Shanahan’s system.

Those who have had to adjust to Shanahan over the years say it takes a season to learn the madness of his offense. Linemen struggle to remember the variations and terminology. But once they grasp the system the blocking is always magical, holes open so well any running back, no matter how unknown, instantly becomes a star. Washington will probably run a lot with a new quarterback, John Beck, in charge. But the receiver threat that was missing last season should be there this fall. The Redskins should score points. They should be competitive.

People forget how much NFL teams get better as they cut away the old and broken down. Behind McNabb and Haynesworth went several players who had become worn down and beaten up. In the previous regime’s zeal to win fast with as many impressive names as possible, Washington got too old to compete. Two days into the winter that really is a week in July, Shanahan fixed that.

The Redskins are younger and as a result, a little bit better.

Once again they have won the offseason.

Only this time, they might really have done some good.
 

Hog Fever

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Fantastic article, I feel the same way. There are only a couple of team that I can name off the top of my head that I would consider definite contenders. Most in the NFL are middle of the road teams who have big holes somewhere. We are among that group.

By adding youth and talent, our defense should be improved over last season. By adding youth and talent, our offense should be improved over last season too. Yes, there are still question marks. QB is a huge issue, but one that we couldn’t address this season. I get that. Patience in this situation is better than reaching in the draft or bringing in another free agent QB that doesn’t fit. Once bitten….

To take the next step we have to do a couple of things. First we have to keep adding talent, mostly through the draft but through trades and free agency too. More importantly we need to find “the guy” at QB. The teams who are definite contenders year after year have “that guy” QB. We don’t….yet.
 

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I'm still panicking a little over the QB situation. If we can somehow get that position filled with a youngster with potential, I will be exceedingly happy.
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Lanky Livingston

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I'm still panicking a little over the QB situation. If we can somehow get that position filled with a youngster with potential, I will be exceedingly happy.
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The more I think about it, I don't think we'll be terrible with Grossman. He was good enough to get to the NFCCG with the Bears (granted, on a much better team), so he should be serviceable. Plus, he knows the KS offense frontwards and backwards.

Yes, he's a turnover machine, but I have an eery feeling that John Beck is gonna throw 2-3 picks a game.
 

Goaldeje

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The more I think about it, I don't think we'll be terrible with Grossman. He was good enough to get to the NFCCG with the Bears (granted, on a much better team), so he should be serviceable. Plus, he knows the KS offense frontwards and backwards.

Yes, he's a turnover machine, but I have an eery feeling that John Beck is gonna throw 2-3 picks a game.
Yeah,, I'm actually Ok with Rex too, I just wish we had someone behind him we could point to and reasonably talk about the future. Not seeing that right now. Im just concerned that we all acknowledge the franchise QBs, while not growing on trees, are the key to being successful year in and year out, and we don't have one even on the horizon. With the numbe rof QBs drafted relatively early in this draft, Shanny may be thinking there may be more QBs available next draft, which could work out well for us, I guess.

Don't get me wrong, I LOVE the moves we are making, couldn't be happier. Just hate the feeling we don't even have a long term QB prospect on the roster right now.
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How would you feel about Kyle Orton? Hearing that a 3rd round pick could seal the deal.
 

Call me Ismail

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I'm still panicking a little over the QB situation. If we can somehow get that position filled with a youngster with potential, I will be exceedingly happy.
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Shanny is doing the wise thing. If Beck works out, fantastic.

If not, this team isn't good enough yet to overcome that, so we will be in position for a top QB in the 2012 draft, and have a solid D in place, and an O with another year of experience

2012 we let our rookie get some experience, and 2013 is when we start to truly contend again
 

Lanky Livingston

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The Shanahans are compiling a bunch of picks. Possibly to move up to number 1 overall (if they don't make it there naturally, that is).

Suck for Luck!
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Call me Ismail

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I'd rather have Landry Jones. He will be a better fit for this scheme.
Luck is a fantastic fit for this scheme with his mobility and big accurate arm

I got to see it up close at the Orange Bowl :(

He really is a generational talent. With the moves we made though, I don't think we'll be in position to grab him without trading up.

I can still see this being a 4-6 win team if Beck is a total flop. If there are injuries and the D doesn't mesh, it could be worse.

The max wins for this team, if Beck is serviceable, is 8 IMO
 

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I'm liking our offseason a lot too. One of the interesting things I've noticed is that they seem to be building for the short AND long term. So instead of just drafting at some of our positions of need, e.g. DL/WR they also signed solid, professional starting level talent to help bring those guys along. So we improve right away with Carriker, Cofield, Gaffney, etc. and as they either age out and/or reach their next contracts, we'll be able to let them go and transition to the younger guys.

Like Goaldeje I have to think that Alla-han has a plan for QB and somehow I just can't believe it's really Beck. Maybe next year's rookie class is expected to be deep or perhaps there's a F.A. on the horizon he has his eye on. With the rookie salary cap now in place, I think the next draft will be a better bet than this one to go all out (in terms of cap space) to get Luck or whomever we can trade up for.

Hmmmm, so this is what a professionally run F.O. feels like. I like it! Yessir, I like it a lot!!
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Lanky Livingston

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Yeah, Luck is a once every 10-15 years type prospect. Can't miss. Redskins would be drafting their Peyton Manning.
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Our best bet for Luck is to suck enough to get in the top 7-10 picks, hope that several of the teams that took a QB high this year are ahead of us again, then sell the farm (a-la Ditka) to trade up. I'd happily give up a full draft plus another #1 the following year to get him. Unfortunately for us, I think both Bellicheat and Reid have two 1sts in the next draft.
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Califan007

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is that califan i see? well holy ****, there goes the neighborhood...lol
LoL...I lurk like mad, I just don't ever post. You guys make way too much sense here so I'm never tempted to chime in because of it.
 

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OK so I checked the 2012 draft order and it looks like we might have a fair shot at Luck after all. The good news: it's the Patsies and the Browns that did trades to get two first rounders in the next draft. Furthermore, the Patsies' trade was with the Saints and the Brown's was with teh Falcons so chances are (fingers crossed) these team's two first rounders will probably be too late for a team with a high first round pick to get an impact player.

The bad news: The Patsies also have two second round picks which means they still have a boatload of ammo to move up and the Browns could very well still suck enough to get a reasonably high first round pick on their own to pair with Atlanta's expected late first round pick.

Even so, from what I've seen of the 2012 prospects (and yes, I know it's incredibly early to be counting those chickens) the next draft could be as deep at QB as this one was sucky. So by that measure I really like our strategy of (seemingly) putting the pieces in place around a QB of the future to be drafted in 2012.
 

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