An Inconvenient Column

By: Brandon Ford
“Was it such a great coached game by Leslie Frazier? Or was it just that they’re playing the Washington Redskins.”
-Michael Strahan, Fox NFL Post Game Show, 11/28/10
The original intention of this column was to endorse the Boise State Broncos for the BCS National Championship game over TCU and Auburn, but after Boise’s loss to Nevada and Auburn’s comeback against Alabama, those plans were thrown out the window and I suddenly needed a new topic to write about. I came away with nothing on Saturday and I was desperate to find something to write about. But then I came to a realization on Sunday: The Washington Redskins played today. And after their loss 17-13, I was overjoyed that I finally had something to rant about. Three Cheers for the Redskins’ ineptness, I guess.
The quote above made me realize that the Washington Redskins have once again become the joke of the National Football League. They have taken the place of the over-hyped Dallas Cowboys and the Minnesota Vikings debacle. As hyped as the New Regime was coming in (Mike Shanahan as head coach and Bruce Allen has General Manager), nothing has really changed. The Redskins still have the problems that they had in the Jim Zorn era and the biggest of the problems was exhibited against the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday and that was they play down to their opponents level. They had no problem showing up and beating teams like the Philadelphia Eagles, the Green Bay Packers and the Chicago Bears, all teams who should make the playoffs this year. However, when they would play a bad team like the St. Louis Rams or the Detroit Lions, they would play down to their level and end up losing.
Now I’m not about to call for the head of Mike Shanahan (Yet) but when your team is 5-6 and both the offense and defense are among the worst in the league, you know you got to make a change. Both Offensive Coordinator Kyle Shanahan and Defensive Coordinator Jim Haslett have been massive failures in their first year in Washington. I’m willing to give Kyle another year since the Offensive Line is an abomination, the receivers are below average and they have no real running game to speak of.
But Jim Haslett has got to be fired ASAP! Let’s look at some stats to prove just how bad Haslett’s defense really is. Remember, this was a defense that ranked 10th overall last year, 8th overall in passing defense and 16th in rushing defense. After Week 12, the Washington Redskins defense is 32nd overall, 29th in passing defense and 27th in rushing defense. And I must reiterate, this was a top ten defense just LAST YEAR!
The switch from the 4-3 to the 3-4 defense has been a monumental disaster. Why would you switch something up that works? It makes zero sense to me and really makes me question Mike Shanahan as a head coach. To be brutally honest, I don’t even think Shanahan is that great of a coach. Yes, he is a good coach, but not great. Let’s take out the four years that Shanahan had John Elway and just take his record from the year 1999 and on. He has a record of 91-69, which is good but not a great record considering he has only won one playoff game in that span. Not too great for a supposedly “elite” coach.
And to finish up this short rant, I guess I’ll take on what has been the biggest problems for the Redskins for the past ten years; The Front Office. My biggest problem with the front office is that they seem afraid to make any real changes. For one, the receiving corps has been atrocious all year and they had two chances to upgrade it and make it NFL quality. They had a chance to trade for Vincent Jackson from the San Diego Chargers and to snag Randy Moss off of waivers from the Minnesota Vikings. I’m tempted to give them a pass on Vincent Jackson since apparently the Chargers had a steep price tag for him (I couldn’t find specifics, but I remember it being either multiple first or second round picks) and they could pick him up much cheaper in Free Agency. However, they really had no excuse not to pick up Randy Moss off of waivers. They would give up nothing except Joey Galloway’s roster spot, who I doubt any Redskin fan would miss. If Moss was productive for the rest of the season, they could resign and make him the #1 receiver for the next year or so because let’s face it, Santana Moss isn’t a #1 receiver. If Moss was a distraction and/or wasn’t productive, they could just not resign him and lose nothing since they gave up nothing in the first place. Although he hasn’t been good at all this season, it would help Donovan McNabb to have a decent receiver to throw to in hopes to salvage his so far awful season. The refusal to upgrade the receivers this season has been head scratching and hopefully they will address it in the off season, but seeing how this New Regime acted last off-season, I wouldn’t get my hopes up.
One more thing I must hammer the front office on: Donovan McNabb’s contract extension. Of all the bad moves in Dan Snyder’s tenure as owner, this has got to be one of the worst. McNabb, who is having one of, if not his worst year of his career, was rewarded with a five year, $78 million dollar deal. Good to see the New Regime rewarding failure. It would be one thing if McNabb was having a good year and the team was in contention, but they reward him when he’s having the worst year of his career! That totally makes sense, right? I understand that the contract has a clause that if the Redskins release him after this season, they would only owe him $3.75 million. If they decide not to use that clause, then they will be stuck with an over the hill McNabb for the next five years, because no smart team would take that contract on board if the Redskins decide to try and trade him. I really hope I’m wrong about McNabb and that he ends up having a good year next year with an improved offensive line and receivers, but I doubt I will be.
Quick Rants
On Derek Jeter and the Yankees: If I were the Yankees, I would not resign Derek Jeter if he wants what I’ve heard he wants (About $23 million for five years). Sure, he has been the face of the franchise for almost fifteen years but he is way past his prime and is the worst fielder in their infield. If he doesn’t realize that he isn’t twenty seven anymore and settles for much, much cheaper, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Mr. Yankee get his 3,000th hit with another ball club. But Jeter is a smart man and will realize eventually that he needs the Yankees more than the Yankees need him. I’d be shocked if Jeter plays for anyone but the Yankees come Opening Day.
On Coaching Changes in College Football: Good for Miami for firing Randy Shannon. The team has too much talent to not be playing for at least the ACC Championship every year. Hopefully they hire the right coach this time and “The U” comes back to prominence. If the rumors are the true that John Gruden is interested in the job then that would be a great hire. Hopefully Shannon’s firing means the end for Jacory Harris as a Miami Hurricane. He is easily the most overrated Quarterback in all of College Football.
On the BCS National Championship: TCU should not play for the National Championship if either Auburn or Oregon loses next week. Yes, they’re undefeated but they’re just a good team and nothing more. Even though they lost last week, I’d still take Boise State over them. TCU had problems with an average San Diego State team while Boise State lost to a good Nevada team due to the kicker pulling one of the biggest choke jobs I’ve seen a kicker do in a big time game. Not to mention they were the away team and this was pretty much the biggest game in the history of Nevada’s football program. Also, I know the NCAA can do nothing about this, but Auburn should not be allowed to play for the National Championship. It’s looking more and more likely that the NCAA is going to find Cam Newton guilty of taking money and if they do find him guilty then this season would have never happened according to NCAA, since all the wins would be vacated, including the National Title if they win it. Give me Oregon against either Stanford in a rematch from earlier this year or Oregon against Wisconsin, all of which are clean programs.
On the Heisman Trophy: Cam Newton should not win it. There, I said it. As I mentioned in the above rant, it looks like the NCAA is going to find him guilty of taking money and if they find that to be true then according to the NCAA, Cam Newton would have never played at Auburn and the Heisman trophy would be vacated for the second time. The award being vacated a second time in ten years would look terrible for one of the most prestigious awards in all of sports. If it was up to me, I would give to LeMichael James of Oregon, who has been one of the main factors of the teams undefeated season. Not to mention he is clean.
On TCU joining the Big East: This was an excellent move by The Big East, adding a legitimate team to its conference to help its image, which is currently that of a conference that includes West Virginia and a bunch of average teams. This is also a great move for TCU for many reasons. One, it gets them out of the Mountain West conference and into a BCS conference, which if they would win it, would give an automatic berth in a BCS Bowl game. Two, it helps their recruiting not only in the state of Texas, but around the country. The appeal of playing in the Big East is much more appealing than playing Utah and a bunch of second rate scrubs in the Mountain West. Don’t be surprised if TCU becomes a much more dominant team in the next couple of years then they already are.