The Super Bowl is coming up in less than two weeks and there are so many things to be envious of as a Redskins fan. Ben Roethlisberger looks for a chance to redeem his off field issues and cement himself as one of the top QBs in the NFL with a 3rd championship ring, while Aaron Rodgers looks to lead the high flying Packers and capture his first, jumpstarting his journey to be the best QB in the league. On top of that the #2 Steelers defense, led by Troy Polomalu faces off against the #5 packers defense led by Clay Matthews. These two teams got there the right way, and are set up for more success and title chances for years to come. As we sit here with the 31st ranked defense in the league and no idea who will be starting at Quarterback come September, we have to ask, what should we do?
Here are 5 things that we need to learn from the successes of these two teams…
- NT is the most important position in the 3-4: BJ Raji and Casey Hampton come to work and are studs on the football field (unlike someone lazy bum we know…). Stick with the 3-4; find the anchor to it. Can you imagine what Orakpo could do if he had someone like Hampton or Raji anchoring our D-line instead of a washed up Haynesworth or Maake Kemoeatu? If Marcell Dareus from Alabama is somehow available at 10 (though unlikely) he would be my choice and would make the most immediate positive impact overall on this team. Green Bay went from allowing 51 points in the playoffs last year in the 3-4 to being a top 5 defense. Not saying we’ll be there, but we can definitely make strides from last year. There really is nowhere to go but up.
- The Draft is King and the Draft is DEEP: Key contributors to both franchises were drafted after the 2nd round and compliments to the drafted talent was picked up in free agency. Notable steals: Tramon Williams, Mike Wallace, Jermichael Finley, Sam Shields (probably the player of the game against the Bears), James Starks, Desmond Bishop, and Chris Kemoeatu. It’s something that the fans have been echoing for the past several years and this Super Bowl backs it up.
- We NEED to draft a franchise QB: Whether it is this year in the first round, or someone slightly later to groom under McNabb (I vote no to grooming under Grossman), or next year, it needs to happen soon. Trent Dilfer and Rex Grossman were anomalies and we will not get to a consistent playoff level with a QB that we pick up off the street or past his prime. Getting lucky with someone like Tom Brady is unlikely, especially with the Redskins, so the fact of the matter is that the QB needs to be a pick on the first day of the draft. Jason Campbell could have been great…he wasn’t and we need to try again soon. That second round pick we traded for McNabb could’ve been Colt McCoy, it’s time to not make that trade anymore. I’m not saying McCoy is a budding all-pro, but I think we would certainly be in a better position than we are now if we had picked him up in the second round last year and kept Jason Campbell around. Campbell and McCoy (w/an extra pick this year) or Grossman and Beck…is it really even a choice?
- O-Line is important, but…these Super Bowl teams have somewhat raggedy lines and still made it because of the stars leading their teams. Big Ben’s best quality as a QB is his well-documented ability to be a tank in the pocket and not go down, but Rogers has made due with a mediocre O-line at best. Our O-line needs to be bolstered for sure, there is no doubt about that. We also need a lot of other pieces. Rex Grossman will not lead us to the Promised Land no matter how good our O-line is. Both of these teams have great QBs (on the field) and have surrounded them with good young talent and a top 5 defense.
- Time to get a fresh face at coach? It’s failed in the past with the Spurrier experiment and the Zorn debacle, but Mike Tomlin and Mike McCarthy are great coaches, and they get the absolute best out of their players after being plucked from obscurity. I’m not saying Shanahan is a bad coach, or that we should get rid of him. More so that if it doesn’t work out and we cut our ties with the Shanahan family, it might be time to look to get younger on the sideline in addition to on the field. Mike Tomlin has a chance to earn his second Super Bowl ring in four seasons, one more than Bill Cowher did in 15! Might it be time to say goodbye to the old guard and bring in the new?
Here’s to a brighter future…Go Skins!
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