If you don’t have a copy of the 2012 NFL offseason schedule, you might not know that Nike is unveiling their new official jerseys for all 32 NFL teams tomorrow. You might also not know that most of those 32 (or 64 if you want to count home and away, wait, plus alternates…) uniforms aren’t going to change much. What you may know is that the NFL Draft begins on Thursday April 26th at 8pm, but even the event itself if full of unknowns. Redskins fans are also awaiting the (hopefully) eventual re-signing of their captain on defense, Linebacker London Fletcher. With all this uncertainty, I am here to make one guarantee.
This Washington Redskins team will officially be the beginning of one era and the end of another. That “other” era I would be referring to is the twenty-year period from 1992 until now. Twenty years of nonstop coaching changes, quarterback carousels and free-agent busts. Whether the Redskins select Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin III is irrelevant. Washington is in the midst of it’s first full official offseason with Mike Shanahan at the helm and things have already drastically changed. Last year, the team attacked the draft with a “trade back and stack” strategy. I believe I speak for all Redskins fans when I say “thank God we didn’t draft Gabbert or Ponder”. They also signed some low-profile but key free agents including Barry Cofield and Stephen Bowen.
They are now cutting the rest of the dead weight from Redskins’ teams past. LaRon Landry was not re-signed and is now a New York Jet. Last year was headlined by the dumping of Albert Haynesworth to New England and Donovan “McBitter” McNabb to Minnesota. This year, the Skins cut Safety Oshiomogho Atogwe after he couldn’t stay healthy for most of the 2011 season. It seems as though the only recognizable faces from the most recent team to have success in burgundy and gold are Santana Moss, who with the signing of Pierre Garcon and Josh Morgan has even more competition at receiver and Chris Cooley, who’s also coming off of an injury and has Fred Davis currently sitting in his starting position. The roster has almost been completely flushed.
Although the previous era has almost been completely phased out, many questions will still remain until the Redskins take the field week one. Will Mike Shanahan break his current streak of sitting rookie QB’s until mid-season? Will Kyle Shanahan adapt the offense to his quarterback or simply expect his quarterback to adapt to the scheme? Will Dan Snyder continue to win favor with fans after his bold move to the second pick and his case with the NFL over “capgate”?
These questions will all remain unanswered for some time but the question about whether or not the Redskins have made the right moves has clearly been answered. We can only hope that these moves pay off sooner rather than later. What your Washington Redskins are going to do over the next five months will set the stage for the next twenty years. If this statement scares you, just remember, it could be worse.
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