Nothing is as it seems in Landover, MD, and once again the Redskins have managed to leave their fans with jaws left gaping wide open. Only one day had passed after news broke of quarterback Donovan McNabb signing a monstrous contract before the actual specifics of the contract really came out into the open. Instead of a $40 million guarantee, we come to find out only $3.75 million is guaranteed, and that’s if McNabb is cut by the Redskins. The extension is so laden with opt-outs and triggers that it’s hard to tell what exactly McNabb could make. The max value of the extension is $88.5 million dollars, but I find it highly unlikely McNabb will see that full amount. After a dismal showing against the Eagles, few wonder if McNabb is worth keeping at all. Many fans feel the season is not a total loss, but with a tough battle against the Titans looming, the end of a playoff run might not be that far away. The Redskins can not afford many more losses.
So how did the Redskins go from a season full of hope to the monstrosity of a game that occurred Monday night? Better yet, how do the Redskins move forward from this point on? Let us understand the enigma known as the Washington Redskins.
Part of the problem with the Redskins is that they are an old team. There is no (or at least very little) youth and as a result their is no hunger from the players that youth brings. I have said before that the Redskins needed to draft an impact player; a Sam Bradford or Dez Bryant if you will. The team needs reenergizing, something that aging (ex) stars like Albert Haynesworth and Donovan McNabb cannot provide.
Head coach Mike Shanahan came in to provide instant results. He got instant results and in the process set the Redskins back. The Eagles were more than happy to let McNabb go for a second round pick in the 2010 draft and another pick in the coming year. The Eagles’ willingness to deal McNabb should have been a warning. In the process of “renting” McNabb –those were Shanahan’s words- the Redskins have lost some of the capital to build themselves a team by drafting fresh, young talent.
Where do the Redskins go from here? First, they need to sever ties with McNabb at the end of the season. Two overpaid former stars are too much for one team. Second, the Redskins need to purge the team and bring in youth. The Skins need to take an approach akin to the Oakland Athletics. Bring in young players that don’t cost a lot. Lastly, use draft picks wisely. Trent Williams was not a wise choice. There were many other players that could have been drafted. Ryan Mathews, Dez Bryant, CJ Spiller and yes, Tim Tebow all went later in the first round and have all made an impact on their respective teams. The Redskins need a marquee player.
It may sound like I have written the Redskins off for the rest of the year. I haven’t yet, but I’m close. Tennessee is the end of the road. Though a non-conference game, it is a must win to restore dignity after the previous travesty of a game. To win, the Redskins can ill afford to ignore the threat Randy Moss possesses. He has been a non-factor the entire year, but he is still one of the best receivers in the game. The Redskins will have to play with heart, and they will have to play like their season is on the line, because for the most part, it is. The optimist in me knows it can be done, however the pessimist says that the Redskins’ second half will be a lot like the Dallas Cowboy’s first. But then again the Redskins could go out and prove everyone wrong, and that would only add to the enigma.