Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, September 21, four days before the Washington Redskins visit the New York Giants.
—Today's schedule: Practice 1 p.m.; Jay Gruden and Kirk Cousins press conferences, player availability after practice, approx. 3 p.m.
—Days until: Browns @ Redskins 11; Redskins @ Ravens 18; Eagles @ Redskins 25
Fan question of the day
#NTK. When is the last time a 1st round receiver worked out for the Redskins. We needed line help on both sides over a WR— Fake Larry Michael (@intangibles69) September 20, 2016
Well, a guy named Art Monk worked out pretty well. But since that 1980 draft, Desmond Howard, Michael Westbrook, and Rod Gardner, all taken in the top half of the draft, clearly did not justify their draft positions.
But if Scot McCloughan allows himself to be paralyzed by the past then the future is doomed. He can’t be influenced by the failure of Marty Schottnheimer and Charley Casserly to pick the right receiver in the first round.
If he did that, why not look at first-round O-lineman Andre Johnson and say they shouldn’t draft on the O-line in the first? Kenard Lang and Bobby Wilson were both busts. Should the past dictate that McCloughan stay away from D-linemen?
You can find plenty of receivers drafted in the 20-32 range in recent drafts who are excellent contributors—Dez Bryant, Demaryius Thomas, DeAndre Hopkins Kelvin Benjamin, and Brandon Cooks are examples from 2010-2015. If you’re McCloughan you look at this group and say, hey, I can find a stud in this part of the draft. You don’t look back at 2001 and worry about Rod Gardner.
As for the needs on the line it should be pointed out that they drafted an OL fifth overall in 2015 and a total of four offensive linemen from the 2014-2015 drafts are currently on the roster. It’s difficult to make the case that the area has not been addressed in the draft.
Yes, they do need defensive linemen. But Scot McCloughan doesn’t draft for need. He’s said it dozens of times. Many of those quotes are available here in this fine post by my friend Ben Standig. Here’s one of them:
“At a time when your roster is really strong and you’re a really good team, then you can start worrying about things on the back end. Right now, we’re going forward. We’re taking the best player and throwing them in there."
If you make a habit of taking lower-graded players, guys who don’t fit your scheme or don’t fit the culture of your team, you are going to end up still having needs because the guys you pick don’t work out and soon they are gone.
Does that mean that you might go through a few years when an area like the defensive line isn’t as strong as you’d like to be? Certainly, especially when a free agent signing you are counting on, a player like Stephen Paea, is a bust and is gone before the season starts.
The hope is that the stronger areas of the team can carry you through so you can win some games and remain competitive while the building of the team is in process. Clearly the Redskins knew that they would still have work to do on the defense going into the season but believed that the offense, particularly the passing game, would carry them. So far, it hasn’t worked out. But would it necessarily have worked out better if they had taken DT Kenny Clark, the first D-lineman drafted after Dotson was picked, instead of the receiver? Possibly, but we’ll never know.
After all of the years that Redskins fans have been wishing their team had a real GM who wants to build the team the right way, well, here it is. It’s not all sunshine and fans can expect to scratch their heads on occasion wondering why McCloughan chose Player A, who plays a position that looks fine on the depth chart, instead of Player B, who plays a position of “need”.
There is no guarantee that McCloughan will build a Super Bowl winner in Washington. But he’s going to go about trying to do it his way and if you have a faint heart you might want to look the other way.
Tandler on Twitter
This led to wide open passing lanes to Dez and Cole Beasley. Why DAL run game was effective even though they only averaged 3.4/carry. https://t.co/C9GszyeDKH— Rich Tandler (@TandlerNBCS) September 20, 2016
In case you missed it
- D coming up short on money downs
- Cousins not measuring up
- NTK: Redskins will face three wides a lot vs. Giants
- Gruden says Norman could cover Beckham on every snap
- Redskins teammates on Josh Norman: He's got that kill switch
- Gruden on Cousins: He’s just stressing out a little bit too much
- Former Redskins LB takes jab at Washington
- Casserly ranks Cousins as NFCE's worst QB in 2016
- Kirk Cousins ranked as worst NFC East QB, says former GM
- Casserly is OK with Doctson pick, but agrees that DL is weak