Redskins GM Scot McCloughan likes having a good defense but he believes that the game in about having an effective offense and you have to have a good quarterback to get that.
In fact, he likes a good quarterback three times as much as he likes a good defender.
“The thing about nowadays is way the season is set up and the way the game is set up, it’s about scoring points,” he said in an interview with Bleacher Report.
And to do that, you need a quarterback.
“If you have a productive guy, it helps everything and it proves out,” he said. “You look around this league and see the teams that are in the playoffs every year and look who the quarterbacks are. Look at the ones who win. It proves out.”
But what about the adage that “defense wins championships”?
“You’re going to play good defense,” he said. “That’s easy to fix. You just draft good football players. They can be a small guy, a big guy, as long as they can find the ball.”
Kirk Cousins is the Redskins’ quarterback and after having a breakout year in 2015 he was tagged as the Redskins’ franchise player. That gave him a guaranteed salary of $19.95 million. If he signs a long-term contract either prior to the July 15 deadline to do so this year or signs one next year he could average $20 million per year, perhaps more. Or they could hit him with the franchise tag again, a move that would cost just under $24 million for the 2017 season.
His salary has some worried about how the Redskins will be able to build a defense with Cousins taking up so much cap room. But McCloughan isn’t concerned, even though he said that he’s willing to “overpay” his quarterback.
“You’ll take a quarterback over three defensive players,” he said. “That’s just the way it is. No doubt about it.”
That statement will make some advocates of a strong defense cringe but it makes perfect sense. The quarterback handles the ball on every offensive snap. The offense has to flow through him. It’s great to have a blue chip defensive player but in many cases the opposing offense can game plan around him, by double teaming or running the offense away from a lineman or pass rusher or not throwing to where a particular defensive back is in coverage. Such workarounds help by limiting the offense but it’s not like handling the football on every single play like the quarterback does.
McCloughan is confident that as long as he drafts well he will be able to work around any salary cap issues. We will see how it works out.