If you look around the internet you see many analysts praising the Redskins’ draft. I would have been ecstatic if one of my high school report cards came back like the draft grades the Redskins have received.
SB Nation and USA Today both gave them an A-minus. Rob Rang of CBS Sports wasn’t quite as impressed but you should be able to win games with players from a B-graded draft. I went with a B-plus. There may have been a contrarian or two out there giving them a C but most of the reviews were positive.
Hit the rewind button to about eight weeks ago, to March 9. After about a week of speculation, Scot McCloughan was fired as the team’s general manager. The organization was being called a dysfunctional clown show and a GIF of a dumpster fire was a common attachment to tweets about the team.
But life went on at Redskins Park. They checked a lot of boxes in free agency, signing two defensive linemen, a safety, linebacker Zach Brown, and receiver Terrelle Pryor. The building of the defense continued during the draft with the acquisitions of DL Jonathan Allen, OLB Ryan Anderson, and CB Fabian Moreau. The contracts for the free agent acquisitions were reasonable and they got solid value for most of these draft picks.
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There was nothing dysfunctional about the process. We will see how things work out on the field, which is what really matters. But taking an objective look at it, it appears to be a carefully thought out and well-executed offseason personnel plan.
Sometime in the next few weeks the Redskins will name a new general manager. Perhaps it will be Scott Campbell, the current director of college scouting who has been working in the personnel side of the NFL for 30 years, including 16 years with the Redskins. It could be Doug Williams, who has been involved in both coaching and personnel in the 30 years since he was a Super Bowl hero for the Redskins.
Perhaps hiring from within is not ideal. While Campbell and Williams are both sharp and good at their jobs, it isn’t like either name comes up when another team is looking to interview GM candidates. The Redskins may be better served by casting a wider net in their general manager search.
Still, if the search turns out as expected, Campbell or Williams would be an acceptable general manager. The hiring of either would not scream dysfunction, just that they could do better.
So, has the dumpster fire been put out? While the correct answer is yes, there is no assurance that (to mix in another metaphor here) the train will stay on the tracks.
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We’ve see this all before. Marty Schottenheimer had a strong finish in 2001 only to be fired after one season on the job. Joe Gibbs had a bumpy four-year second run that ended abruptly with his second retirement. Mike Shanahan was in the process of trying to patiently assemble a winning program until the RG3 trade blew things up. There has been some semblance of stability with Jay Gruden entering his fourth year as coach but that was marred by the ugly McCloughan dismissal in March.
There always seems to be plenty of fuel in the dumpster just waiting for an ignition spark.
Enjoy it while you can, Redskins fans. There is a glimmer of hope on the coaching front. There will be stability long enough to build a team that can make a playoff run or two. Maybe the past won’t repeat itself but it’s up to you to determine how much hope you want to invest in that possibility.