I am trying to remember the last time thee was as much hysteria over a fourth-round draft pick as there has been over the Redskins selection of Kirk Cousins. I cant. I honestly believe that Mike Shanahan would have been under less fire if he has just passed on the pick and not taken a player there at all.A multitude of different arguments agains the pick have been made. Some, such as saying that the Redskins could better have used the pick on another area of need, are debatable. Others, like Skip Bayless inserting a racial component into the pick, are just hysterical and stupid.The one I want to look at here is that this is a repeat of 1994, when the Redskins drafted Heath Shuler third overall and then came back and took Gus Frerotte in the seventh.Veteran John Friesz started the first four games of the season before Shuler was thrown into the fray against the Super Bowl champion Cowboys. The result was a highly predictable 34-7 beatdown. His grip on the starting job lasted for all of three games before Norv Turner, out of the blue, started Frerotte in the eighth game of the season against the Colts in Indianapolis.Frerottes performance in the 41-27 win earned him offensive player of the week honors. That created a controversy that lasted a year and a half and ended up with Shuler first being benched and then shipped to New Orleans for a mid-round draft pick.The conventional NFL wisdom is that picking a quarterback in the top five who busts is a death sentence for an NFL franchise. It is supposed to set a team back for years.But a funny thing happened to the Redskins when Shulers career cratered. They got better. While nobody was forgetting the glory days under Joe Gibbs, they were in contention for the playoffs until the last weekend of the season in both 1996 and 1997.They were able to remain competitive in large part because they had drafted bust insurance. They had a young quarterback ready to go when Shuler demonstrated that he couldnt get it done.The mistake wasnt drafting Frerotte, the mistake was drafting Shuler. Whether it was intentional or not, the Frerotte selection was a stroke of genius. Gus ended up starting games for seven different teams in his 15-year NFL career that ended just four years ago.Nobody thinks that Robert Griffin III will be another Shuler. But reality is that history says that there is a chance, perhaps as high as 50 percent, that RG3 will join Shuler on the scrap heap of NFL history.If the unthinkable happens, who would you rather have take the snaps, Rex Grossman or whatever other quarterback you could find on the street or someone like Cousins, who could provide a long-term solution?
Here is what you need to know on this Monday, July 16, 10 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp.
The five best quarterbacks the Redskins will face in 2018
This week we’ll be looking at the best of what the Redskins will face during the 2018 season. Today the quarterbacks are up. They are roughly ranked by Football Outsiders’ DVOA, although I did some juggling based on offseason moves and other factors.
Aaron Rodgers, Packers—An injury-plagued 2017 season actually pushed Rodgers near the middle of the pack in DVOA. But we know better than that. We have every expectation that he will be back throwing for around 4,000 yards, 35 touchdowns, and a half-dozen or so miracle comebacks. The Redskins had better hope they have a big lead late in their Week 3 game.
Drew Brees, Saints—The last time Brees failed to pass for over 4,000 yards in a season we were in the first year of the second term of George W. Bush and Joe Gibbs was in the second year of his comeback stint with the Redskins. Brees gives the Saints a chance in every game and nearly every situation (as the Redskins found out in New Orleans last season.
Matt Ryan, Falcons—The first $30 million man in NFL history is everything you want in a quarterback. He’s productive, with at least 4,000 passing yards every season since 2011. Ryan also is durable; he hasn’t missed a game this decade. The only thing he is missing is a ring but he didn’t call passes when the Falcons were set up for a clinching field goal and he wasn’t on the field when Tom Brady shredded the Falcons defense in the fourth quarter.
Carson Wentz, Eagles—The Redskins experienced their share of frustration in trying to deal with Wentz last year. They weren’t the only ones as Wentz was a prime MVP candidate before he missed the last three games and the playoffs with a torn ACL. I am not buying into the notion that there will be any quarterback controversy in Philly. When Wentz is healthy, Nick Foles will step aside.
Deshaun Watson, Texans—Perhaps the hype train was getting a little bit out of hand for the rookie last year. After all, the Texans were 3-3 in his six starts and he was on pace to throw 21 interceptions. Still, he should be a good one. His mobility is a huge asset and we have seen the problems that the Redskins have had dealing with quarterbacks who can scramble in the pocket and take off and run.
Best of the rest: Cam Newton, Panthers; Jameis Winston, Bucs; Marcus Mariota, Titans; Dak Prescott, Cowboys; Andrew Luck, Colts (if healthy)
Tandler on Twitter
Not to stir things up on a Sunday morning, but this is one thing that bothered me about Cousins. If you’re the starting QB and making $20 million + per year, you need to be the leader, period. You can either do it or you can’t. https://t.co/lzIxlGxyxU— Rich Tandler (@TandlerNBCS) July 15, 2018
Former Redskins kicker Chip Lohmiller, who outscored the entire Baltimore Colts team in the 1991 season, was born on this date in 1966.
—Training camp starts (7/26) 10
—Preseason opener @ Patriots (8/9) 24
—Roster cut to 53 (9/1) 47
The Redskins last played a game 197 days ago. They will open the 2018 NFL season at the Cardinals in 55 days.
In case you missed it
Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, July 15, 11 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp.
The best teams the Redskins will face in 2018
This week we’ll be looking at the best of what the Redskins will face during the 2018 season. Most of the focus will be on individuals such as quarterbacks and pass rushers, but we’re going to get started with the best teams on the schedule. These are roughly ranked by Football Outsiders’ DVOA, although I did some juggling based on offseason moves and other factors.
1. Eagles (13-3, Super Bowl champs)—They were fifth overall in DVOA and the second-ranked team on the schedule. But DVOA is calculated for the regular season only and you have to say that by the time the playoffs were over that the Eagles had taken their game up a few notches over everyone else. They haven’t lost much over the offseason, putting them at the top of the heap and the Redskins play them twice.
2. Saints (11-5, lost in divisional round)—New Orleans was the top team in DVOA in 2017. After a couple of mediocre seasons, the Saints have retooled, and they will make a push to get Drew Brees his second Super Bowl ring. They play in Week 5, which means that Mark Ingram will be back from his four-game suspension to open the season and he will be alongside Alvin Kamara in the Saints backfield. They both had over 100 yards from scrimmage when the teams played last year.
3. Jaguars (10-6, lost AFC title game)—They finally made the jump after failing for the last few years as the trendy preseason pick. It was no fluke as they outscored their opponents by 149 points on the season. Their quarterback situation is far from ideal with Blake Bortles, but they are strong enough defensively (first in defensive DVOA) to rely on their running game.
4. Panthers (11-5, lost in wild-card round)—They certainly have had the Redskins’ number, winning the last six matchups, a streak going back to 2009. This doesn’t seem to be one of those fluke situations. The Redskins simply have problems matching up with Cam Newton. Carolina also is solid defensively (No. 7 in DVOA).
5. Falcons (10-6, lost in divisional round)—Even though the Cowboys ranked a couple of notches ahead of the Falcons in DVOA, I’m putting the Falcons ahead of them. Dallas doesn’t have a good enough defense to win with their running game. I’ve always been a big Matt Ryan fan and a lot more people would be too if he hadn’t been victimized by poor defense and bad play calling in the Super Bowl a couple of years ago. Add in Julio Jones and their running backs and you have a scary offense. Defensively they are not that good but I still like their unit better than that of the Cowboys.
Rest of top 10:
6. Packers—Almost put them ahead of Falcons, their DVOA suffered last year with Rodgers out.
7. Cowboys—Even with problems on D, still have the Redskins’ number.
8. Texans—Way down the DVOA rankings last year but they will the tough with J.J. Watt and Deshaun Watson back.
9. Titans—I’m not sure if they’re ready to take the next step up but they will be hard to beat.
10. Bucs—The bolstered a defense that already with tough with Jason Pierre-Paul and Vita Vea.
Tandler on Instagram
—Training camp starts (7/26) 11
—Preseason opener @ Patriots (8/9) 25
—Roster cut to 53 (9/1) 48
The Redskins last played a game 196 days ago. They will open the 2018 NFL season at the Cardinals in 56 days.
In case you missed it