It’s been three years.
Three years since I wrote an open letter to Mike Shanahan and the Redskins “Powers That Be” not to mortgage their future on Robert Griffin III.
As much as people wanted to presume I was never “down” on Griffin; he’s an incredible athlete, has an engaging personality, and seems to have a good grasp on what he wants to accomplish in the NFL. My concerns were always his priorities and how he managed them (Is he committed more to the playbook or the marketing campaign? Footwork or social media?).
Those concerns haven’t gone away now that he’s locked in contractually with the Redskins for the next two seasons.
What’s happened in Washington isn’t uncommon for a team that throws their future to the wind for immediate satisfaction. They won the NFC East in 2012 (although it took a seven game winning streak to do so), their roster began to deteriorate shortly after, and without high draft picks they were forced to rely on free agency and shrewd scouting in the late rounds to make up for it.
Did I mention Griffin was hurt for much of his second and third seasons?
This isn’t all on Griffin. As much as we want to pin all of a teams problems on the guy throwing the football the Redskins were, quite frankly, never a team in a position to trade all of their assets for Griffin in the first place.
Their defense was heading towards the bottom of the league before Griffin got there and has stayed there ever since. The offensive line is extremely reliant on Trent Williams and has been for the duration of his contract (which is up this year); that poses a problem if something happens and they need someone to fill in.
Without going into too much detail, I also was never a fan of either then head coach Mike Shanahan or current head coach Jay Gruden. Griffin’s style doesn’t match with Shanahan’s in any football universe and Jay Gruden has never struck me as a guy ready for a head coaching job.
Note: I’m starting the “Adam Gase for Redskins Head Coach” campaign now.
Now that the decision has been made to go forward with Griffin as their starter for the next two seasons my advice to Dan Snyder and the franchise is this: Act, build, and operate like you want him there.
The Redskins will have the fifth pick in the 2015 NFL Draft to begin with. They have Pro Bowl talent at running back, wide receiver, and depth at tight end. Trent Williams is there for another season and offensive lineman can be found in the middle rounds. Focusing your energy anywhere but defense would be a mistake; especially now that reports are coming out the Jaguars could draft Amari Cooper instead of Leonard Williams out of USC.
That, my friends, would be the gift of a lifetime for Washington.
This draft will tell you everything you need to know about Jay Gruden and his ability to build a team. So far, between publicly putting down the franchise quarterback and his confusing stubbornness to adapt to the personnel available to him, I’m not entirely confident in this going well.
He will have the chance to prove me wrong, though. Drafting anything but a solid defensive prospect first will dictate whether that is going to happen
There is defensive depth in this draft for the Redskins to take advantage of, the question is will they scout well enough to do that. For the sake of Griffin and his chances for success going forward let’s hope so.
Washington has picks 5, 38, 69, 105, 141, 182, and 222 in the 2015 NFL Draft
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