Guest Author:Kali McIver (@kmproduces34)
I have been confused all day trying to figure out these Redskins fans and media defense of the Mike Shanahan era.Friends,people in the media I respect keep talking about how at least it’s not as bad as the Steve Spurrier and Jim Zorn years.
Finally it hit me. Redskin’s fans are in what can only be described as a destructive relationship.Follow me on this one.The Zorn and Spurrier years are a boyfriend who didn’t have a job AND stole from your purse.Now the Shanahan years is the boyfriend who doesn’t have a job but at least he doesn’t steal from your purse.Think about that for a moment.We are celebrating Shanahan because he doesn’t steal from your purse.We as Redskins fans have to have a higher standard than that.
Let’s take a look at where this team really stands when you compare them against the two best teams currently in the NFC:Seattle and San Francisco.Off the top of my head I honestly can think of maybe one or 2 players on our defense that MAY…MAY start for San Francisco and Seattle.Maybe DeAngelo Hall and Barry Cofield could be in the rotation for those teams. And on offense we can go back and forth about RG3, Kapernick and Wilson and as a Redskins fan I’m sure you know where I side.And the same discussion could be had about Alfred Morris, Marshawn Lynch and Frank Gore.I would side with Morris because he is younger but if I needed 2 yards right now, I think Gore and Lynch would get the nod.
But let me take a position by position breakdown of how much better we are thanks to the Shanahan years in comparison to Seattle and San Francisco, the teams who you will have to compete and beat over the next few years, if you want to get to where we as Redskins fans expect.
Quarterback – We all hope that RG3 will recover and return to his rookie year form, but at this point how certain can we be.I personally believe in the kid and believe he will do everything he can to get better. But on his way out the door Shanahan did everything he could to try and ruin the kid for the future. Do we honestly think that Tom Brady and Robert Kraft don’t end up at the same dinners and parties in Boston? Do we believe that the owner of the team and quarterback in other cities don’t have a different relationship than with any other player? For example the GM of the Denver Broncos is John Elway.Did he get that job because he had worked his way up the ladder? No, he got that job because he and Pat Bowlen probably had a relationship the whole time Elway was there.And why wouldn’t these owners have some kind of relationship with their highest paid player.The thing that was always confusing to me was,say,RG3 and Snyder hung out everyday and went to the Park on 14th and hung out at Ben’s Chili Bowl.Explain to me how that accounts for statistically the 2nd worst special teams in league history and a defense that gave up the most points in Redskins history.That hypothetical trip to Ben’s Chili Bowl is definitely ‘the reason’ for the poor performance of the special teams and defense.
Running Back – Again I would take Morris long term so I will give Shanahan a plus for that draft pick.Morris was a great find and credit has to be given where due.
Offensive Line – Who on this current offensive line do you think you can count on besides Trent Williams to block Aldon Smith, Justin Smith, Cliff Avril and Bruce Irvin on 3rd and 10 on a must have drive late in the 4th quarter.This offensive line is not better than it was when Shanahan got here. To beat these teams we would probably need 3 or 4 new lineman just to be able to compete.The league always comes down to blocking and tackling.Do we think this current offensive line is equipped to handle the fronts of Seattle and San Francisco?
Tight End – We all love Jordan Reed and believe he can be a star.But until we see him healthy for a full year, can we say our tight end position is better off than when Cooley was in that position before Shanahan got here.
Wide Receiver – Okay, in a big playoff game our receivers are going to have to make plays against Richard Sherman, Eric Reid, Earl Thomas and Carlos Rogers? Please look at our current receiving corps and tell me, besides Pierre Garcon, who is going to make a play against any of those players.
So ,offensively, after 4 years of Shanahan we have RG3, Morris, Young, Williams, and Garcon.I’m putting a question mark by Jordan Reed for now.
Defensive Line – Barry Cofield is the only player that we are certain about. Jarvis Jenkins and Chris Baker have shown some flashes and Stephen Bowen is steady. But time and time again this year and the last 4 years when we need a pick, sack or pressure — for example, the 4th and 10 against Dallas — no one shows up. Good teams cause havoc with their front 4. San Fran and Seattle both create pressure with their front four.Was there ever a moment in the Shanahan era that you felt that way about out front four?
Linebackers – Thank you, London Fletcher, for your time as a Redskin. We appreciate the standard that you tried to set on defense. I think Perry Riley might be a player, but is he anywhere near the level of Patrick Willis, Bobby Wagner or Navarro Bowman? I don’t see it. And the same with Ryan Kerrigan. Love his effort and motor, but guys like Aldon Smith and Ahmad Brooks are constantly flashing on the field. We personally witnessed how unblockable they are by our offensive line on Monday Night Football.Hopefully we can keep Orakpo but again is he in the Aldon Smith, Ahmad Brooks category – I don’t think so!
Secondary – First I must apologize to Deangelo Hall. He is a better player the last couple of years than I gave him credit and I hope we re-sign him. But besides him and maybe Amerson who can cover Anquan Boldin and Percy Harvin.The safety position needs 2 new starters.Maybe Phillip Thomas is the answer at one position but who knows.
So right now, by my count, going into the next year after 4 years of Shanahan, we have RG3, Morris, Young, Garcon, Williams, Cofield and Kerrigan.Think about that: After 4 years, we have 7 players on our current roster who are above-average players in the league. We hope Amerson, Reed, Phillip Thomas, Gettis, Riley, and Hankerson grow into their roles but are we certain? And who from that bunch besides Reed, and possibly Amerson, do we expect to be above-average players?
I have to say it again: 7 above-average NFL players on a roster after 4 years in charge of all operations.We can’t count Hall and Orakpo because they might not be back.But even if you include them,there are 22 starters on your team and right now we have 6-8 above-average starters.So after 4 years we have maybe 35% of a good starting NFL quality lineup.Sorry, but I wont stay in the abusive relationship, and I’m glad that Snyder didn’t either.
There are coaches out there that will have a good job, take you out to dinner and treat you with the respect you deserve. But we can’t allow ‘just because it is a little better than the last’ to be the standard that we accept. If we go around and keep saying, ‘well, it was better,’ then what makes you think Dan Snyder will ever be forced to do better with his coaching selections? Because now all the next coach has to do is be better than 24-40. Let me write that again:we have respected media members defending a coach who was 24-40.Cool! So at that rate,as long as the next coach is 28-36, we should hold a parade for him down Pennsylvania Avenue.Redskins’ fans need to believe in ourselves and DEMAND that we deserve better than what we just had.