The Scarlet & Black

The Student News Site of Grinnell College

The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

McNabb trade symptom of Redskins’ ‘Maddenitis’

Most football fans will tell you how dearly they miss the game during the spring and the summer and how they can’t wait for the start of the upcoming NFL season. However, I am not one of those football fans. Quite the contrary, actually, as a die-hard Washington Redskins fan, I love the offseason.
You know that old saying about March weather, “In like a lion, out like a lamb?” Well, the Redskins approach the offseason in the exact opposite fashion. They come into the offseason timid and demoralized after their poor showing on the field that year, then they offer a few ridiculously fat contracts to a few aging superstars, and by the end of the offseason the Redskins look like Super Bowl contenders. If they gave out smaller, plastic replicas of the Vince Lombardi trophy for “winning” the offseason, the Redskins would actually have a need for a trophy case. Okay, I’m exaggerating—the Redskins have won five league championships (three of which were Super Bowls), five conference championships and 13 division championships since their inception in 1932. Do you know when the most recent of these championships was won, though? Eleven years ago, when the Redskins took advantage of a weak NFC East to capture their first division title in eight years. Some quick math will verify what you already know: the Redskins haven’t done squat in nearly two decades. In other words, the Redskins haven’t done squat in my lifetime, which is funny. Not that I’m bitter or anything.
Why is it, then, that the perennial offseason champs fail to convert their big free-agent signings into wins? Well, losing seasons are the result conglomeration of issues including bad coaching, injuries to key players and playing in an extremely tough division. However, I am going to simplify things and blame it all on the owner of the Redskins, Dan Snyder. Snyder has what I like to call Maddenitis. It’s in the late stages too, which is unfortunate, because there’s a cure if you catch it early enough. Maddenitis is a debilitating disease, mostly affecting the general managers and owners of NFL franchises, that causes the afflicted to believe that assembling a roster chock-full of highly-paid superstars will deliver a championship. The name of the affliction comes from the Madden series of football video games in which one can create-a-team, stack the team with all-pro players, and then cruise to several Super Bowl victories, leaving a multitude of artificial intelligence opponents in his or her wake.
But this is the real world, not your mother’s basement where anyone can win in any sport. For one, players don’t always live up to their expectations, a fact I know all too well from watching the likes of Albert Haynesworth, Deion Sanders, Dana Stubblefield, Jeremiah Trotter, Jeff George and Adam Archuleta crash and burn in different positions once arriving in D.C. Second, and most important, overall team depth wins championships, not singular superstars. There are 22 positions on a football team—therefore, most teams are likely to have multiple areas of need when heading into an offseason. By signing one big-name player at one position, a team limits the amount of money available to sign players at other positions of need. The 2009 Redskins are a perfect example—coming into the offseason the team’s areas of need included offensive line and defensive line. The Redskins made a splash when they signed all-pro defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth to a $100 million contract. The Redskins then used their first round draft pick to select standout defensive end Brian Orakpo from Texas. Well, those signings went great—Haynesworth started to show glimpses of dominance near the end of the season and Orakpo made the Pro Bowl. There was one downfall to these signings though –we only won four bleeping games because we couldn’t score any points because our quarterback had the living crap kicked out of him on a weekly basis because we had no offensive line to speak of. I’m not bitter about it, though.
You would think that Dan Snyder would have learned his lesson by now. We even brought in a new GM and a multiple Super Bowl Champion head coach this offseason that was supposed to prevent the Redskins from going after yet another aging superstar that could set the team back another 5-10 years. Yet, I found myself unsurprised when I read that the Skins had traded with the Philadelphia Eagles to obtain quarterback Donovan McNabb. I’ve watched McNabb, 33, play since he was drafted out of Syracuse in 1999 (not coincidentally, the last time the Redskins won the NFC East). I’ve seen him rip out the hearts of Redskins fans time-and-time again, and I am ecstatic that a proven quarterback will suit up in the burgundy and gold in 2010. I did not like the trade, though. I like the part that means that we don’t have to face McNabb twice a year. However, I think this move reeks of Snyder’s Maddenitis flaring up again.
Sure, quarterback was definitely an area of concern for the Redskins entering the offseason. However, offensive line is an even bigger area of concern, and that has not been addressed. Even if the Redskins draft Russell Okung or Trent Williams, the top two offensive line prospects in the draft, with their first round pick, that’s still only addressing one of five positions on the line. Unfortunately, this is a weak year for offensive linemen in the free agent market. However, it is an unusually strong year for offensive linemen in the NFL Draft. The McNabb trade sent our second-round pick in this year’s draft and a conditional third or fourth-round pick in next year’s draft to the Eagles. And in case you’re not up on current trends in the NFL Draft, it just so happens that the second, third and fourth rounds are when the best offensive linemen are actually drafted. I don’t care how good Donovan McNabb is—no quarterback is leading the Redskins to the playoffs if he is laying on his back the whole game.
I said earlier that depth is the key to winning a championship in the NFL. Depth is achieved through spending money wisely and correctly evaluating the risks and potential rewards of every transaction—it is achieved through finding solid players in the later rounds of the draft that will help the team for years to come, it is achieved through patience. When it comes to the Washington Redskins, my thoughts and feelings can be summarized in one phrase—I am impatient for patience.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover
Donate to The Scarlet & Black
Our Goal

Comments (0)

All The Scarlet & Black Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *