The numbers are frankly kind of ugly. Seven head coaches and 3 playoff appearances in a dozen seasons. Six losing campaigns in the last 9 years, including 3 consecutive last-places finishes. And a combined regular-season win-loss record of 86-106 since 1999.
Statistics like those above are usually reserved for other franchises, not for the once-proud Washington Redskins. This is the same organization that has been to 5 Super Bowls and won 3 of them, guided by Hall of Fame head coaches like George Allen and Joe Gibbs.
Such are the way of things for this team under its current regime. But the great thing about this current NFL is that things have a way of reversing themselves. And in some ways, maybe this current lockout will turn out to be a blessing in disguise for the ‘Skins.
Under Daniel Snyder, this organization is traditionally the busiest during free agency and has made a living out of bringing in name free agents and paying them big money. As evidenced by the numbers, too often this philosophy has not worked. In fact, over the last decade or so, two of the least-busiest off-seasons for this club were in 2005 and ’07, both playoff years and both under Hall of Famer Gibbs.
But perhaps there’s a change of philosophy on the horizon after all. Last week, the Redskins led all teams by selecting 12 players, the most by the franchise since 1985 when the draft was actually 12 rounds. In fact, the number equaled Washington’s combined total of the 2009 and’10 drafts. And just how much has this organization not relied on April’s traditional proceedings as of late? Under Snyder (who didn’t own the team in April of 1999), no team in the league selected fewer players than the ‘Skins from 2000-10 (69) and that included the Houston Texans, who didn’t enter the NFL until 2002.
Washington addressed early every area of the team last week, splitting its dozen choices equally between offense and defense. But Mike Shanahan and company used their first 2 picks to address the league’s next-to-last ranked defense and are hoping LB Ryan Kerrigan (Purdue) and DE Jarvis Jenkins (Clemson) can bolster a team that struggled to pressure the passer (29 sacks) and consistently force turnovers (10 in the last 9 games). Offensively, Shanahan and his braintrust added 3wide receivers and a pair of running backs to an attack that lacked punch last season
In an NFC East that really lacked a superior team last season, the Redskins are as capable of anyone of pulling off a worst to first. Remember than a year ago, the team was 4-3 and had wins over the playoff-bound Eagles and Bears and eventual Super Bowl champion Packers before the roof caved in. Of course, there is that little matter regarding a quarterback and it will be interesting to see which direction the team goes in.
In any case, youth may finally be served in the nation’s capital. For the sake of Redskins’ fans, they are certainly hoping so.