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Our REAL Problem?

By Mark Solway | October 23rd, 2006

Well, I talked to CLL after the game and he brought up something interesting that kind of clarified what the team’s problem may be. He mentioned how Brunell had less of a receiving corps last season but produced under pressure in Joe Gibbs’ system. This offseason, coming off of a playoff season using HIS system I might add, Joe decided to relinquish his playcalling duties on offense and hand the reins over to Al Saunders. Saunders, known throughout the league as an offensive genius and a great coach, brought in a complicated, yet successful, system involving the now infamous “700-page playbook.” Coming into the 2006 offseason, we needed a receiver (maybe two, which was stretching it) as a support system to go along with Santana Moss. Well, we stretched it and got two in Lloyd and Randle El. Well, we stretched it. Until the last two weeks, Lloyd had been seldom used but has produced as of late as has Randle El. That being said, I believe that bringing in Saunders was the biggest mistake of the offseason. I am in no way saying Saunders is not a great coach. He is. But his acquistion was NOT needed. At least not here in D.C. His acquistion was needed for a team in transistion and a direction change. The Redskins just needed some minor tinks, which they got in Lloyd and Randle El. I feel the biggest problem is that the offense is failing at trying to grasp so much information and perform his complicated offense. Had they (Randle El and Lloyd) been performing in Gibbs’ system, I think it would have been easier for them to fit in considering the REST of the offense would already know the system and not be starting over like a team in transition trying to start from square one. The Redskins were coming off of great season with a roster that had GREAT chemistry and a regular season ending with five straight wins. A precident was set. The pieces were set in place. Another mistake, which has been pointed out by Chris since the offseason, was not retaining safety Ryan Clark. Clark’s story was a great one. An overachiever coming from nowhere to start at safety alongside Sean Taylor. When it came time for him to get paid, the Redskins didn’t step up. Instead, they opted to give the highest contract to a safety (at the time) to Adam Archuleta, who unlike Clark during his time in burgundy and gold, has underachieved IMMENSELY, especially when you consider his high price tag. Giving up big plays, not being in position. It’s all been the same for Archuleta this year. He has so far been a huge bust and it doesn’t appear to be changing anytime soon. What was the reasoning behind Redskins management when making this move? “Why give one of our own a decent raise and possibly watch him NOT live up to expectations when we can just pay top dollar to a big name and just cut him in a couple years if he doesn’t perform?” Clark wanted more than the Redskins would offer, which led to him signing with Pittsburgh. But Clark’s raise would have been exceptionally less than the money handed out to Archuleta. My point is that we had something special in place in 2005 and just added too many toys to the toy box in 2006. I used to like this idea of top-tier free agents coming to the Redskins but not anymore. It’s the criteria this organization has been living by ever since Dan Snyder took over and destroyed a playoff team from 1999 by overhauling the team a season later. Maybe the front office sees how the few draft picks that we have had pay off for us look at the team when it’s time for their pay day after their rookie contracts run up and say to themselves “well, they paid that free agent X amount of dollars, why can’t they pay me?” and feels that just by that notion, the draft picks just don’t work out. Maybe we wouldn’t have this problem if they actually KEPT their own players and tried to maintain some sort of continuity. It’s just a product of the Free Agency Monster created by Daniel Snyder since his purchase of the team in 1999. My brother-in-law is a Bears fan and right now I envy the position they’re in and how they’ve gotten to be 6-0. They have a dominating defense, which for the exception of Adewale Ogunleye, was BUILT THROUGH THE DRAFT. Their offense had been horrible for years so they tinkered through free agency year after year at positions they needed such as o-line, running back, and receiver. But keep in mind that along with those free agents comes depth involving talented players acquired through the draft. I guess I have three points to make. 1. Hiring Saunders was unnecessary and was overkill. His system has been a detriment to the team because it was unnecessary to learn a WHOLE NEW system just months after making the playoffs. I believe that the main problem with the offense this season is trying to learn a whole new system and starting from scratch like a scrub team. 2. Retaining our own should be a priority in the front office fron now on. Ladell Betts is the first person to come to mind considering he is a free agent at the end of the year. 3. BUILD THROUGH THE DRAFT and STOP building through free agency. CONTINUITY is the key and yearly turnover does the exact opposite of building continuity. But of course, hindsight is 20/20 after five losses in seven…

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