Whether by accident or design, the Redskins’ inability to snag Sanchez, combined with the dumb luck of finding Texas DE Brian Orakpo still available at the #13 spot, set the tone for a defensive-focused 2009 Draft. Combine the draft picks (DE, CB, LBX2) with the free agents (DT, CB) and you have a team that evidently believes the best way to help a struggling offense is to field a punishing defense.
But is this philosophy counter-intuitive?
We have all heard the old adage that “defense builds championships,” so acquiring a true pass rusher in Orakpo and a cornerback in Barnes to compensate for the loss of Shawn Springs makes sense. But isn’t this the same team that finished the 2008 season with the #4 defense in the league? And who also, by the way, signed two mega contracts for free agents Albert Haynesworth and DeAngelo Hall? Wasn’t the offense the biggest area of concern, particularly on the line of scrimmage? Does this all mean that Derrick Dockery is the answer for all of the Redskins offensive line woes?
Looking a bit deeper at some of the later round picks and the UFA signings is perplexing, as the Redskins picked up even more wide receivers and tight ends and ignored putting a major focus on the obvious need of acquiring more youth on the offensive line. They even added yet another QB in the mix in the form of signing UFA QB Chase Daniel, a Colt Brennan-esque player who, like Colt, was a Heisman finalist in 2007.
So what does this all mean?
If the front office had a proven track record of success, we would be calling this offseason unexpected, a bit controversial, but perhaps brilliant. If owner Daniel Snyder were a genius, his plan this offseason would have been to achieve success in 2009 in four simple steps:
1. Light a fire under his QB’s butt to finally live up to expectations by demonstrating that his job is not safe.
2. Reserve the option to further re-vamp the offense in 2010 with a richer college QB class and a potentially uncapped year with no limits on how much money Snyder can spend to address issues on the offense.
3. Create a dominating one-two punch in Haynesworth & Orakpo for the next 3-5 years in the most competitive division in the league.
4. Put his enthusiastic but inexperienced young coach in the hot seat for one more year, knowing that he will set his sights on one of the currently unemployed big fish (Shanahan, Cowher) if the team doesn’t win a playoff game.
But since owner Daniel Snyder has nothing to hang his hat on save signing a rogue’s gallery of aging free agents at above market rates to go along with a small handful of ugly playoff appearances over the last decade, we once again have to wonder whether or not 2009 will be another frustrating season for Redskins fans.