only 6 of our 22 starters are above-average players. I'm a realist, I understand it's simply not possible to have the best players at every position. However, our biggest deficits are at the most important positions.
"Our best young lineman left via FA and I understand he would have cost a mint this year, but how often do you see teams like the Patriots, Eagles, and Ravens let good young talent ever reach unrestricted free agency? [Emphasis mine] Any good GM would have seen that Dockery had started for us from day 1 of his career and that agile, young, durable, 335- pound linemen don't grow on trees and would have re-signed him before last season to a good extension for a reasonable figure. And let's not forget the utter lack of depth behind our starters for the last 3 years and the still lack of good young lineman being groomed to start one day."
Boren could have added that even if Dockery can be replaced by the likes of Todd Wade, we are(I am) invested in Dockery. He grew up on the team. We saw him grow. Doc's our guard. He belongs here. Why couldn't some of Brandon Lloyd's money have been thrown his way two years ago?
Boren concludes with
I cannot say it any simpler, we are a below average team and it is time we set our expectations accordingly. I am hoping for an 8-8 or 9-7 season.
Blah, blah, blah and yada yada yada. Excellent points, if a tad pessimistic, made many times before and falling on deaf ears where it counts.
The fan base hoped that Joe Gibbs would turn that wrong-headed approach around. He brought in some stalwarts in 2004 via the draft (Sean Taylor), free agents (Marcus Washington) and trade (Clinton Portis). In 2005, he traded for Santana Moss - a big hit that was - and drafted Jason Campbell and Carlos Rogers. But, 2006 brought excesses too painful to recall; evidence that Gibbs bit the fruit of the poisoned tree.
This year, in explaining why the Redskins did not draft a defensive lineman, the presidential coach said something about how better coverage would improve the pass rush by forcing the quarterback to hold the ball longer. That shows how much I know. I thought the idea was to pressure the QB to throw the ball sooner, before he was ready, to force mistakes. Give a QB more time, and they will make a big play. With today's timed offenses, maybe holding the ball longer is what you want. We'll see.
I'll tell you this. Gibb's "hold the ball longer" statement is Nixonian and Clintonesque in its breadth. You know the drill, "I am not a crook" and "I did not sleep with that woman." If Landry and Smoot and Fletcher-Baker don't lead to an improved pass rush this season, Gibbs could be another president hounded from office by a phrase.
Gibbs stands in good with The Lord. God, I hope that doesn't happen to him.
Photo: The Washington Post>