I am not at all a fan of Dan Snyder, owner of the Washington Redskins. I have always found it funny how when he first bought the team, he also tried to buy a team. It never quite worked out.
Now Danny boy has shelled out a $100 million contract to the best defense tackle in football in Albert Haynesworth, and another $54 million to cornerback DeAngelo Hall.
Was this a smart move? I’m not sure. Without a doubt these signings make the Redskins a very formidable defensive team next year. The question will be, now that Haynesworth is fat and happy, in more ways than one, will he continue to put up the kind of effort that made him one of the most dominant defensive players in the NFL last year? This guy has a lot of emotional baggage so I am not so sure. If he does, he will make Jason Taylor relevant again. Taylor looked to be on his last leg, literally, last year. Even before he was injured he was not creating the kind of pressure on the quarterback that the Redskins were hoping for. By taking up multiple blockers on the line of scrimmage, Haynesworth could have a big impact on not just Taylor’s performance but the entire defense.
I have always liked DeAngelo Hall, even though he too is a bit of a head case. During his years in Atlanta I considered him one of the top cornerbacks in the league, even though he didn’t always get the recognition he deserved. In Oakland he was often criticized for being undisciplined and out of position. As a nickel and dime defense back for the Redskins last year I thought he was a real difference maker. Hall has the potential to be a very solid starter for the Redskins next year. And he has always had a nose for the ball and turnovers. With Haynesworth on the line helping get pressure on the quarterback will just make Hall and the rest of the defensive backs even better.
If Haynesworth plays like he did last year, the Redskins should have one of the best defenses in the league next year.
But what about the offense? With that kind of money doled out to the defensive side of the ball that does not leave a lot of room for signing impact offensive players. And offense is where the Redskins need the most help.
First it’s clear that Jason Campbell is the man at quarterback. But I am starting to believe that Campbell is just not going to progress a lot further than he is now. He is, at best, an average quarterback. Yes, I know the offensive line did not play well and his receivers let him down. But that gets to my next point.
If Campbell is going to succeed at quarterback he needs two things, better protection at the line of scrimmage and better receivers. As much as I love Santana Moss, the last two years he’s only showed flashes of being the big play receiver he once was and has constantly battled hamstring injuries. I am starting to wonder if his better days are behind him. I have never considered Antwan Randle-el more than a number three receiver. And the Redskins draft picks at receiver and tight end last year, Devin Thomas, Malcolm Kelly, and Fred Davis were all but useless last year. Thomas has potential but seems lazy and doesn’t get it. Kelly I think will be a bust. And Davis could be a solid contributor, but again, all these guys seem to be real slackers.
Then you have the aging Chris Samuels who is not nearly as good as he was a few years ago and should retire soon. Jon Jansen is always hurt and I suspect will be cut. Stephon Heyer, the young left tackle out of Maryland, was benched and the struggled in the last half of the season. The offensive line needs some help.
And finally, while Clinton Portis is an excellent running back and the best offensive player on the team he always ends up dinged up and less effective at the end of the year. The Redskins need to find a back that can reduce the workload for Portis to keep him fresh throughout the season.
So what do I expect from the Redskins next year? An excellent defense that keeps them in games and a streaky offense that just might let them get into the playoffs. But I don’t expect big things from the team as a whole because I just don’t see the offense being good enough or consistent enough to carry them much beyond one playoff game.
But if the Redskins’ history under Snyder continues, Haynesworth will tank it while enjoying his new found riches and the Redskins will be sitting at home in the postseason, as usual.