I think the Redskins are still rebuilding. I think they're still a year away. But can they win this year? Yeah, I think they can, if they get some rookie surprises. They've had some distractions with Santana Moss and Sean Taylor. You trade for Santana and he gets here and at first he's giving the same headaches that Laveranues Coles did.
You've got a lot of other players, like Jon Jansen and Chris Samuels -- multi-million dollar guys -- who are team players who want to be here to help this team win. Then you have a running back on record who's saying that if he had the opportunity to take time off he would, too. You breed a selfish mentality. Unless you cut that it out it affects your team at some point during the season. So how they do is still up in the air. In some ways they're in the same position they were in at this point last year because all they did was change out a few players and get the same type of player in return.
And then you have guys you brought in who are giving you a headache, like Taylor. It goes back to your evaluation process in the personnel department. It's hard for me to say Joe Gibbs would allow that kind of guy to come here knowing he wasn't a team player. Everything he's preached and taught is that he's looking for guys who are true Redskins, guys who want to be here and are committed to the offseason. Portis has been here, but we know where his heart is and then you bring in Santana who didn't want to come here until he got a new contract.
And then we go back to the starting safety, who wants a new contract. He knew that deal last year was poor, but he signed it. You've got to honor it. Your agent read the small and large print -- and you signed it! How do you invest in a player who has proven himself on the field, but not off the field? Because of that the Redskins are smart in handling this the way they are. I'm amazed at some of the things Sean can do on the field, but his off-field problems cause problems with his contract. He needs one more year to prove he's mature and ready to be a professional. When he proves that then they will ante up and pay the type of money he deserves.
Oh, and another thing: If I'm a player, here's what I'm thinking about them drafting a quarterback: Patrick, you're not going to be here long. Now, back to the other stuff.
Of course, the Redskins could go out and win every game. But I like to look at how other teams have done in the offseason, especially the draft. Dallas did well and the Cowboys should be great on defense this year. They've gotten bigger and more physical. Parcells is finally building that team down there the way he envisioned it. Dallas could give people fits. The Giants had a pretty good draft -- not great. And the Eagles keep loading up and continue to put fresh bullets in their gun.
What I liked is that Redskins are getting kids here to help the special teams. Now that Santana is settled, some great things can happen. They got a good center in Rabach and I think they'll be tough on the line this year. What Gibbs is trying to do is send a message that this will be a tough, hard-nosed team. We're gonna run it and pound it and be physical until you give in. That's why the draft went as it did. Can they do it week in and week out? No way, man. With all those collisions it'll be tough to keep them healthy. But they'd better get in good shape offensively.
But ultimately one of the most positive things to come out of the draft is that the Redskins finally went into an offseason not going out and signing a million free agents. They stayed with most of their picks and now they're building around some young guys -- who they know are there guys. Now they can add pieces to the puzzle each and every year. Gibbs has a vision for this team and he has good insight not only into what they're trying to do today, but where they're trying to go tomorrow. It only breeds success for the team. I'm excited about where they are. They're putting the pieces together. It won't happen this year, but they do have the potential to win more games than last year.
Eddie Mason's Take
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