The Lockout is Over

When looking at the title of this blog you must think I’m way behind the times, the lockout ended months ago, but while most people were following the NFL lockout, the contributors to Sports Daggers were involved in a lockout of our own.  Fear not, the lockout has been lifted, and the blogs will resume at a not so rapid pace.

Even though Dave and I are both life long Redskins fans, we normally don’t see eye to eye on most things Redskins.  He wrote a blog the other day that takes a quick look at the organization as a whole, and I have to say, I agree with almost all of it.  Enjoy his thoughts, and keep an eye out for a piece I’m putting together that will be finalized after the complete and final roster is determined.

Redskins State of the Union

With one game left in the pre-season, we can all see the light at the end of the tunnel.  Week 1 of the regular season is in sight, and this is the time of year when everyone… EVERYONE… still has hope.  Over the past 20 years, the NFL has morphed into a league where dynasties are virtually extinct and any team has the capability to rise to the top in any given year.  The advent of free agency, stricter salary cap rules, expansion, and roster limits that cannot withstand the recent rash of (diagnosed) injuries have all contributed to the lack of consistency at the top and frankly, the increasing mediocrity across the league.  In the 19 years since 1991 (the year of the Redskins’ last Super Bowl victory), 12 different teams have won a Super Bowl, 22 different teams have made a Super Bowl appearance, and 27 (of 32) have at least taken the field for a Conference Championship game.

The five teams that have ordered pizza for ALL of those Championship games?

The Cincinnati Bengals & Detroit Lions (two perennial losers), the Cleveland Browns & Houston Texans (two teams that haven’t EXISTED for the full 19 years), and… you guessed it… the Washington Redskins.

Thinking big picture, that’s hard to believe.  But for those of us that have followed the Redskins day-in and day-out, we’ve seen the endless cache of front office-futility for ourselves and could not be less surprised.  After Super Bowl XXVI, the Redskins’ roster deteriorated quickly due to age, injuries, and underwhelming draft picks (see: Howard, Desmond).  Which was followed by the sale of the franchise to a young, wealthy wanna-be that had less business making personnel decisions for a professional football team than I have entering a dunk contest (FYI: I’m white, 5’11”… and white).  This new ownership led to more-than-a-decade’s worth of ambling, inconsistent, and sometimes downright insane, decision-making.  Through every trade, free agent signing, or coaching change there was a lingering cloud that followed.  There was a sense that no matter what changes took place, there was no actual progress being made.  Despite any apparent step forward, there was a feeling of impending disappointment.

Enter Mike Shanahan and Bruce Allen.  In only 20 months, the current Head Coach and General Manager have stripped the roster, stockpiled draft picks, and instilled the sense of a real foundation for the franchise.  The talent cupboard is admittedly depleted.  But there is a distinct aura of positivity, exuberance, and direction.

The most successful franchises over the last 19 years have been the Steelers, Patriots, Packers, Colts, and Eagles; and despite the aforementioned introduction of free agency and salary cap rules, the blueprint for long-term success in the NFL has not changed. The common thread between all those teams is a foundation.  A foundation built through continuity… continuity within the roster, within the coaching staff, and within the front office.

Now, Coach Shanahan and Bruce Allen have only just begun to lay the groundwork for the future, but in order to build anything you have to start at the base, and for the first time in nearly two decades, the Washington Redskins appear to have found solid footing.

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~ by tuben4 on August 29, 2011.

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