It’s official – the word came down late Tuesday evening that former Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson will now join forces with Robert Griffin III in the D.C. area as they will both try to help the Redskins recover from a dismal 3-13 2013 season, and attempt to get them back to the playoffs and atop of the NFC East like they were the year before.
Yeah, about that…
Lately there have been some questions about Jackson’s character that have surfaced in light of him posing for pictures with known gang members. While these may seem like they should be a concern for Daniel Snyder for the time being, they pale in comparison to the problems that will likely be occurring by the end of October. Call me a Negative Nancy (Ease up on me a bit, I haven’t even had the surgery yet!) but I think that the assessment made by the blowhards at ESPN touting this move as a brilliant front office decision that is going to put them right back in the thick of the NFC playoff picture is totally incorrect. I think this for two reasons…
1) The Redskins were beyond terrible last year
I think that this has probably been the most under-discussed story of the offseason so far. With all of his endorsements and the gloss that comes with the marketing monster that is RGIII, everybody seems to have missed the point of how bad the Redskins really were in 2013. They weren’t simply “Oh, they went through a rough stretch” bad, they were “Hey, we’re going to go ahead and test this new guillotine on all of your family members while you watch with your eyes stapled open” bad. Their only three wins last year were against two AFC West teams that weren’t the Broncos, and a sloppy four point victory against the Bears – who were starting a backup QB in that one. In essence, last year’s Redskins were a few touchdowns away from ending up as the second coming of the 2008 Detroit Lions. They might have lost a lot of close games, but the few games that they did win weren’t convincing at all. The fact that they were in the middle of the league in most categories is a tad misleading (I’ll get to that in my next point) and winners don’t finish four games back of the 7-9 New York Giants when all of the vacation tickets are booked. To put it simply, there are no excuses.
Thinking that DeSean Jackson is going to reverse the win-loss columns is a bit of a tall order. He is immensely talented, and he is a game changer. I don’t have a problem admitting either one of those things, but I would also point this out as well – He’s not a season changer because very few wide receivers are, especially when the previous season was as poor as Washington’s was. Only the true legends at the position are actual season changers, and even then they need one other key element in place…
2) He still has to get the ball in order to be effective
RGIII’s first year in the league created very lofty expectations for what the rest of his career was supposed to look like. He will probably not run the ball as much as he did during his first regular season, but the Redskins are still a running team. They will expand the way their gameplan operates slightly (both with Jackson coming to town as well as a new coach) but they certainly aren’t going to turn into the Daunte Culpepper and Randy Moss era Minnesota Vikings by any means.
This means that there could be a slight disagreement between a coaching staff that wants to assert their dominance and a guy who has the reputation for being a bit of a diva at times. One receiver can only do so much, especially if that receiver is only 5 foot eleven with heels on. You can’t run a reverse on every goddamn play, and Griffin is going to have to get him the ball an awful lot or there could be a lot of complaining going on before November is underway.
Robert Griffin the Third is going to need to make some pretty drastic changes in the current quarterback he plays in real life in order to make that happen, and in turn make a guy like Jackson happy.
Other points of interest
It should also probably be mentioned that we’re talking about a very hungry guy who almost made it to the second round of the NFC playoffs last year now going to a team that is a sure-fire bottom feeder in the Redskins. He doesn’t want to be a loser and it would be hard to sell me on the idea that the Redskins are anything but that. They definitely aren’t a .500 team again yet, and I would assume the offense will continue to center around Alfred Morris and that running game. And then you have to figure in the fact that Santana Moss isn’t getting any younger, along with the sad reality that their defense didn’t hold a single team under twenty points all year long.
To make a long story short, this isn’t exactly the pathway to the promised land that some writers are stating it’s going to be. There are a lot of other factors that will have to come into play in order for the Redskins to be successful again, and this is simply one step in the right direction.
But it could just as easily become a disaster…