I’ll be blunt. The Redskins are targeting USC quarterback Mark Sanchez in this weekend’s NFL Draft. This is dumb.
I don’t say that because Sanchez is a bad pick. In fact, he looks like a winner. Teams across the upper half of the first round – including the Rams at No. 2, the Seahawks at No. 4 and the Broncos at No. 12 – have the Trojans QB in their crosshairs and both of ESPN’s draft gurus, Todd McShay and Mel Kiper love his current skill and potential.
Rather, I say this because I’m not sure that Jason Campbell was a bad pick either. I say this because this is the sort of move the Redskins always make and which always blows up in their faces like 100 sticks of Acme dynamite.
I’m really not so sure Sanchez is even on the board if the Redskins had managed to claim two of three games against the lowly Rams, Bengals and 49ers and made the playoffs. Maybe then the Redskins wouldn’t be so tempted to keep making the same mistake – overreacting to one problem while entirely ignoring another.
Campbell was far from stellar last season, but he was not the Redskins’ biggest issue. If it appeared that way, it’s because the Burgundy and Gold’s biggest issue was closely linked to their quarterback’s struggles.
The problem with Campbell was two-fold: Rushed throws and poor decision-making. I don’t think those were a shortcoming on Campbell’s part, but rather the fault of an offensive line that put up about as much resistance as balsa wood against the opposing pass rush.
These are not The Hogs of yesteryear. The line is a patchwork group who has repeatedly proven injury-prone and ineffective. Yes, Campbell’s throws were rushed and decisions were bad. But that’s likely because a second and a half after taking the snap a 300-lb. lineman was in his grill trying to plant him in the ground like a flag pole.
And you know what makes this really bad? The Redskins ran a West Coast offense last year, which operates on short, quick passes. Campbell didn’t even have time enough to do that.
But come the offseason, the Redskins are trying everything to treat the symptom and not the sickness. Do they really think that Jay Cutler could operate better in those same conditions? Could a rookie?
But this is what the Redskins always do. They fixate on the tree and not the forest. Then they chop down the tree, plant a new one and get frustrated it’s not blossoming with Super Bowl rings a year later. What? You think that metaphor doesn’t work because rings don’t grow on trees? Well, it feels like the Redskins expect them to, especially when Dan Snyder sees his dollars as his own version of Miracle-Gro.
Last season, the pass rush was the problem. So, the Redskins traded a second-round pick for Jason Taylor. They got 3.5 sacks out of him. Before that, the problem was at wide receiver. So they brought in Antwaan Randle-El and Brandon Lloyd. Do I need to remind you all how well that worked?
If the Skins want Sanchez, they’re going to have to trade up to get him, possibly all the way to No. 2. That’s going to take a ton of picks the team needs to fix the bigger problem of its porous line. And even if they take Sanchez this year, he’s not going to start on Day 1.
So what happens if Campbell clicks this year after having more than a few months to learn yet another offense, as he did last season? What happens if he proves he is the answer? Campbell’s not old enough to need an understudy. Sanchez would be a waste.
Take someone else, a lineman, a defensive end, anyone and you’re adding to a team that barely missed the playoffs last season despite some serious flaws.
In my mind, that’s the smarter play, which is why I’m 100 percent certain the Redskins won’t do it.