Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

20 Dec 2009

ESPN: New Era for Redskins

For this week's ESPN MNF feature, our man J.I. Halsell takes a look at what Bruce Allen's management skills could mean for the Redskins -- especially if there's an uncapped 2010.

Posted by: J.I. Halsell on 20 Dec 2009

15 comments, Last at 03 May 2011, 2:08am by johny b


by drobviousso :: Mon, 12/21/2009 - 11:54pm

Do you know if there will be any changes to the scouting infrastructure for the skins?

by C (not verified) :: Tue, 12/22/2009 - 10:36am

The Redskins drafting hasn't been THAT bad, it's just the fact that they have less picks than other teams because they piss them away on bringing in the latest and greatest free agents.

Snyder has a huge imprint on that team that's the status quo until he proves otherwise.

by nicholasashank@... :: Tue, 12/22/2009 - 9:25pm

--Since O4, the Redskins have drafted better players with their first round picks than probably every other team besides maybe a couple. Say what you want about Vinny, but is there another team in the league that has done a better job with their first round picks than Sean Taylor, Carlos Rodgers, Jason Campbell, Laron Landry, Devin Thomas, Fred Davis, and Brian Orakpo? Maybe a couple have but it certainly isn't Bruce Allen and the Bucs... (and yes, keeping the picks is a whole other issue, just saying, Vinny nailed his first round picks and that's a pretty important job for a GM)-

Ok, I'm seriously tired of getting excited for Halsell's articles only to read them and learn nothing, there's got to be someone else who can write about contracts for FO. This sentence pretty much sums up the article:

"It remains to be seen how Allen and Schaffer will work together going forward, but from a cap management perspective, as the league enters the uncertainties of an uncapped year, Snyder's Redskins are in great hands. The challenge for Allen as he leads this front office is not the club's salary-cap management as much as it is the front office's ability to evaluate talent, particularly in the draft."

Right, so start the piece by announcing that there won't be a cap next year then spend the next four paragraphs discussing Allen's strengths in creating adjusted cap room with creative contracts. Of course, if there's no cap in 2010, than all that information is irrelevant to how Allen will do in an uncapped league, right? You could argue that you think there will be a cap in 2011 and at that point Allen's skills in this area would regain relevance, but that's never mentioned, just that you're guess is as good as anyone else's on whether or not there will be a cap. Nor is there any discussion about how Allen has done in evaluating talent, particularly in the draft. (The answer: he's horrible, and in terms of making the most out of his draft picks, particularly critical first rounders, he's not half the evaluator Cerrato was - look at the tape).

The next two paragraphs on Campbell and Portis are regurgitated, Halsell offers no new insight. The last paragraph is a throw away. I mean, I don't mean to get all English teachery, but this is simply bad writing and can't be considered professional level work product. I'm certain Football Outsiders, which is now reaching the prominance nationally that it most certainly deserves, can do a lot better.

by Bowl Game Anomaly :: Tue, 12/22/2009 - 10:42pm

I didn't read the article, but I have to point out that Thomas and Davis were drafted in the second round, not the first. This only strengthens your point (and Chris's above) that Cerrato's front office did well with the few picks he had, especially in the top 2 rounds (Rocky McIntosh was also a 2nd rounder). Cerrato's front office also had a knack for finding guys late in the draft who could contribute, even if they weren't stars.

I keep referring to "Cerrato's front office" because there is no way to know how much of the drafting was him and how much credit should go to the scouts, some or all of whom who may stick around. Certainly the late picks have to be credited to the scouts more than the GM. And while most of those high picks have worked out, Cerrato definitely has to be blamed for refusing to address the offensive line in any way. In his entire tenure with the Skins he's picked all of 1 OL in the top 2 rounds (Samuels in Cerrato's first year), and 2 in the 3rd. He's picked all of 1 DL in the top 2 rounds, and that's only if you count Orakpo as a DE even though he mostly plays LB, plus another 1 in the 3rd if you count Jeremy Jarmon who was a supplemental draft pick. Picking good players is scouting, but choosing which positions to draft is on the GM. It doesn't matter how successful your picks are if you totally ignore both lines.

by C (not verified) :: Wed, 12/23/2009 - 9:46am

There was a stat maybe last year, that the Redskins had the least draft picks in the NFL since 2000, and that was including the Houston Texans who missed a draft ( did they come in in 2001?) The stat was horrible regardless.

But their picks haven't been bad. Look at Horton in round 7. Of course I have to disagree with the Jason Campbell pick ( the one first round blunder as they traded up for him), but he is a decent backup quarterback.

Their problem isn't WHO they picked, it's the fact that they piss away picks on Brunell, Brandon Lloyd, Archuleta and other guys when they could have got them for free as free agents anyway. You don't waste 3rd, 4th, and 5th round picks. They counted on the radio and the Redskins wasted 7 or 8 such picks on bringing in other guys and the other guys weren't as good as they thought.

BGA is right too, you don't know if the GM is Stalin making the picks, or if he trusts his scouts, or how much impact the coach had etc. Did Gibbs want Campbell to play conservative 80's football, or did Vinny's team want to give him Campbell because he thought he would be a good fit for 1980's football?

I agree they should have addressed the O-Line, (probably with those mid round picks they wasted), but I won't fault them with the D-Line. They signed obvious starters in Cornelious Griffen, Andre Carter ( that's 50% of your line), and they just brought in Haynesworth. Plus they were getting decent play out of a later round draft pick at tackle.

Pissing away draft picks when they didn't have to, and over paying for free agents were problems. Did you hear what Laverneous Coles said about Moss when they were traded for each other. Something to the effect that he "earned it". Earned it as in getting paid Daniel Snyderbucks. Guys want to go to the Patriots to win a championship ( and they sometimes take the pay cut), guys want to go to Washington to "get paid".

by Bowl Game Anomaly :: Wed, 12/23/2009 - 12:26pm

All correct. (Although I don't think Archuleta cost any picks, I think he was a pure free agent.) The Redskins treated draft picks like those free coupons you get in the mail. "Oh, you want these? We probably weren't going to use them anyway." Meanwhile, to continue the analogy, smart GMs are carefully clipping and saving them. Then the Skins would go shop for groceries in some overpriced "gourmet" market while smart GMs go bargain hunting. All this would be fine if there was no cap, but when you consider that all the teams have the same limit on what they can spend, it becomes apparent how dumb the Skins' strategy has been.

by Devin Glad (not verified) :: Tue, 02/01/2011 - 5:27am

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by C (not verified) :: Thu, 12/24/2009 - 10:52am

Agreed, but the perception is that the Redskins have morons in the front office. Their PICKS have actually been pretty good ( I have to say besides Jason Campbell), but the WASTING of the picks is why nobody would say the Redskins have a good front office.

It's sort of funny, when you look at teams like the Lions, Raiders or other mismanaged teams, you laugh at the Charles Rodgers they drafted, and other stupid PICKS they've made. Washington has been a crappy front office for a totally atypical reason.

I'd love to point to the Heath Shuler's they'd drafted, but they've done pretty well as of late.

by Bowl Game Anomaly :: Fri, 12/25/2009 - 11:57am

Again, you're right on target. I hear people say the Skins are a bad drafting team and I shake my head. They don't come out with a lot of good players, but relative to the number of picks they have, they do pretty well. They have a low DYAR but a high DVOA, so to speak. The number of useful players the Skins have found in the 6th-7th rounds is quite impressive (Rock Cartwright in 2002, and then starting in 2006 they drafted Reed Doughty (16 starts), Kedric Golston (29 starts), H. B. Blades (good backup/special teamer), Kareem Moore (good backup/speacial teamer), Colt Brennan (promising QB/cult favorite), Chris Horton (15 starts), and Marko Mitchell (future star WR). I suspect few teams have found so many decent players in the last 2 rounds, and I'd put the Skins' 6th-7th round picks from 06-09 against any other teams'.

by C (not verified) :: Thu, 12/24/2009 - 10:52am

BGA, you are an Eagles guy right?

by Eddo :: Thu, 12/24/2009 - 1:25pm

I think he's a Redskins fan.

by Bowl Game Anomaly :: Fri, 12/25/2009 - 11:35am

Correct. I'm sure the confusion is due to the fact that I used to have the word "McNabb" in my name, but It's a reference to the Dave Lewin/Gil Brandt controversy and had nothing to do with the Eagles.

by Gus (not verified) :: Thu, 12/24/2009 - 8:41pm

I'd hardly consider Campbell a bad pick. He's played reasonably well with a pretty crappy receiving core, and he's having a pretty good year now that some of the younger receivers are showing some promise. It's detail work that the Redskins have been atrocious at. Campbell's fine.

by johny b (not verified) :: Tue, 05/03/2011 - 2:08am

ESPN is a great Sports channel... even their news are regularly updated...
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