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Skins Seahawks Stuck on Stupid

Sep 27, 2005, 2:34 AM EDT

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Skins, Seahawks Stuck on Stupid

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When one thinks of similar NFL teams, one rarely thinks of the Washington Redskins and Seattle Seahawks. One is East Coast smash-mouth, the other is West Coast, well, West Coast. For most of the past 30 years Seattle was AFC indoors on turf in the slick, new Kingdome, Washington was NFC, outside on grass and mud in ancient and rickety RFK Stadium.
In the past five years, however, the teams have grown more and more similar. Seattle moved to the NFC. They both now play on grass in new stadiums that are named for companies (Qwest and FedEx) that did not exist when the Seahawks were formed in 1976. They both have deep-pockets owners who seem to be willing to do anything to win. And they both, by vastly different methods, are stuck on stupid.
Since 2000 the Seahawks have had one coach, Mike Holmgren. The following year, Homgren inserted quarterback Mike Hasselbeck, running back Shaun Alexander and wide receiver Darrell Jackson into the regular lineup and since then that trio as started the lion’s share of games at their respective positions. They have built their roster largely thorough the draft. The result of such stability at key positions has been staggering mediocrity. Since 2000 they are 43-40 with an 0-2 playoff record.
At least they have a winning record. The Redskins have been worse by about a game and a half a year, going 36-46 with nary a whiff of the playoffs. Since 2000 they have been through four head coaches (no, Robiskie doesn’t count), seven different starting quarterbacks (with numerous shuffles among them), three primary running backs and four primary wide receivers. They have gone after free agents and they have made some major trades
To be sure, the Seahawks have taken a flyer in free agency from time to time with players such as defensive end Grant Wistrom. Hasselbeck came in a trade, albeit one that wasn’t noticed much at the time. And Washington has had some draftees such as Jon Jansen and Chris Samuels around since the turn of the century.
Two different paths, one result where most NFL teams measure success—not a single playoff win. What we have is one extreme, excessive stability and another, excessive instability. Neither has worked out very well.
Looking at the coaches, perhaps Seattle should have taken a closer look at Holmgrem’s Super Bowl ring and seen Bret Favre smiling back at them in one of the stones and let the coach go. A change of direction at the top might have gotten this talented team deep into the playoffs. Had the Redskins stuck with Marty Schottenheimer, they may have a few playoff appearances under their belts. Maybe Spurrier would have figured the pro game out by now. Maybe Norv would have. . .uh, nope, forget it, and the one about the Ballcoach as well. But Marty may have gotten it done.
At the running back spot, Washington had a choice to make a few years ago—either take a huge cap hit to keep Stephen Davis, one of the best running backs in the game, or let him go. They chose to let him go figuring, perhaps, what’s one more change in a sea of them.  This year, Seattle chose to take a big cap hit to keep Alexander, one of the best backs in the game, rather than let him go. Their knee jerk reaction towards stability dictated that they keep him. Through three games it seems like that was a good move. We’ll see in another 13 games and next offseason, when Alexander will be an unrestricted free agent, how such a commitment to stability works out in the long term.
The turmoil has continued for the Redskins even after the hiring of Joe Gibbs, who will coach this team for as long as he wants to, with the team firing both of its 2004 starting wide receivers and making a quarterback change 18 minutes into the season.
On Sunday, this clash of the wannabe titans will take place. Continuity vs. chaos, order vs. turmoil.
Dumb vs. dumber. We’ll see which is which

  1. Joe - Sep 29, 2005 at 2:02 PM

    The Jets apparently were looking to trade for Ramsey and got turned down. What do you guys think, keep him or trade him?

    Personally, I would trade him for a 1st rounder but probably nothing less.

  2. mbarnes202 - Sep 29, 2005 at 5:17 PM

    From John Clayton, I think, I inferred that scuttlebutt was that the starting point for negotiations would have been a second-day pick, and that the ‘Skins would have to negotiate up to a first-day pick. I think a first rounder would be out of the question.
    Remember, he has only 1 year left on his deal, so any team getting him will likely have to renegotiate to a long-term deal with Ramsey anyway. So teams will be reluctant to give away a draft pick ON TOP OF THAT. My guess/hope is that we could get a third rounder for him.
    I don’t think we can trade him before the deadline– we won’t know yet whether we’re out of the playoff race (I hope).

  3. Joe - Sep 29, 2005 at 6:15 PM

    True, I’m sure the Skins couldn’t fleece a 1st rounder out of anyone for Ramsey. And like you said, because of the contract they’d be trading a pick to rent the guy for a year. That said, the Jets might be looking at a house cleaning at the end of the season if they end up in the celler of that AFC East. And you never know what a GM will do when his job is on the line.

    I think Ramsey as the backup is more valuable to the Skins than a 3rd rounder in next years draft. What’s a 3rd rounder? Lloyd Harrison? Derrick “False Start” Dockery? The way the Skins run their draft, anyone taken after the 1st round probably is going to have marginal talent and will get minimal playing time.

  4. KYLE - Sep 29, 2005 at 6:28 PM

    The only front office dumb enough to give up a first rounder for Ramsey would be… well, the Skins front office. Four years in the league and he still panics when blitzed and makes bad decisions.

  5. mbarnes202 - Sep 30, 2005 at 1:35 PM

    That’s a good point. On the other hand, if the draft is such a gamble, you just want as many picks as you can get, hoping that some will pan out. Cooley of course was a third rounder, and if you look at say the Eagles, they’ve turned such 3rd rounders as Brian Westbrook and Duce Staley and Jeremiah Trotter into good players. Dallas got Witten and Nguyen in the third round.
    It’d be pretty good if we could get a third rounder, I think, for Ramsey.

  6. Scott - Sep 30, 2005 at 3:34 PM


    I agree with you that Schottenheimer would have gotten the ‘Skins into the playoffs with a bit more time. He’s done it with the Browns, Chiefs, and Chargers.

    That said, I have my doubts that the ‘Skins would have done much winning in the playoffs. Many a Schottenheimer team has done well in the regular season only to fail early in the playoffs (the Chargers are the most recent example of that unfortunate trend).

    What Seattle seems to have realized they need (and what Washington has yet to discover) is that they need a quality GM/VP of Player Personnel/football ops director separate from their head coach. Looking at the Super Bowl champions of the past, they all have a strong front office in common. The Redskins teams that won 3 of 4 Super Bowls over an 8-year stretch are no exception.

  7. Joe - Sep 30, 2005 at 4:01 PM

    You’re right, Scott. But the problem is that there aren’t a lot of good GMs to be hired. The really good ones are already gainfully employed in New England, Philadelphia, and to a lesser extent Baltimore. So the Skins are in a position to either hire a bad GM or to be creative with their front office structure and hope it works.

    If you look at teams with non-elite GMs, I think you’ll agree that the results aren’t great. Matt Millen in Detroit, Jerry Angelo in Chicago, Bradway for NYJ, I could go on.

    So, while I agree with you that that’s the best structure, it only works if you can fill the position with someone good. Archives

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