With new general manager Scot McCloughan officially on board, the Redskins now have to shift their approach from quick fix to slow and steady solutions.
You can't fix what is irreparably broken. You have to solve the problem. To solve a colossal mess, you have to have a plan. A steady plan.
That's what the NFL draft provides an opportunity to do. It allows you to add dirt cheap, controllable young talent for a few years and build them the "Redskins way."
The approach that Scot McCloughan took in San Francisco and the one he assisted with in Seattle is the same one he was taught in Green Bay. It is the ONLY way. It is the only chance you have to sustain yourself.
You can use free agency to supplement. Do not use it to sustain you.
Because it is most recent and therefore relevant, let's take a look at how the Seattle Seahawks have been built under Pete Carroll and John Schneider, with McCloughan joining the Seahawks in July of 2010 and leaving in March of 2014 after their Super Bowl win.
I want to make it clear that McCloughan does not get credit or blame for all of these picks, but they are a part of his DNA that brought him to the Redskins. It does provide insight into his philosophy and thought process, because of his time contributing to the Seahawks and that Schneider has virtually the same thought process and philosophy.
The difference in Washington will be this. In Seattle, and the absolute same situation existed in San Francisco, McCloughan was drafting for defensive oriented head coaches. Clearly, a head coach that you work hand-in-hand with is going to at least influence you or lean towards their specialty . If you respect your head coach, I don't think it takes a genius to figure out that as an organization you might lean towards the head coaches specialty.
Most franchises will do this, even though it might make more sense to amp up the head coaches weakness or non specialty and let the head man then build his side of the ball with less resources.
When the Ravens hired Brian Billick, a bright offensive mind from Minnesota, they had a very good defense and wanted to improve their offense. Overall, it worked and the Ravens won a Super Bowl, but Billick's offense was never great.
The Colts had all of the offensive weapons somebody could possibly ask for and hired Tony Dungy, a defensive guru that couldn't find an offense in Tampa. That led to a Super Bowl.
Yet most teams do it the other way. A very fresh example would be the Bills hiring Rex Ryan despite having a tremendous defense already. Or if a new regime is built hand in hand (Seattle), where the general manager hires or starts fresh with the head coach, you can almost write it down that team will lean towards that coaches comfort zone.
Here, McCloughan inherits Jay Gruden, an offensive mind with a lot of resources already placed on that side of the ball. A unit that was nothing short of miserable in 2014 and quite honestly, a unit that has been disappointing in a lot of ways outside of 2012, no matter how many assets Washington invests.
Will the Redskins continue amping up the offense or will they focus on defense and hope that a better defensive group makes it easier for the offense?
If I could go inside the mind of Scot McCloughan, of course you are taking the BEST player available at the time, but If it is close and if there is an emphasis, I am investing in the defense.
During the last five drafts, the Redskins only used 16 of their 42 overall selections on the defensive side of the ball. Eight of those 16 picks were in the top four rounds of the draft or roughly the top 130 players available every year.
That means the Redskins had eight defensive selections in a pool of roughly 650 players offense and defense) since 2010. The law of averages say that is no way way to build or sustain. That's called survival at its thinnest.
By contrast, the Seattle Seahawks who are the defending Super Bowl champions and the favorite to win the title again, had 48 selections in the same period.
The amazing part of just the overall number comparison is the fact that the Seahawks had six more selections overall despite trading away their 2013 first round pick as part of a complex deal for Percy Harvin and also did not have a first round selection in 2014.
Of the 48 Seahawks' picks over the last five drafts, they invested 20 picks on offense and 28 on defense, with 22 picks out of their 48 coming in the top four rounds. Perhaps surprisingly, out of those 22 picks in the top four rounds of the draft, 12 of those selections were spent on the Seattle offense.
In 2012, the Seahawks had ten overall selections with eight of those ten choices coming on defense. They had five selections in this draft in the top four rounds, with three spent on defense. The Seahawks raked in Bruce Irvin, Bobby Wagner and Russell Wilson in this class.
In 2011, Seattle had nine overall selections with six coming on defense. They had four choices in the top four rounds, but only one on defense. This was the Richard Sherman draft.
The gaps was smaller in 2010, with the same nine overall choices, five coming on defense, with three of their selections in top four rounds, coming on defense. This was the Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor draft for Seattle, which has paid huge dividends.
Because the Redskins have spent so many picks on the quarterback position in the last five years (a total of seven including actual selections and trades), their amount of choices are much smaller and the disparity between offense and defense is just shy of a two to one ratio.
Yet they have very little to show for it.
The Redskins offense has put up yards, but scoring has been a significant issue because of red zone execution, third down struggles, sacks and turnovers.
In a nutshell, if you invest many more resources on one side of the ball than the other, that unit better be really good.
For the Redskins, it hasn't been anywhere close to good enough. For a long time, with very limited exception. No matter who the coach was or who the quarterback is. While they're changing the way the franchise operates, they might want to do what has worked before.
For McCloughan and for others.
Chris Russell - SFTheRooster@Yahoo.com - www.twitter.com/russellmania980