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sportscurmudgeon 12-12-2011 12:59 PM

Young Redskins' Players
 
Generally, I do not like to anoint rookies as "great players" or "stars" based on exhibition games or a single good game in the regular season. I prefer to look at a young player over a period of time and look for improvement from game-to-game before I conclude that this guy might be a building block for an NFL team.

However, even with that level of cautiousness, I am beginning to think that Mike Shanahan and his assistant coaches are reincarnated versions of George Allen. I understand that "experience counts" when it comes to the NFL, but this coaching staff - - over the past two years - - has stuck with some "experienced players" for an awfully long time when they had some young players on the squad who showed enough promise once they got in the game that the "experienced guy" became expendable.

Example #1: Last year, Joey Galloway. He was on the field for half of the year. What did he do that any of the young receivers could not do? Once he was gone, how did the passing game collapse?

Example #2: This year, Ryan Torain. Granted, Tim Hightower started out as the [I]Numero Uno [/I]running back until he was injured. But, how many lackluster performances did the coaches have to see from Torain before they decided that the "inexperienced guy" on the squad [B]MIGHT[/B] produce more than the "experienced guy"? After yesterday, I think it would have made more sense to go with Helu and Royster as the running back tandem earlier on this year.

Example #3: This year's OL youngsters. When Lichtensteiger was injured, the coaching staff played Chinese Checkers with the OL playing half the guys out of position. Willie Smith and Mo Hurt were on the team - - but not on the field. In fact, they went out and got Polumbus (good move by the way) and inserted him into the lineup after about 48 hours on the team instead of Smith.

Example #4: This year and last year, Perry Riley. Once given sustained playing time - - not in for one play every fifth defensive series - - he played well and has improved from game to game. Would he not have shown those abilities if he had been given more time on the field earlier on? Would the Redskins have missed the playoffs in the last two years with him on the field - - - ooops, that argument doesn't work.

[INDENT]QUESTION: If you spend all the time to scout these players so you can draft them or sign them as free agents and if you spend all the time to "coach 'em up" on the practice squad or on the 53-man roster even if they are inactive for games, why can't those guys be "trusted" to play more than a couple of snaps on Sunday?[/INDENT]

I know that it was not until yesterday that the Redskins were mathematically eliminated from the playoffs for 2011 but the reality is that the playoff lamp was very very dim back when the Skins were 4-7. If you do not take a look at some - - if not all - - of your young players once the "season is over", how can you know what they are capable of doing [B]in a real game[/B]?

I am not advocating starting all the young players; I am not even suggesting that all of them get to play half the game. But the team will be better off in the future if the coaches see what these guys can do [B]on Sundays in real NFL games rather than only seeing them in shorts/sweats on Wednesdays.[/B]
This season is, in fact, over. The Redskins' wives can book cruises for the family in January and not have to worry about the deposits they put down for the vacation. The next three games do not mean jack-sh*t in the standings or in the history of the NFL. They might mean something if young players can see the field because it might help the coaches decide:
[INDENT]Which ones can play well enough that they should be kept around - - or - -

Which ones are "just a guy"...[/INDENT]

Schneed10 12-12-2011 01:04 PM

Re: Young Redskins' Players
 
Your position assumes that the young players were just as capable and ready to play in the past as they were on the day that Shanahan actually played them.

Riley, for one, was deemed not ready at the beginning of this season. Lack of OTAs were blamed on his not understanding the assignments well enough. What evidence do you have that says Riley was ready before Shanahan put him in?

sportscurmudgeon 12-12-2011 01:17 PM

Re: Young Redskins' Players
 
[quote=Schneed10;867424]Your position assumes that the young players were just as capable and ready to play in the past as they were on the day that Shanahan actually played them.

Riley, for one, was deemed not ready at the beginning of this season. Lack of OTAs were blamed on his not understanding the assignments well enough. What evidence do you have that says Riley was ready before Shanahan put him in?[/quote]

My position is that the young players who finally made the field - - too often because of injuries to veteran starters and not merely the incompetence of veteran starters (Galloway) - - did not have some kind of football epiphany two weeks before they saw the field on Sundays. They developed; they improved. However, they were not "bumbling incompetents" three weeks before they played on Sunday and miraculously found themselves able to play football.
[INDENT][I][B]By the way, if they had been "bumbling incompetents" the question shifts to why the coaches kept them anywhere near Ashburn VA if that is what they saw in the players...[/B][/I][/INDENT]
Riley was "ready enough" to play a defensive series for a team that was not going to the playoffs. Remember, the Redskins over the past two seasons have not been fighting tooth-and-nail to see if they can get a bye-week in the playoffs; this is a team that has to build itself up to be competitive. Let me ask your question in reverse:

[INDENT]What more evidence would you need to see to determine that Rocky McIntosh (the guy playing ahead of Riley) was not going to be one of the pillars of your defense once the team was good enough to make the playoffs?[/INDENT]

GMScud 12-12-2011 01:21 PM

Re: Young Redskins' Players
 
[quote=Schneed10;867424]Your position assumes that the young players were just as capable and ready to play in the past as they were on the day that Shanahan actually played them.

Riley, for one, was deemed not ready at the beginning of this season. Lack of OTAs were blamed on his not understanding the assignments well enough. What evidence do you have that says Riley was ready before Shanahan put him in?[/quote]

Exactly. Leonard Hankerson, for example, had a very bumpy training camp and a very tough start to the season. But, with a lot of hard work, he started to see playing time more and more, and then finally in the Miami game the light really came on, and he went off for 8 catches and 100+ yards. That's a contribution he couldn't have made week 1.

skinsfan69 12-12-2011 01:25 PM

Re: Young Redskins' Players
 
It's very simple. Shanahan doesn't want to put young guys on the field until they earn it in practice.

GMScud 12-12-2011 01:25 PM

Re: Young Redskins' Players
 
[quote=sportscurmudgeon;867429]My position is that the young players who finally made the field - - too often because of injuries to veteran starters and not merely the incompetence of veteran starters (Galloway) - - did not have some kind of football epiphany two weeks before they saw the field on Sundays. They developed; they improved. However, they were not "bumbling incompetents" three weeks before they played on Sunday and miraculously found themselves able to play football. [INDENT][I][B]By the way, if they had been "bumbling incompetents" the question shifts to why the coaches kept them anywhere near Ashburn VA if that is what they saw in the players...[/B][/I][/INDENT]Riley was "ready enough" to play a defensive series for a team that was not going to the playoffs. Remember, the Redskins over the past two seasons have not been fighting tooth-and-nail to see if they can get a bye-week in the playoffs; this is a team that has to build itself up to be competitive. Let me ask your question in reverse:
[INDENT]What more evidence would you need to see to determine that Rocky McIntosh (the guy playing ahead of Riley) was not going to be one of the pillars of your defense once the team was good enough to make the playoffs?[/INDENT][/quote]

Coaches say it all the time- they play the players that give the team the best chance to win- regardless of record. You don't just say eff it, I'm gonna throw X player in there even though he looks worse in practice and has been stumbling in the film room, or whatever. Rocky McIntosh had a few really good games early this season, too. Combine that with Perry Riley's growing pains... that's probably why Riley wasn't starting. But then Rocky started playing worse, Perry starting playing better.... there you go.

T.O.Killa 12-12-2011 01:49 PM

Re: Young Redskins' Players
 
The one thing Shannahan has done is play younger players. The whole roster is full of young players getting to play. This is one arguement that I wont agree with.

sportscurmudgeon 12-12-2011 01:50 PM

Re: Young Redskins' Players
 
Let me try this a different way...

Starting next week, the Redskins will play three meaningless games - - to them not necessarily to their opponents. I have never believed in "Suck for Luck" and do not think that draft position in April 2012 is so important that the team should just toss in their jockstraps for these last three games. Nonetheless, the games do not mean anything at all. Finishing 4-12 and home for January is not all that much worse than finishing 7-9 and home for January. The key constant here is "home for January"...

[I]Ergo[/I], what horrible outcome might befall the Redskins' franchise if they played someone like Brandyn Thompson at defensive back for an entire defensive series? The absolute worst he could do would be to stink out the joint and give up a TD. In the context of the Redskins' 2011 season, tell me how that is unspeakably horrid...

What the coaches might find out is how ready this guy is to play DB in a real NFL football game? Is he someone to keep as one of the pieces for a successful team in 2012 or 2013 or 2014? Or is he so over-matched that maybe the best contribution he can make in the future is as cannon-fodder in training camp next year? One series against Eli Manning and the Giants will [B]not[/B] make that determination all by itself, but it will give the coaches more to consider than just practice tapes...

Maybe Markus White could play a defensive series also - - not the same one that Brandyn Thompson plays; I'm not trying to suggest putting a JV squad on the field against the Giants. Suppose London Fletcher "takes his talents somewhere else" next season as a free agent. Would it be worth having some real game tape on Markus White to see what he can do against NFL players who are playing for keeps?

I'd take another look at Erik Cook for an offensive series. I would want to see what Chris Baker, Niles Paul and Kentwan Balmer bring to the table.

And just because tight end MIGHT become an issue for this team (Davis is a free-agent and is staring down the barrel of a season-long suspension and Cooley has been hurt in each of the last two seasons), I might even think of activating Rob Myers for a game and giving him some time on the field. I would not expect to see "greatness" there; what I would be looking for is "promise"...

My problem is that what I have seen from this coaching staff for the past two years says that they will keep playing the same guys and seeing the same guys on tape that they have seen since September. From now until New Year's Day, they should be coaching for 2012/2013 and not for 2011.

Mattyk 12-12-2011 01:56 PM

Re: Young Redskins' Players
 
[quote=Schneed10;867424]Your position assumes that the young players were just as capable and ready to play in the past as they were on the day that Shanahan actually played them.

Riley, for one, was deemed not ready at the beginning of this season. Lack of OTAs were blamed on his not understanding the assignments well enough. What evidence do you have that says Riley was ready before Shanahan put him in?[/quote]

Agreed.

It's easy to sit back and say play the young guys, well often the young guys simply aren't ready and you may do more harm by playing them too early.

Riley is the perfect example, and as good as he looks at times, he still looks lost other times, and you can see why he was being held back.

GTripp0012 12-12-2011 02:00 PM

Re: Young Redskins' Players
 
I don't think not putting the young guys on the field is a technique to not harm their development. Putting them on the field would accelerate their development because its reps in and above what they are getting in practice.

The real issue is that if you are going to make them earn it behind veterans, you need to make sure the vets you have can actually play a bit. The Redskins season was doomed early by lackluster production from the QBs, RBs, WRs, and LBs, and the team actually drafted really well at RB and WR this year. Benching those veterans has been as much a part of the recent success as the development of the young guys.

Mattyk 12-12-2011 02:28 PM

Re: Young Redskins' Players
 
[quote=GTripp0012;867450]I don't think not putting the young guys on the field is a technique to not harm their development. [B]Putting them on the field would accelerate their development because its reps in and above what they are getting in practice.[/B]

The real issue is that if you are going to make them earn it behind veterans, you need to make sure the vets you have can actually play a bit. The Redskins season was doomed early by lackluster production from the QBs, RBs, WRs, and LBs, and the team actually drafted really well at RB and WR this year. Benching those veterans has been as much a part of the recent success as the development of the young guys.[/quote]

Yes and no, depends on how ready they are. If they are clueless you could kill their confidence and at the same time you're only hurting the team by playing someone who clearly shouldn't be on the field.

JoeRedskin 12-12-2011 02:30 PM

Re: Young Redskins' Players
 
[quote=Mattyk;867464]Yes and no, depends on how ready they are. [B]If they are clueless you could kill their confidence and at the same time you're only hurting the team by playing someone who clearly shouldn't be on the field[/B].[/quote]

Like Philly did with Mathews. He was clearly not ready to play at the beginning of the year and the only thing they did by playing him was hurt both his development and the team's defense.

GTripp0012 12-12-2011 02:42 PM

Re: Young Redskins' Players
 
[quote=Mattyk;867464]Yes and no, depends on how ready they are. If they are clueless you could kill their confidence and at the same time you're only hurting the team by playing someone who clearly shouldn't be on the field.[/quote]I suppose that's true. Still, I think that player development without playing time is a waste of the time of both the coach who is responsible for the players development and for the player himself. With that said, I agree with you that there is a wrong way to do it, and I would also suggest that if there is a wrong way to do something that results in a loss of confidence, the Redskins will find that way.

Hurting the team is the obvious reason to not play a guy before they are ready, but you'd be hard pressed to convince me that Rocky McIntosh and DeAngelo Hall don't hurt the team on a week to week basis, yet we let a 3-1 start evaporate in part because we went out of our way to feature those players. That start could have gone wrong just as easily with guys like Perry Riley and Kevin Barnes starting, but I do think there was a right decision to be made there. And the Redskins didn't make it.

NC_Skins 12-12-2011 02:43 PM

Re: Young Redskins' Players
 
[quote=skinsfan69;867433]It's very simple. Shanahan doesn't want to put young guys on the field until they earn it in practice.[/quote]

This is the bottom line right here.


You aren't going to see the playing field on a Shanny led team until you can show it on the practice field.

GTripp0012 12-12-2011 02:44 PM

Re: Young Redskins' Players
 
[quote=JoeRedskin;867466]Like Philly did with Mathews. He was clearly not ready to play at the beginning of the year and the only thing they did by playing him was hurt both his development and the team's defense.[/quote]If Philly made a mistake with Matthews, I don't think it was that they tried to develop him aggressively, I think it was that they misvalued him as an NFL linebacker in the first place. No team wanted him in the first four rounds, but Philly thought he was a starter.

They were out on that limb by themselves.


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