For a team that is perpetually struck with bad luck, something needs to go right. Whether it was the meteoric rise and fall of RG3 in 2012, or the overpriced contract of Josh Norman, the Washington Football Team always seems to have a cloud over its head when it comes to success.
But the tide seems to be turning in DC, as the clouds dissipate and the team is starting to see the light. A new brand of the organization has been unveiled, and the ghosts of Washington past no longer reside in Loudoun County.
We have seen a trustworthy, no-nonsense coach take charge in Ron Rivera. We have seen forward-thinking hires in assistant coach Jennifer King, and Senior VP of Media, Julie Donaldson. And we even have an effusive and articulate President of Football Operations in Jason Wright, who is known for fixing organizations with toxic cultures.
The window dressing appears to look good. Now it's time for the football product to turn it around.
This had me thinking. What would it take for the team to obtain long-term success on the field? Who would be responsible? And what player would need to shine for Washington to turn it’s fortune around? I threw this question up on twitter, and it garnered quite a response.
Initially, I was met with some pretty blunt answers.
But as I explored the responses, I found some pretty articulate answers that I truly appreciated. For example, twitter user Toure’ Sundiata (@TSundiata).
His point about Haskins having to “be the guy” is a fair one. For as long as I can remember, the Washington Football Team has lacked a true, franchise QB. Sure, the team has had QBs who shined for a year or two, but the team has not had a true franchise cornerstone since Joe Theismann. So Dwayne's success is paramount. His success at the position would solidify this offense for years. Therefore choosing Haskins as the most important piece of the team is the right answer.
However it's also the boring one. Other responses went outside the box. And I dig it.
Nathan Coleman (@JHawkChalk) went a whole other direction with my question. He went the coaching route, and named Offensive Coordinator Scott Turner as the most vital piece to an organizational turn around.
His rationale is a sound one. In following up with Nate, we discussed his belief in Turner’s philosophy of uptempo playcalling. According to Coleman, Turner has a track record of calling plays at a faster rate than former coaches Jay Gruden and Bill Callahan, and due to this, Washington will run more plays this season.
With more plays being called in game, and maintaining (at minimum) the NFL average of yards/play and points/play, the Washington offense should see a stark increase in offensive production. In essence, there should be an uptick in points scored and yards per game.
Another point to consider with Turner is his belief in the Air Coryell system, which emphasizes deep throws. If these convert, and Turner proves above average, the team would now have a young, innovative coach in-house. Sound familiar? Hopefully this go-around the team would keep him, and build some long term success.
Another interesting perspective is what Kevin Bobby (@Kboblife) shared. He believes that Geron Christian is the piece to sustained success in DC.
His rationale is that if Christian proves to be a capable starter, Washington now has flexibility at the tackle position. Saahdiq Charles could move to the right tackle position, and Christian would be set at left, creating a dynamic set of bookends at the tackle position.
Having a set of reliable tackles is a good place to start while building an offense. And having them under contract for cheap is also vitally important. However, the whole in this argument is Christian would only be cheap for this year and next, making 2022 a huge contract year.
And where would Morgan Moses go? I know the fanbase has been troubled with his false starts over the last few seasons, but he is now healthy, and has proven to be a reliable presence on an injury-prone offensive line. Also, would Christian supplant Charles at Left tackle? That’s a hard sell, but it is an interesting point to consider.
Altogether, it was fun hearing the different perspectives of the fanbase. The general consensus was that Haskins or Chase Young were the “obvious choice” for sustained success. And you can’t deny that.
If Haskins becomes a reliable starter for the next ten years that’s a “win” for the organization. And if Young becomes the next Von Miller, you take that to the bank all day.
But considering Christian, Turner, and even Antonio Gibson as the missing piece to the organization’s success is an interesting one. Now we wait and see if any of this comes to fruition.
George Carmi joined "Washington Football" on SI.com in April. He is also an editor/contributing writer to FullPressCoverage.com or @FPC_Redskins. He is a native of the DC metropolitan area and is an avid fan of DC Sports. A former journalism major at the University of Maryland, his focus is now in public education. His earliest memories consist of Darrell Green, "The Posse" and Super Bowl XXVI. Follow him on twitter @Gcarmi21