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Posted at 3:55 PM ET, 01/ 3/2011

Past, present, and draft

By Evan Bliss

Nine months. Three quarters of a year, the length of a school year, the duration of the human prenatal process, and the next time you’ll see the Washington Redskins play a football game that matters. First and foremost, a big thanks to all the players for stepping up and playing hard amidst all the injuries and usual shenanigans at Redskins Park.

Three straight seasons without a playoff birth. Three straight seasons at the bottom of the NFC East. Four losses in 2010 by three points. Four wins in 2010 by three points. Two years with double digit losses.

A three-year history of the Redskins’ defense:

  • After the 2008 season, Washington boasted a top five defense (4th) but was ranked 28th in sacks. Disappointment in pressuring the opposing quarterback led Washington to sign Albert Haynesworth.
  • After the 2009 season, Washington boasted a top-10 defense and thanks to the addition of Haynesworth and Orakpo, the Redskins jumped from 28th to 8th in sacks. Unfortunately the 2009 Redskins were ranked 26th in interceptions and 29th in recovered fumbles.
  • Enter Mike Shanahan in 2010, who convinces everyone that a 3-4 defense will create more turnovers, and being on the plus side of the turnover ratio will win more games. After 2010, the Redskins moved up to 19th in interceptions, and 7th in recovered fumbles. Only major difference is the Redskins defense fell to 31st in the NFL. In three seasons, the Redskins’ defense went from 4th to 31st.

As if any of that even matters. More sacks, interceptions, fumble recoveries, yards, all of these components still add up to last place in the NFC East. Fixing all these statistical areas isn’t fixing the one area that counts: wins.

The best formula for winning football games is still outscoring your opponent…..

2010: Offense - 18.9 ppg (25th), Defense - 23.6 ppg (21st)

2009: Offense - 16.6 ppg (26th), Defense - 21.0 ppg (18th)

2008: Offense - 16.6 ppg (28th), Defense - 18.5 ppg (6th)

So with the No. 10 pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, the Washington Redskins select………

I’d like to say a franchise quarterback considering the number of quarterback prospects, but if it’s not the right guy pick the best player on the draft board.

Even with the 10th pick, there could be seven teams pursuing a franchise quarterback before the Redskins. Denver, Cincinnati and Dallas are the only teams without an apparent need at the position, but even they could be in the market because they’ve all experienced regime changes (*Lewis hasn’t been fired in Cincinnati yet, but he’s as good as gone). Even Carolina, which drafted Jimmy Claussen and Tony Pike last year, will probably draft a quarterback.

If the top five quarterback prospects are gone when the Redskins pick at No. 10, would they still go after a Terrell Pryor just to draft another quarterback? I would doubt it.

Shanahan proved by drafting Williams over Okung in the 2010 Draft that he knows the type of player that will excel in his system. I predict the Redskins will either be trading up to get their guy, or trading back if they can’t get him and bolstering their offensive line or defensive secondary. The draft is a ways away, but what am I supposed to do now, cheer for the Eagles?

By Evan Bliss  | January 3, 2011; 3:55 PM ET
Categories:  Evan Bliss, Redskins  | Tags:  Evan Bliss, Redskins  
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Next: Ignoring the burning wreckage, part 2: the defense

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