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Do the Redskins Have Talent?

Look, I'm no NFL talent evaluator. If I told you that the Redskins' talent ranked 6th in the NFL, or 28th in the NFL, or 82nd, you wouldn't believe me either way. Maybe the most sensible judgment would be to say that a 10-10 record over the past 20 games indicates middle of the road talent.

Jason La Canfora, a name some of you might recognize, sure hinted that the talent is an issue in his recent Skins piece for, writing that "if things are ever going to improve in Washington, the team will have to drastically improve its results in terms of trades, drafting and free-agent efficiency." That, I suppose, speaks to talent.

I asked Mike Sellers the other day how the Skins' talent level compares; "I don't worry about other teams," he said. "I handle what's in our locker room."

But, as many of you have mentioned, other Redskins have said over and over that their talent is above average. Before we get any further into this season, I thought I might as well gather up some of the quotes and stick 'em all in one place.

Greg Blache: "If we didn't have talent, then you'd say, 'Well, there's a talent issue.' We have talent. But in our league, the most talented teams don't always win. The teams that play the best win."

London Fletcher: "If it was a lack of talent, then you'd be like, 'Okay.' That's one of the most frustrating things about the way we've performed thus far this season. It's because we have a lot of talent."

LaRon Landry: "If we don't reach our goals, it will be all of our fault. It's all a mindset. The talent is there."

Albert Haynesworth: "With all this talent, we haven't even scratched the surface. We're really cutting ourselves short and it's kind of ridiculous. If you see this team come together before it's too late, this team could be special. But if we continue to play like individuals, you'll see this team fall apart and continue to go downhill."

Jim Zorn: "We have tremendous talent on this football team....I don't know if it has to do with just overall talent."

Santana Moss: "You wonder why [stuff] ain't working for you. All you can do is scratch your head, man. Yeah, it's true, we have the talent. Yes, you're sitting there saying, 'We should be doing this; we should be doing that.' But 'should be' ain't good enough. You got to go out there and do it."

DeAngelo Hall: "I feel like we definitely have more talent on this team [than last year].... You add pieces that from a talent level, yeah they're better, but getting them to do what you need them to do for this defense to be successful is the task at hand. That's the job, trying to put me in position to make plays or do what I feel like I'm comfortable doing, trying to put Haynesworth, trying to put Orakpo, trying to put guys in positions to make plays is the challenging part on any team that adds big free-agent guys. That's gonna always be the toughest part of the puzzle."

Chris Cooley: "What our offense is, and the talent that we have on our team, if we eliminated the penalties and the mistakes and simple things and just did your job, we would blow teams out. We're that good."

Carlos Rogers: "We've got the tools, we've got the players, we've got everybody to get things done."

Clinton Portis: "I really do think on paper we've got the most talented team in the NFL. It's just putting it together and making it work."

By Dan Steinberg  |  October 6, 2009; 2:28 PM ET
Categories:  Redskins  
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Next: What Would Make Zorn Bench Campbell?


Well, if they think they got the player talent, then must be the coaching talent and the ownership and gm talent keeping this team back all these years.

Posted by: vmrg1974 | October 6, 2009 2:54 PM | Report abuse

hahaha Portis kills me. Are you F'ing kidding me? Good for you dude, your glasses have found a new shade of rose color. A new QB changes everything. Just watch what happens if Collins gets in. Hell I'll take Zorn at this point. "Winning" is great, but its knowing that they deserve to be 5-11 if they continue playing that bothers me. SCORE some DARN POINTS!

Posted by: skinzfan4 | October 6, 2009 2:58 PM | Report abuse

(Reposting this from the RI blog)

** Work is slow today Post **

Everbody remembers the Big Mac jingle, right? "Two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions, on a sesame seed bun."

Here's the Redskins version of a Big Mac:
"Two all beef patties"...but we'd like one medium rare, and for the other one sub in buffalo meat. And cook the buffalo medium.

"Special sauce"...but we'd like to sub ketchup in for the beef pattie, and A-1 for the buffalo pattie. And actually, we'd like to change the buffalo to well-done.

"Lettuce"...but we'd like to sub in romaine hearts, shredded instead of chopped, with a dash of mixed field greens.

"Cheese"...but we'd like crumbled feta on top of the beef pattie, and gorgonzola on the buffalo pattie. And now that we've thought about it some more, we'd actually like the buffalo pattie cooked medium well, and the beef pattie rare.

"Pickles"...but we'd like them cut length-wise instead of in cicles. And only dill pickles will do.

"Onions"...but we'd like them to be a mix of red onions and sweet onions. Saute the red in imported extra virgin olive oil, and cook up the sweet ones in lard.

"Sesame seed bun"...but we'd like it to be whole wheat. And instead of sesame, we want flaxseed. Toast the top bun once, the middle bun twice, but don't toast the bottom bun at all. Oh, and let's do the beef pattie medium-well.

** End work is slow today Post **

Posted by: 4-12 | October 6, 2009 3:02 PM | Report abuse

In a word: No.

Posted by: yatesc1 | October 6, 2009 3:42 PM | Report abuse

Redskins don't have the most talented team in the NFL, but they are without a doubt in my mind in the top 10 in terms of talent.

We have pro bowl talent across the board. Samuels is a 7 time pro bowler. Cooley is a 2 time pro bowler. Portis, Moss, Sellers, Albright...all pro bowlers. And that's just the offense!

Defensively, we have 2 time pro bowler D'Angelo Hall, 2 time first team all pro Albert Haynesworth, and a plethora of guys I think most of us can agree have pro bowl "potential." This list includes Orakpo, Fletcher, McIntosh, Rogers, Landry, and Griffin.

That's 8 pro bowlers and 14 guys with pro bowl potential. I'd say that puts us in the top 10 in talent, no question. (and I'm not even including Jason Cambpell, who if he keep his turnovers down, is and will continue to put up pro bowl numbers this year).

Posted by: Barno1 | October 6, 2009 3:59 PM | Report abuse

The Pro Bowl, Barno? You mean the popularity contest? The thing where the fans get 1/3 of the vote, and the marketing guys on the Redskins created a "Vote the Redskins ticket" to stuff the ballot box?
Yes, the Pro Bowl...a great way to judge the talent level.

Posted by: 4-12 | October 6, 2009 4:13 PM | Report abuse

The Pro Bowl, Barno? You mean the popularity contest? The thing where the fans get 1/3 of the vote, and the marketing guys on the Redskins created a "Vote the Redskins ticket" to stuff the ballot box?
Yes, the Pro Bowl...a great way to judge the talent level.

Posted by: 4-12 | October 6, 2009 4:13 PM | Report abuse

4-12, you mean the same popularity contest that has kept London Fletcher out of the pro bowl his entire career? That popularity contest?

We had no defensive players in the pro bowl last year despite a top 3 defense.

It cuts both ways fella.

Posted by: Barno1 | October 6, 2009 4:31 PM | Report abuse

LFB was the only member of that defense worthy of being included in the Popularity Bowl.

He's also the only current Redskin I've seen who tells the truth...that they're not a very good team, and haven't been since he's been here.

You're more than welcome to buy into the "On paper, we've got the most talent" crudola that Portis and others spew. I'll go with what my eyes see, week in, week out, season after season...they're not a very good team.

Posted by: 4-12 | October 6, 2009 4:38 PM | Report abuse

Yes goodness, we have a probowl long snapper-here here!

The ultimate measure of a teams talent is found at the lines. We have the hardest working man in showbusiness, Chris Samuels, on the offensive side. On the defensive side, we have an aging Griffin and Haynesworth. If I'm feeling generous I'll include Orakpo in the discussion based on a four game performance, but only as a defensive end and NOT as his given "linebacker" position. That's four out of a possible 9 lineman positions that are even remotely pro-bowl caliber talent. (Ridiculous contract aside, Andre Carter has not nor is ever going to the pro bowl).

And that my friends, laughable Barno nonsense aside, is why this team will be lucky to win 6 games this year.

Posted by: jbanks979 | October 6, 2009 4:39 PM | Report abuse

The issue is lack of talent along the offensive line. No one is questioning our defense has ability. Our offensive skill positions have some too but the offensive line has too many leftovers.

Posted by: AdamCr | October 6, 2009 4:44 PM | Report abuse

"Talent" in football is a multi-dimensional concept: (1) Physical ability to win one-on-one matchups; (2) Toughness, determination, and football intelligence to see the play and make it; (3) Leadership to make your teammates better; (4) Ability to use your skills to fit the team's style of play. As a whole, I think the Skins have had slightly better then average talent, more on defense than offense, but not SB contending talent. Failure to understand this has led to years of "just one more FA is all we need" personnel strategy.

Who on the current roster is superior in all facets of talent? I would argue that Fletcher and Cooley are the only ones. Haynesworth might get there, but it's too early to tell how he'll jell with the rest of the D-line. Portis and Samuels have in the past, but age and nagging injuries have reduced their effectiveness. Campbell is not really suited for a WC offense that requires quick reads and throws, and an O-line that doesn't give him time. Moss has individual skills, but has a hard time beating press coverage. DHall has coverage problems, and Rogers can't catch. Landry would be better at SS. Orakpo has potential.

That said, the Skins should be better, and coaching is a bit part of the problem. Good coaches know how to make the best use of the talent they have, and Zorn hasn't figured it out. The O-line is undersized and the RBs lack quickness, so he needs to use more misdirection -- play action, screens, draws, varied snap counts. (I'm not talking about gadget plays!) Look at the Eagles and you see an offense with constant variety that knows how to outthink a defense. Blache needs to blitz more, but teach the players how to disguise the blitzes. Again, look a Philly and other good blitz teams -- you never know who's coming, and from where.

Finally, the Skins seem to have a leadership gap going back many years. Even under Gibbs II, red zone offense always seems anxious, with someone on almost every play blowing an assignment or committing a dumb penalty. There's a missing component of talent in terms of focus and confidence, and I think that's due to lack of leadership on the team and coaches.

The other area of missing talent is the front office. Cerrato has little GM talent in terms of evaluating personnel. Snyder is a woefully untalented owner (except for making money) -- his personnel decisions attest to that.

Across the board, I put the Skins at about C- in talent, with little hope of getting better and a good possibility of getting worse.

Posted by: pyrotech | October 6, 2009 4:51 PM | Report abuse

And that my friends, laughable Barno nonsense aside, is why this team will be lucky to win 6 games this year.

Posted by: jbanks979 | October 6, 2009 4:39 PM | Report abuse

Just don't disappear when we win several more than 6 games. You guys who post these excessively critical, excessively pessimistic comments always seem to disappear when you're proven wrong. Let's see how many of you are still posting on here come January.

Posted by: Barno1 | October 6, 2009 6:41 PM | Report abuse

When have you ever proven me wrong?

Posted by: jbanks979 | October 6, 2009 8:21 PM | Report abuse

Here is a comparison about talent and how they compare to the rest of the division.

The Skins beat the Bucs 16-13 at home.

The Giants beat the Bucs 24-0 on the road.

The Cowboys (who stink in their own way) beat the Bucs 34-21 on the road.

The Skins are middlingly to average team because of talent which is augmented by a sheer lack of knowledge with regard to how good football teams are put together for the long haul.

Average teams make the playoffs every 3-4 years because that's how the NFL works ensuring parity so that a couple of breaks go your way and you avoid major injuries you have a chance to make the playoffs. Truly good teams/organizations like the Pats, Steelers, Eagles, and Giants work the other way around meaning a couple of bad breaks and key injuries keep them out of the playoffs. For the Skins it is the other way around.

How many teams do you know have had the same back-up running backs along with kick-off returners for more than 6 years? Only the Skins.

How many teams draft 3 crap receivers in the 2nd round in one draft?

The Skins

Who has had the fewest number of draft picks over the last 10 years?

The Skins.

I'm not a Skins fan nor do I hate them. For me to hate the Skins would require them to actually be a real threat in the NFL to do something. Instead, I enjoy how delusional the owner, the fans and the players are in trying to argue against the facts.

Lastly, the only difference between Snyder and Jerry Jones is that Jones played football so has about one more ounce of insight into the game then Snyder does.

Posted by: SteelHop | October 7, 2009 11:31 AM | Report abuse

Jason LaCanfora is an idiot with an axe to grind with the Redskins. I wouldn't trust his evaluation of the Redskins talent.

Posted by: tundey | October 9, 2009 1:21 PM | Report abuse

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