More from Brian Mitchell
I chatted with former Redskin Brian Mitchell for this morning's story. As always, Mitchell had more to say than I had space to offer, so I thought I'd share some of the leftovers below. Mitchell is no stranger to local media, but his analysis this season has been particularly sharp and spot-on. He's recently started a new venture, partnering with Community Voice Line, which I'll let him explain below. And he'll be inducted into the Redskins' Ring of Honor at next Monday's game against Philadelphia.
Question: Players, coaches, Vinny Cerrato -- they all thought the team had the talent to win this year. Did you believe that?
Mitchell: No, I never did. The whole thing about it, what I learned, Vinny has to say what he says, and the players will never say they don't have the talent because they can't acknowledge that. You notice the past few weeks Carlos Rogers, D-Hall say they don't have talent to win. Rogers is upcoming talent, D-Hall is very talented -- they can say those things. If you listen to them, they're telling you the truth. Many other guys can't say that because they don't have the clout or the leverage.
Question: Where do you see problems on the roster?
Mitchell: The O-line, D-line, the past 3-4 years, the offense has starters who are old and aging, good but not great. The backups, though, are garbage and a team is only as good as the backups. Then you look at D-line -- aging, injured. Anthony Montgomery hasn't been healthy for long time. You look at Albert Haynesworth, he comes in and he's a guy who requires a lot of attention. But he's making $100 million. Is he always making the dominant plays? Could they have spent the 100 million on three or four players and help with their depth?
So they have a lot of talented guys who have a history of being beat up.
Question: A couple of young guys, too, though. Brian Orakpo --
Mitchell: Brian Orakpo, if you put his hand on ground, I guarantee you he'd have 15 sacks a year. He's got what, three so far? He's doing that and he's not doing pass rush full-time; what would he be doing if he was full-time pass rusher? He won all those college awards because he was a pass rusher, not because he was checking tight ends.
Question: The Redskins have the oldest team in the NFL. If the team doesn't win this year, what has to happen to the roster?
Mitchell: You look at the front office, they're in love with certain players. Let's get one thing straight. Clinton Portis -- I think he was a beast in Denver, he was very good when he first got here. But he's not very good any more. They gave him guaranteed contract for $20 million, so they can't just get rid of him. Look at Malcolm Kelly and Devin Thomas. Are they good? No, but they were drafted. I'm so sick and tired of hearing that they're young. Jeremy Maclin, Hakeem Nicks, Robiskie, DeSean Jackson, these are young guys. These are young guys and they're all doing more than Malcolm Kelly and Devin Thomas and Fred Davis together. Every other team has successful young players. So does it make a difference if they bring in and develop their own players?
If you look over the last 8-9 years, have they really developed talent? Sean Taylor came in, he was already a beast. You look at last year, Chris Horton in the seventh round. They didn't he was gonna be good, but he blows up. He's the best damn draft pick they had and they had no idea.
As much as we want to knock Jim Zorn, as much as you want to knock anyone, someone else is charge of orchestrating and constructing that team, and if that guy's not getting the blame, then something is wrong here. People aren't looking at the right guy.
Question: From your perspective, what's the team's guiding philosophy on building a team from year to year?
Mitchell: I don't know if they have one. Every year, they go out after the biggest names in free agency. I don't now if they go into the offseason thinking like this, but it looks this way later: 'Let's go get the people who sell the most jerseys.' They don't go get offensive linemen. They get guys -- quarterbacks, receivers, safety, D-line -- they get whatever the big names are. They never address the offensive line. I constantly say, give me Walter Payton, Emmitt Smith at running back, give me Art Monk and Jerry Rice as receivers and put Tom Brady behind the Redskins' offensive line. That team wouldn't be very damn good, would they? When your O-line isn't better than that D-line across from you, it's hard to be a good team. The Redskins have to learn that your O-line has to be top-shelf. Joe Gibbs won with John Riggins, Joe Theismann, Mark Rypien, Doug Williams -- are any of those guys top 10 in the history of NFLl?
Question: OK, so you're the general manager. What are the first thing you do?
Mitchell: I'm GM, at this point, I say, 'Look Redskins fans, I'm gonna do the same things the Nationals are doing.' Tell people we're gonna build from the ground up. I'm not gonna say we're the most talented team in the NFL. You say that, people expect you to got to the playoffs. I say fans, we have to build this team from the ground up. We're gonna make sure our lines in tact, and build from there. We're not gonna go after every big name that's out there. We'll be two to three years from contending, five years back in the Super Bowl. I think if fans are told the truth, they'd be OK with that. But what's happening now, fans are starting to think. Fans aren't stupid. Fans aren't stupid. You can BS them for so long, but after while, they gonna start seeing through it. Fans can see through it right now. They're getting pissed off at what's going on. It's one thing when former players say something, when you or I say something. But when fans start saying it, you got to listen.
Question: I talked to Herm Edwards today, and he was saying that to really rebuild, you have to understand that it's going to take a couple of years. Do you think the owner has that patience? What about the fans?
Mitchell: I will give you absolute truth: If you take a step back and allow a football guy to run this football team and understand it's going to take a year or two years to make it happen -- if you win in Washington, you'll make more money. He's making money right now; imagine if they've won a couple Super Bowls in the past 10 years, he'd be making twice as much money. So give this thing to someone who knows what they're doing. You need someone who's going to not just think about today, who's thinking about next year, five years from now, 10 years from now. The moment he makes that happen is the moment he'll see the success he grew up watching, not the success he's spent 10 years dreaming about.
Question: OK, tell me about Community Voice Line. What exactly is it?
Mitchell: What we're doing is, basically a bunch of ex-players who have an opportunity to speak their minds about football. There's no one telling you what you can't say, what you should say; you say what you want to say. These are guys who played the sport and still follow it. You got a cell phone, you just call in -- there's no extra fee -- and you get free information from guys who played the game. it's straight forward, unbiased information coming out.
Question: You're on there talking about the Redskins and the NFC East. What can people expect to hear from you?
Mitchell: They can expect exactly what they've been hearing from me, but on Comcast, I can't always say what I want to say. Sometimes we can't get to it, sometimes we go to commercial or some interview. Community Voice Line is straight 20, 30, 40 minutes where I can just go and say what I feel. It's a little different than what you hear in DC right now, where we got one station that seems totally against the Redskins, another that doesn't think the Redskins do anything wrong. On Community Voice Line, if they do something good, I'll give it to 'em, if they screw up, I'm gonna tell you that too.
Mitchell records new updates for Community Voice Line every Monday and Friday. They can be heard by calling 712-432-6517.
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