By Rich Tandler
Welcome to going young and rebuilding.
The Redskins aren’t a very good football team right now. That was obvious today in their 19-11 loss to the 49ers that was not nearly as close as the score would indicate. It was obvious last week when the Redskins were shut out by the Bills in a 23-0 game that was not as close as the score.
The team is taking the medicine that it has needed to take for years. The Redskins are playing younger players. There are a couple of problems with the medicine, however. First, it makes the patient worse before it makes it better. And while it’s in the process, it makes everyone watching the team sick as well.
Is this team worse a year and a half into Mike Shanahan’s coaching tenure than it was a year and a half into Jim Zorn’s run? The record says so. Shanahan is now 9-15 with the Redskins. Zorn had cracked double digits in wins at 10-14.
Zorn’s Redskins team, however, was old and bad. Casey Rabach and Chris Samuels, both 32, started on the offensive line. The running back was a washed-up Clinton Portis. On defense, Phillip Daniels, 36, Cornelius Griffin, 33, started along the line. Albert Haynesworth was one of the younger players on defense. The only rookie who was a regular starter for any substantial portion of the year was Brian Orakpo.
The Redskins today started four rookies, three on offense and one on defense. On the offensive line, only Jammal Brown has cracked the age of 30. Ten different players were targeted on passes against the Niners and the only one over the age of 25 was Jabar Gaffney.
I think you can see what I’m getting at here. There is losing with aging players, as Zorn was. And there is losing with younger players, as the Redskins are now.
There is no guarantee that the kids will develop into stars. But there is a guarantee that old players will continue to get older.