By Ben Standig
There is a long held belief that if an NFL team has a strong player at each of the following positions secured, success should follow: quarterback, offensive tackle, pass rusher, corner. While the specific weight put on each has varied over the years - more than ever passers are paramount to good fortune in this overt aerial age and some will argue the value of a left tackle has dipped - the overall concept is one I've followed since my younger days (Ken Beatrice had something to do with this).
CBS Sports NFL writer Pete Prisco used this angle to come up with his "four-pronged rankings", focusing on the 2012 season - with seemingly little to zero emphasis on the future, on upside.
Let's emphasize that last point because I feel confident it will take readers of this post, from the rabid face painters to the doom and gloomers, a few moments to even comprehend where Prisco's calculations put the Redskins.
Let's put it this way. If you used Beatrice's catch phrase "YOUR NEXT" every time a new team was revealed, you would utter it 31 times, uncovering every other NFL franchise before the Redskins popped up. After the Colts and Vikings, after the Seahawks and Cardinals come the burgundy and gold.
Here's how Prisco's math on the locals came to be:
- the top player on each team at each position is ranked 1-32 within his category (in other words, Brian Orakpo is listed but not Ryan Kerrigan). The top player receives 32 points and so on. However, factoring in the pass-happy times we live in, points are doubled for the quarterbacks.
- The Redskins core four of Robert Griffin III (26 among quarterbacks), Trent Williams (19), Orakpo (14) and DeAngelo Hall (31) combined for 49 points. That's two less than the Cardinals, who managed to somehow top the Redskins even though the position of their best player (Larry Fitzgerald) is not even part of the equation.
- The 49 points is also 86 less than the team in first. Nope, not the Packers with Aaron Rodgers (the No. 1 quarterback) or the Texans with premier tackle Duane Brown or the Jets and top pass defender Darrelle Revis. In the truest definition of adding insult to injury...the Cowboys finished first (ranking DeMarcus Ware tops among pass rushers helped)
- Like the draft, RG3 came in one spot behind of Andrew Luck - but also trailed Mark Sanchez, Alex Smith, Matt Hasselbeck and Matt Cassel. Like I said, upside apparently meant squat.
- As for Williams and Orakpo, their rankings seem reasonable (Orakpo is ahead of the 49ers' top blitzer Aldon Smith). Truth is, so does Hall's.
No doubt having to scroll down and down this list to find the Redskins was surprising and instinctively put me into a dukes up position, at first anyway. Obviously if the rookie quarterback does a reasonable Cam Newton (11) or Andy Dalton (19) impression, Griffin's ranking will have been too low. Looking at the passers in any way beyond a 2012 prism changes the list, for the good, for the locals that is.
For now, RG3’s low number combined with Hall receiving no help from the Russian judge put the Redskins building blocks into the unenviable position of looking up at all others, on this list anyway.