Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Clearing House

It's a rare occurrence when not one or two, but three sports teams in a town have a chance, and good cause, to blow things up and start rebuilding from nothing. DC United, the Washington Wizards and the Redskins all missed the playoffs in their most recent seasons and all three have also had very recent coaching changes. The Caps are doing great, though.

The issue with these three losing teams is that in the current sports environment it's tough for a franchises to say to their season ticket holders, "We're gonna suck for the next three or four years, but then we'll get awesome again. We promise." This does not sell tickets or jerseys. The Redskins and DC United are both in similar territory, in that the fans expect a winning team each season, whether rightfully (DC United) or not (Redskins). DC United are absolutely in better shape. Sure the big offensive weapons are old or gone (Jamie, Christian and Luci), but there's a core of young players who can step it up and dominate (Pontius, Rodney, Jakovic, and the intriguing new signing Christian Castillo).

For the Redskins it's tougher. First there's still no consensus on poor Jason Campbell. At the very least he deserves a year with a real offensive line and this core of young but talented receivers. But the much bigger issue is, Snyder never gives a coach enough years. Gibbs only got the time he got during his second tenure because his name is Joe Gibbs, plus he retired again before Snyder got the chance to fire him. If he was some former college coach (Spurrier) he would have had at least a season less to work with. The biggest mistake for me was not giving Marty one more year. He went 0-8 and then 8-0. Has that ever happened before? I think the world deserved to see what happened the next year. Could he have flipped it and won 8 then lost 8?

The tough thing for the Skins though is that's it's just so much tougher to gut and rebuild a football team. There are so many X-Factors and so many potentials for injury that luck is certainly a part of success.

And that leaves the sad sad Wiz. Their current core of players (and I include Gil) were the most successful of my life. Look at their record over the years. They had one playoff season between the time I was 5 and the time I was 20, and even then they were roadkill to the Bulls in the first round. Theoretically Caron and Antwan should be able to carry the team, but recent history has shown that the Wizards are only decent with all three big names healthy, and even then they can't beat Cleveland in the first round ever. So without a doubt they should trade everything they can now, get rid of the big names, plus Blatche and Stevenson, and start over as much as humanly possible. The pieces currently in place will never win, and they can still get some cents on the dollar with wise trading.

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