There have been a bunch of NFL questions pinging around in my brain lately, like so many of Ted Leonsis’s wicked pixels. Questions like should Redskins fans root for the Ravens in the playoffs, as Baltimore Coach John Harbaugh requested? Should the Redskins draft a quarterback in the first round this April? Should they retain any faith at all in Rex Grossman? And what to make of Tebowmania?
To keep from getting a headache, I called Fred Smoot.
Rooting for the Ravens
“I understand never wanting to root for them, but the good part is, they’re never in the NFC,” the Redskin-for-life told me on Thursday. “So I say root for our step-brothers. They’re not our blood brothers, but they’re our step-brothers. I want somebody around the Beltway to win. People in that area deserve a champion. The Redskins fans truly deserve it, but if it’s not the Redskins, who else?
“I’d see [the hate] if they were in the NFC and we were really really rivals, but c’mon, we’re out of it. Show ‘em a little love. I didn’t say go and paint your face purple and black, I didn’t say that, but show ‘em a little love.”
Robert Griffin III
“I think he’s the pick for the Redskins,” Smoot said of the Heisman trophy winner. “That’s a no-brainer. Let me ask you something: what two things go together for a championship? These are the two things that go together for a championship: a consistent coach, and a good quarterback who’s raised to be great. Tom Brady and Belichick, Sean Payton and Drew Brees, Tom Coughlin and Eli.
“I played for the Redskins for almost a decade, and I never had that, and we never won. It goes together. What do I like about [Griffin]? I like everything about him. Yes, I would like him to bulk up a little bit, but that comes with the good life. That will happen for him. He’s a better thrower than people think, he can run, I think his best football is in front of him, and he’s willing to sit and learn.”
“I was the reason Rex got to play [at Florida], I was the reason Jesse Palmer got sent to the oak,” Smoot said. “We blew em out like 40-20, and Coach Spurrier threw Rex and Jabar Gaffney in the game. He took everybody out. He was pissed. I got the interception that got pretty boy Jesse sent to the oak.
“The only way you can win with a Rex Grossman at quarterback is if you have a dominating defense, a dominating run game, and a number one receiver that demands a double team. Unless you have the perfect ingredients, I don’t think he’s your guy. And look around your division, you have to get with the program. You have to say we need a face, we need a franchise quarterback who we’re gonna not only give time to progress, but we’re gonna put the right pieces around -- not to fit our accolades but to fit his.”
“In the NFL, different is frowned upon sometimes,” Smoot said. “The thing about it, we’re looking at a guy that’s going against the norm. He’s a leader before he’s won anything. You become a leader in the NFL by going through the fire. That’s when people say that’s my quarterback, I’ll follow him through anything, like Drew Brees with the Saints.
“Well, Tim Tebow came out of college with these leadership skills. And that rubs some people the wrong way, but Champ [Bailey] and the rest of those guys have bought in. He’s not the first guy to wear religion on his sleeve. But this guy has taken the role model thing to another level. I’m sorry, I’d love for my little boy to look up to Tim Tebow. I think he’s a perfect role model. That in itself causes Tebowmania.
“He is who he says he is. I think he has a future in D.C., let’s say 15-20 years from now, and I’m not talking about playing for the Redskins. He has that type of following.....I’m a Redskin through and through, I’m not a big Broncos fan, but I root for Tim Tebow. You can’t help but jump on his bandwagon.
“I’m a fan of him and Cam Newton. To say what these guys can’t do before they actually get a chance to do it, I’m not like that. I want to see him fire some bullets first, and every time he gets a chance to do it, he wins. It’s not God; it’s Tim Tebow. I’m sorry, I’ve never seen a guy win a game by completing two passes until Tim Tebow did it. So the next time we get a guy do it, we can say, well, that’s what Tim Tebow did, too.”