If you could pilfer one NFL player for the Redskins this Sunday, who would it be?

October 25, 2012

When you’ve seen enough games to identify a team’s weaknesses, the natural inclination is to want upgrades. Midseason, though, there aren’t really any available — if only it were that easy. Talking free agency and the draft when there’s a game this Sunday seems a little backwards.

What if you could solve the Redskins’ deficiencies though? What would you do? If you could take one player from any NFL team and put him on the Redskins for Sunday’s game, who would you take?

My first inclination was to think of the game’s best safeties. Baltimore’s Ed Reed, or even somebody less well known, like Buffalo Jairus Byrd, San Diego’s Eric Weddle or Atlanta’s Thomas DeCoud, would put a guy who could make plays on the ball at the back of the secondary, and fix what is ostensibly the position of greatest need.

I suppose, if you took the question just as it was worded, stealing a player and putting him on the Redskins this Sunday, maybe it’d make sense to pilfer a Steeler. Then you could weaken them and strengthen the Redskins at the same time. Safety Troy Polamalu and linebacker James Harrison haven’t quite been at their best, or healthiest, this season though, so that kind of ruins that. A Darrelle Revis of the Jets would be nice, but currently, he’s out for the year. The Redskins surely would benefit from a cornerback who would make DeAngelo Hall and Josh Wilson the Nos. 2 and 3.

What if you could add a stud pass rusher, like DeMarcus Ware of Dallas, or someone younger, like Houston’s J.J. Watt? That would help the secondary try to get by with the players it has.

Maybe one offensive player — a dominant wide receiver, perhaps — would make the defensive woes moot, because having someone dependable on the other end of Robert Griffin’s passes would mean the Redskins could outscore teams. A Calvin Johnson, or an Andre Johnson, would be great not only for his own talents, but for the trickle-down effect he could have on the offense. With the best defenders concentrating on the top wide receiver, routes should open up for the Redskins’ supporting cast, which actually would look pretty good behind a solid No. 1. Too bad Pierre Garcon, who doesn’t compare to either Johnson stylistically or talent-wise, isn’t healthy enough to at least put that theory into practice. The Redskins sure looked good for those eight plays Griffin and a healthy Garcon had together in New Orleans.


What would the Redskins’ offense look like with a Calvin Johnson to call its own? (Mel Evans/AP)

The larger point, perhaps, is that there are precious few players in the NFL who make a major difference on an offensive or defensive unit by their presence alone. Washington added one, perhaps two, last offseason. If another were on the way next year, despite the lack of a first-round draft pick, that’d be pleasing.

Sure it’s a silly topic, and a fantasy, but have a little fun with it. If you woke up on the wrong side of the bed and feel inclined to complain about the lack of reporting in the morning conversation starters, maybe have some coffee and check back for Mark Maske’s 9 a.m. post. He’s an actual reporter.

Your insights, as always, are appreciated. The responses to yesterday’s post were outstanding. Turns out, most of you don’t really dislike the Steelers at all. Those who do have their reasons. I can respect that.

Hopefully it’s not too depressing to realize there is no help on the way Sunday. In the real world, all most of us can do is pull for the guys we have to put forth their best efforts, or be healthy (this means you, London Fletcher). In the case of this season’s Redskins and Steelers, that could be enough for a semi-surprising road victory.

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Mark Maske · October 24, 2012