Redskins Don't Follow Best Teams' Examples

Albert Haynesworth will help the defense, but the Redskins need other improvements as well.
Albert Haynesworth will help the defense, but the Redskins need other improvements as well. (By Richard A. Lipski -- The Washington Post)
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By Fred Bowen
Thursday, March 5, 2009

The Washington Redskins made news last week by signing three key players for next season's team.

The biggest signing was Albert Haynesworth. And I mean big! Haynesworth is a 6-foot-6-inch, 320-pound defensive lineman who made the All-Pro team twice when he was playing for the Tennessee Titans. The Skins also signed defensive back DeAngelo Hall and offensive lineman Derrick Dockery. These big players got big contracts, worth millions of dollars, from the Redskins.

The question now is: Will these players help the Redskins make the playoffs and maybe the Super Bowl in the next few seasons? I'm not so sure.

Don't get me wrong: I think Haynesworth is a terrific player who will help the Redskins' defense by stopping the run and by putting pressure on the other team's quarterback. But it seems to me that the Redskins are trying to build a championship team by spending a lot of money on just a few players. And that doesn't work.

If the Redskins want to be successful, they should look at the best teams in the National Football League and do what they do. Who are the best teams? The New England Patriots and the Pittsburgh Steelers. Those two teams have been to five Super Bowls in the past six seasons and have won four of them.

The Patriots and the Steelers understand that football teams need lots of good players, not just a few. So they build teams by drafting young players and coaching them so they improve. The Patriots and the Steelers don't pay their players more money than they deserve.

For example, the Redskins' contract with Hall makes him one of the highest-paid defensive backs in the NFL. Do the Redskins think that Hall, who was cut by the Oakland Raiders in the middle of last season, is one of the best defensive backs in football? I doubt the Patriots or the Steelers would have given Hall that much money.

Copying success can work for kids as well as pro football teams. Let's say you want to get better grades in school this spring. It would be smart to look at what the best students do and follow their example. My guess is that the top students finish their homework, pay attention in class and spend more time reading than watching television. If you do all those things, chances are your grades will go up. Maybe not right away, but if you keep at it you will improve.

The Redskins' owner, Dan Snyder, and all the Redskins' coaches are trying hard to make the team into a Super Bowl champion. They might have more success if they acted more like the New England Patriots and the Pittsburgh Steelers than like the Washington Redskins.

Fred Bowen writes KidsPost's sports opinion column and is an author of sports novels for kids.

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