What would help is a professional team president, as opposed to a huckster who robs them of depth and their left tackle. What would help is an owner with a sense of shame.
If you want to know how a team could get punched in the mouth by the wretched New York Jets, how it could give up 34 points and go 16 quarters in a row without a touchdown, just look at how this low-rent franchise treated its most foundational lineman, Trent Williams. And while you’re at it, look at how seldom the Redskins draft interior players on either side of the ball. Look at how indifferent they are to the unglamorous hitters, the essential role players who make up the heart of a good team.
Go back and examine the Redskins’ drafts from 2009 to 2019 and do a head count. They have drafted just 26 offensive and defensive linemen over that span. To repeat, 26. Want to know how many the New England Patriots drafted over the same time period? A total of 38.
The Redskins literally have no core. They are chronically understaffed at the positions that make up the physical guts of a team, the men of vital muscle and heft who can move other men out of the way.
This is entirely on owner Daniel Snyder and his personnel minion, Bruce Allen. And it’s why no matter who the head coach is, no matter who the quarterback is, no matter how many massive-contract free agents they sign, they never get any better. They only get thinner. They only get worse.
This is perhaps the reason that none of their besieged, out-of-breath linemen cared to meet the gaze of Haskins, who still hasn’t gained command of his playbook despite being selected 15th in the draft — a draft that, incidentally, was rich with top linemen.
Other teams looked at the draft class of 2019 and saw that it was chock full of building-block big men. Eleven of the top 20 chosen were interior players. So were 22 of the top 50. But the Redskins, who had a wealth of 10 picks, divined that just two linemen were worthy of selection: Wes Martin in the fourth round and Ross Pierschbacher in the fifth.
Then they spent the offseason in an egotistical power play and medical dispute with Williams, and out of pure vindictiveness and incompetence they put themselves in such a state of emergency that they had to sign Ereck Flowers, a New York Giants castoff, in March and hastily grab 36-year-old Donald Penn in July. So they are 1-9 with a patchwork line and a rookie quarterback whose lack of recognition and limited playbook make it simply impossible to deal with a seven-man pass rush. Big surprise.
This is a franchise that continually wastes the efforts of good players with its lack of principles. Its front office has no regard for reliable chore-performers and therefore never has any philosophy or plan. Oh, the Redskins have on rare occasions drafted good linemen — a Brandon Scherff, a Daron Payne. But they simply never seem to have enough manpower to overcome the inevitable injuries and gradual chipping away at the roster that all teams face over the course of a season.
The really good teams are three-deep in quality line play. The really bad ones aren’t. Take a look at the recent draft histories of the outfits that rival the Redskins for awful. They all have the same thing in common: a lack of consistent inside heft. The Jets have chosen just 19 linemen in 74 selections from 2009 to 2019. The Cleveland Browns, just 28 of 98. The Miami Dolphins, just 22 of 85. By way of comparison, the Patriots have taken at least four linemen in six of their past 11 drafts. Among them were Isaiah Wynn, Joe Thuney, Marcus Cannon, Deatrich Wise Jr., Trey Flowers, Malcom Brown, Shaq Mason and Nate Solder. Over the decade, the Patriots have devoted fully 38 percent of their picks to their interiors.
It’s impossible to conceive of Snyder and Allen doing such a thing. Their hires and their fires are all about impulsivity and flash, with no discernible commitment to the long term. It’s possible that Haskins one day will be a winning NFL quarterback; he certainly has the arm and the courage. But it’s incomprehensible that they drafted such a young project who needs so much work in a year when they knew that they probably would fire their coach, Jay Gruden, and that they were so undermanned up front. This is a team that has drafted just seven offensive linemen in the past five years — just two of whom, Scherff and Chase Roullier, have become major contributors.
The Redskins’ owner and president aren’t interested in winning — not really. If they were, they would have changed something over the past 10 years, shown some willingness to learn from their failures, some sign of recognition that the skilled stars can’t flourish without the big men inside, whose power and effort prevent everyone from being hung out to dry. But the only power Snyder and Allen are interested in is their own petty power. The Redskins have become an exercise in pure, top-to-bottom indifference.