So I'm sitting home today, drafting a piece about the gaping hole the Redskins have at SAM linebacker (hey, it snowed), when I get word they have just released DE Jason Taylor.
Sometimes this computer thing, for all its convenience, leaves me cold. It would have been far more satisfying to rip a piece of paper from a typewriter, crumple it theatrically and bank it off the file cabinet into the wastebasket.
Here's what I was going to say:
The tea leaves were all pointing toward the Redskins drafting a strong-side linebacker with their first round (#13 overall) draft pick in April ... and looking to land a mid-level veteran free agent as well. Teams with playoff pretentions don't start rookies at key positions unless they absolutely have to, and given Jason Taylor was a light DE to begin with, the need for a steady presence off his hip to hold the point against the run was that much more pronounced.
Figured them to draft SAM at #13, plug the free agent into the starting lineup and hope the rook developed quickly enough to take the job from him by midseason.
Now, who knows? With holes at both SAM and left defensive end, the ground has shifted dramatically again, and the twelve million, four hundred and six words churned out over the past three days about the new Redskins paradigm have been rendered pretty much moot.
You have to wonder how bemused the people "in the room" at team headquarters around the league really are at this time of year. They know their offseason plan. They know where the myriad variables are and have multiple layers of contingencies in place to deal with them. The rest of us have our passion for the game and a misguided sense we can predict what a team is going to do based on ... what, maybe 25% of the relevant data? 15%? 40%?
The Redskins knew they were going to let Taylor go when they landed Haynesworth. The suggestion out there is they let him go because he didn't want to honor the workout clause in his contract. I don't buy it. If the team had seriously wanted Taylor on the field this season, he'd still be here. They would have found a way to make it work--just as they have with certain other players in recent years.
So here we are. This morning, the NFL-observing world thought they it had a handle on what the Redskins had in mind for the 2009 offseason. This evening, it's all back up in the air. The only surprise ought to be that anyone who has watched this league for any length of time could be surprised.
Oh, before I forget:
Clearly, what the Redskins are going to do is now is draft SAM at #13, bring in a mid-level FA to bridge him into the starting lineup, bring back Demetric Evans to start at LDE, use their 3rd-rounder on a young speed rushing end to platoon with Evans, trade next years' #2 for another 3rd and a 4th this year, use those picks on an offensive tackle and swing guard, trade the swing guard to Detroit for reserve OT LeManuel Escatarian, convert DE Alex Buzbee to tight end, beef up current TE Fred Davis to take reps at OG and ...