BD Posted March 13, 2006 Share Posted March 13, 2006 Following on Om's lead, here: http://www.extremeskins.com/forums/showthread.php?t=148046 First off: For several years, the NFL team I've watched second only to the Redskins is the Pittsburgh Steelers. I've been to five games over the past three years at Heinz Field, including the amazing playoff game against the Jets last year. One of my best friends is a Pittsburgh fan; I have relatives in Pittsburgh; and while my folks are Redskins fans, I'm young enough that I have little memory of Joe Gibbs' first tenure here... so during the dark years of Norv and Frerotte, I'd always end up cheering for Pittsburgh when the playoffs came near. I love the old-fashioned system they run; I love their tough defense and their hard-core blue-collar fanbase; and I love watching the crazy games they seem to end up in - not just this year against the Colts, or when they ended the runs of the Eagles and Pats; remember that incredible one against the Browns four years back? I know this team almost as well as I know the Redskins - the coaching personnel, the FO, the players (my sister was one of Heath Miller's friends at UVA; another friend shows up in Big Ben's blog all the time). So given that, here's my attitude toward the Randle El signing: it's all about upside. Throw out Randle El's stats. They aren't impressive. It's easy to see why; for two years of Tommy Maddox, Charlie Batch, and Big Ben, the Steelers have used a system that practically steals TDs from WRs. They love big plays to get in the redzone, then pounding it in for the TD. They simply don't throw often enough to give us an accurate representation of Randle El's skills. The Steelers didn't have a single guy break 1,000 yards this year; there's a reason for that. So why did we pay Randle El #1 money to be a #2 receiver? It's not just because he was the best guy on the market: it's because of upside. Upside #1: Special teams. Randle El has game-breaking speed, and unlike Moss, no significant history of injury. He immediately gives us a consistent threat on punt returns and kick returns (if we want). Upside #2: Trick plays. Randle El's skills as a college QB-turned NFL slash player are well-documented (he finished 6th in Heisman voting). You saw how Gibbs used Portis (who throws one uggggly trick pass, as we all know); imagine those plays with a guy who can actually throw a rope. Upside #3: Young but solid. Randle El is 26, healthy, hasn't missed a single game, and is about to enter the prime of his career. Joe Gibbs never wants to be in a position where one injury would destroy his offense, as an injury to Moss would have last year. Randle El and Lloyd together ensure that the Redskins go three deep for starting caliber WRs... no more Jimmy Farris signings, folks. Upside #4: Performance under pressure. Gibbs likes to get guys who've played on the biggest stages and withstood the pressure (see him getting Patten, Brunell, talking to Fauria, etc.). Even for such a young player, Randle El has played in EIGHT playoff games in his brief career, including the Super Bowl victory. In those games - again, working within the WR-unfriendly Pittsburgh system - he has the following stats: (3 rushes for 19 yards; 25 catches for 315 yards and 1 TD; one pass for 43 yards and 1 TD). Clutch, people. Upside #5: The X factor. In Santana Moss, we found a player who broke out of his shell - he'd been an average or decent WR in New York, but he elevated to a completely new level in D.C. In Randle El, Gibbs clearly believes he's found another such player - someone who can shine if they're called on to do more than they did with their original team. If you believe Joe's right, you like this signing. If you believe he's wrong - well, wait and see. BD Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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