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It is the most wonderful time of the year they say…unless of course, you are a Redskin fan in the middle of another crappy season. There are so many needs on the Redskins’ list right now –  where to start?
Then there is the Wizards.  What do you get someone that has everything right now?
The Caps and Nationals seem to need the exact same thing this year as years past. So with less than a week away from Christmas, and with Hanukah almost half way over,  in this week’s 3 points blog we are shopping for what will cure the ails of DC Sports teams.
Oh wait.  Before I get going,  DC United is off the list because they got what they have wanted for many years –  a new stadium. Congrats to the Black and Red!
Top of Redskins’ Wish list: General Manager
It is overwhelming to shop for a team that seems to be in need of many things like the Redskins. Should you start with a franchise QB? Offensive line? Safeties, pass rushers, or perhaps linebackers that can cover? What about overhauling the coaching staff and scouting departments?
Those gifts can only go so far, and unfortunately the franchise QBs come up ‘out of stock’ when I search for them. So with so many other needs,  what the team really needs is a qualified General Manager.
Yes, the Redskins need to start there. Team President Bruce Allen really has only had a year and the ‘decider’ however; he was not hired here to be that guy.  In year one there is enough evidence to show why he needs help from a true personnel professional.
The free agent period was full of misses (outside of DeSean Jackson falling in their lap). Maybe Jason Hatcher would have been a better impact player had he been healthier.  So far, this year’s draft class has proven to be “OK” at best. If you want to count the previous 4 years with Mike Shanahan, that’s not exactly anything to write home about — with or without the cap penalty. Year 5 of a regime should not mean a shot at back-to-back 3-13 seasons.
The good news:  the Redskins don’t have to look very far if they want to truly hire a General Manager with personnel chops. There is one in-house with former Chargers and Bills GM AJ Smith.  During his tenure with the Chargers,  Smith won 5 AFC West titles in 10 seasons — more games than any other GM in San Diego history.
He also famously fired Marty Schottenheimer after a 14-2 season and hired Norv Turner. He is known for hard ball negotiating tactics and players like Drew Brees, LaDanian Tomlinson, Michael Turner, Darren Sproles, and Vincent Jackson were left as free agents. You could also say Smith’s teams never had any great post-season successes.
Despite the shortcomings Smith may bring to the table, he knows how to find talent and he has a track record to prove it. That is more than you can say about Bruce Allen. The Redskins roster is still void in talent. Hire Smith fulltime and let him do what he does best, and let Allen handle the negotiating. Sometimes the best gifts are right under your nose.
Top of Wizards Wish List: Health
How do you shop for a team that seems to have it all right now? The Wizards have an elite point guard in John Wall, a potential all-star in Bradley Beal, plenty of size with Marcin Gortat, Nene, Kris Humphries, and Kevin Seraphin. They have depth with Rasual Butler shooting lights-out off the bench. They defend well and they share the ball on offense.
So what do the Wizards truly need to keep this season going in the right direction? It is really simple actually:  the gift of health. Sure, the Wizards have depth. But clearly they will be better if they are whole. I don’t even want to get into how irreplaceable John Wall is right now. He’s playing at an MVP level every night on both ends.
It is has been a luxury for Coach Randy Wittman to keep Nene and Paul Pierce’s minutes down in the early season.  However, the competition will ramp up after the All-Star break and into the post season. That’s when the Wizards will need their money players to be feeling their best.
They will soon have Martell Webster back, fighting for minutes off the bench and adding long range shooting. Wittman’s biggest problem right now appears to be finding minutes for everyone. Last year’s key late-season addition Drew Gooden has become the team’s Brian Scalabrine this season, and newcomer DeJuan Blair has been buried on the bench all season.
Wittman is truly blessed this season. The key though will be to have all his options open to him in the post season.
Capitals and Nationals wish list: Post Season Success
I’m not sure where you buy it –  or if it can even be bought or gifted.  However, I see the Capitals and Nationals in the exact same place….again. Two really talented teams that have been good enough to get to the post season, but unable to make a post season run.
This is an old issue for the Capitals.  It is starting to become an issue for the Nationals after two “one and done” appearances in the playoffs,  both with tragic moments. So again,  where or how do you fix it? I wish I knew, but clearly Chicago and Los Angeles figured it out for their hockey franchises.  In terms of baseball,  look no further then San Francisco. Maybe it is just a matter of catching a break for both the Nats and Capitals.
The good news is,  both seem talented enough to at least get into the playoffs annually –  although the Caps missed out last season and are currently the #8 seed in the East. Maybe Coach Barry Trotz will be able to help the Capitals exorcise the post-season demons.
It also may be too early to call it a “trend” for the Nationals post-season woes. This could be the upcoming year that they kick the post-season door down. They have too much talent on their roster not to be successful in the playoffs at some point (at least that’s what I keep telling myself).
Unfortunately this gift can’t be opened until the spring for the Caps and next fall for the Nationals. Until then,  it is ok to Rock the Red and enjoy the ride with both of these consistent franchises.
Happy Holidays to all the DC teams — and most importantly the fans that support them,  win or lose.

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