Starting Lineups: Trading Places — The St. Louis Rams Have Finally WonFootball, The Cheap Seats — By Matt Whitener on December 18, 2013 at 9:38 am
It is a rare thing to ask, but did the St. Louis Rams finally win? No, not the victory over the Saints on Sunday (although it was rather impressive), but did they win the war with rolling the dice and not taking Robert Griffin III? When the Rams decided to deal their rights to the second pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, there was a mixture of confused laughter from the masses and sighs of defeat from the St. Louis faithful. I mean, how in their right minds could the Rams, who had annually finished at the ass end of the NFL with performances that reeked of the same hopelessness, opt out of landing one of the most dynamic players to enter the league in years? Sure, they had just invested a top pick in Sam Bradford a few years before, but this was potentially a franchise-changing pick they just handed away. Typical Rams.
Fast-forward a year, and night and day are steadily swapping cities. Bradford still is a question mark and is now one that has a torn ACL rehab ahead of him as well. But what’s not in dispute anymore is that the tortoise is looking like it has beaten the hare here. The Rams’ three-man brain trust of Kevin Demoff, Les Snead and Jeff Fisher gave up that one-off, sure shot for three first-round picks and a second rounder in 2012 for good measure.
Add in their own picks, mortgaging the chance for RGIII has netted them four starters in the last two years, with another two picks to come this spring. For a team that’s missed the playoffs 10 straight years, those are invaluable additions. And considering that the final year of the prized haul could be a pristine number one overall pick if the Texans manage another win and the Skins stay their current course, the Rams will have ultimately upgraded in the end.
All of that value was mortgaged for one man, and he’s one that is walking a troubled path. The Redskins still landed the franchise cornerstone they thirsted for but now have only three wins to show for it just a year after winning their division due to a plethora of issues they have not been equipped to fix. Despite the season-turned-Jerry Springer Show in D.C., the talent of a healthy RGIII is undeniable. But with him now on the other side of a major knee surgery and in the middle of a lost season, a benching and power struggle for team supremacy with his coach, the luster of Griffin has dulled, and the rough reality is setting in, for both the man and the direction of the organization as a whole — which has seen the floor fall out of it after giving away a chunk of its future to find the player to guide Washington through it.
But now, just 12 months removed from immortality along the road to the playoffs, maybe the real truth is that even for everything that Griffin was and can still be, Washington’s eyes got way too big in the display window. As the Rams get deeper and deeper, the Redskins become more and more exposed. Perhaps exchanging fortunes with the team that had the foresight to see that a one-man fix is not the most prudent way to go about turning around a franchise lost a season for Washington. And with the Redskins’ year having long since drifted away, it is up to the now unarmed quarterback, who had the world placed on his shoulders, to find a way to get the team that gave up everything back to shore.
It’s the ultimate scene of “Trading Places,” and the Skins are definitely the Dukes of the deal as it stands today.
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