The answer from a football standpoint is maybe. From a personal standpoint my answer is I hope they don’t.
First, some background. When last we looked in on the 2018 Redskins, their quarterback, Alex Smith, had suffered a horrible leg break. Longtime Skins backup QB Colt McCoy had assumed command. No one questioned McCoy’s elevation.
But McCoy needed a backup. For that job, Washington selected Mark Sanchez. In doing so they passed over Colin Kaepernick — the guy who started the short-lived fashion of taking a knee during the playing of the National Anthem.
I thought the decision made sense in football terms. Sanchez has not accomplished as much as Kaepernick in his career, but has had some success. Moreover, he has advantages over Kaepernick from the Redskins perspective. As a standard drop back passer, he fits our system. On top of that, he has been coached by key members of the Redskins staff and thus has some familiarity with the details of the system.
On Monday night, in a game against the Philadelphia Eagles, McCoy broke his leg. Sanchez replaced him. The veteran completed 13 of 21 passes, but was ineffective. Under the circumstances, it was unrealistic to have expected otherwise.
Now the Redskins need another quarterback, and this time not necessarily a backup. Those urging the Skins to offer Kaepernick a job envisage him taking over as the starter and sparking a team that, in theory at least, might make the playoffs.
However, the Redskins decided not to make an offer to Kaepernick. Instead, they brought in Josh Johnson, a quarterback with no NFL accomplishments to speak of. He’s very likely to be strictly a backup, assuming no injury to Sanchez.
Redskins coach Jay Gruden explained that the team has discussed Kaepernick as a possible solution, but decided against him. Gruden said that bringing Kaepernick in at this stage of the season (with only four games left) would require too many offensive changes, including new run concepts and protection packages. He added that the best fit for the Redskins now is a quarterback familiar with his offensive system. Johnson, having been coached by Gruden in Cincinnati, meets this description.
Is Gruden being candid? I think so. If the Redskins lose their last four games and finish 6-10, he might be fired. Thus, he has every incentive to make moves at the vital quarterback position he thinks maximize his team’s chances to win and to eschew moves he thinks don’t.
Is Gruden’s analysis correct? That’s not clear. He certainly knows football and quarterbacking, but by focusing on the problems of incorporating Kaepernick into the offense (or vice versa), he may be missing the forest for the trees.
One can imagine Kaepernick igniting the offense and leading the team to a string of victories. It’s a longshot, to be sure. But arguably it’s Washington’s best shot, and probably it’s only shot if Sanchez suffers injury.
In any event, I’m glad Kaepernick won’t be joining the team. I’d rather lose without him than win with him — though I believe we will lose with or without him. Let’s not forget that Kaepernick completed only 60 percent of passes during his NFL career and averages only around 175 passing yards per game. He’s not the messiah. (For Sanchez the career numbers are 57 percent and 196 yards).
It would be very difficult for me to root for a quarterback who, without justification, displays so much contempt for America. And without rooting for the quarterback, it’s very difficult to root for the team. Am I supposed to hope for a 7-0 win in which the defense the scores the touchdown?
To be clear, I support Kaepernick’s right to take a knee for the National Anthem. I don’t believe it should cost him the opportunity to make a living in the NFL. I just don’t want him on the Redskins.
It’s similar to my approach to actors and entertainers who take mindless shots at America. I support their right to do so, but would never knowingly attend the film or performance of such a person.
If Sanchez continues to be ineffective or can’t play due to injury, the Redskins will take plenty of criticism for not offering Kaepernick a job. However, I won’t be among the critics.