(photo by Brian Murphy)
Long after most everyone else had cleared out of the locker room following the Washington Redskins season-ending 27-24 loss to the San Francisco 49ers, we found ourselves sitting side-by-side with linebacker Marcus Washington.
In the interest of full disclosure, Washington happens to be one of our favorite players currently sporting the burgundy and gold. He’s always been very engaging and highly entertaining whenever we’ve had the chance to chat with him.
After catching him up on the results from the previous night’s UFC pay-per-view, we asked Washington if he’d heard the rumblings that major changes could be happening at Redskins Park this offseason and if/when he anticipates hearing from the organization regarding his future with the team.
“To be honest, I don’t really get into that stuff,” Washington said. “I try not to mess with it much. I have an agent and I pay him to deal with that stuff. Obviously I want to be here and we’ll see what happens.”
As we continued to chat, we asked Marcus about the importance of continuity and told him about our previous conversation with cornerback Fred Smoot, who said that it was the main reason teams like New England and Pittsburgh are routinely among the best in the NFL. That’s when Washington gave quite possibly the best metaphor ever, in a way that only Marcus could.
“I look at it like a typing class,” Washington started. “The first time you take a typing class you always have to look down at the keys and you can’t type very fast. But as time goes on and you get more familiar, things become easier and you can begin to type things without even looking down or whatever. Now imagine if every so often someone came in and changed where the keys were. Now you’ve got the space bar up here and you’re looking around saying, ‘Where the fuck is the semi-colon?’ That’s what it’s like on a defense when you’re constantly changing it up.”
It sounds so simple, but Washington’s perspective on constantly changing personnel forces casual fans to see things a bit differently. If a player has to constantly look over his shoulder to see who is lining up next to him and wonder if that person is going to be where they’re supposed to when the game is on the line, it’s a huge distraction.
Its common sense – teams with the same coaches, players and schemes week after week have a greater chance for success as opposed to teams who have a new defensive coordinator every other year or teams that bring in half a dozen new players into the rotation every season.
So here’s our message, once again, to the front office – resist the urge to make radical changes. If you must get rid of a Shawn Springs or a Jason Taylor, so be it. But try to keep stability on the defensive side of the ball as much as possible. This is a fourth-ranked defense that at times showed flashes of dominance. Just image what can happen once they truly get comfortable and find that fucking semi-colon.