One of the best things about being an NFL fan is that the league is so unpredictable that you can go into every season thinking maybe this could be the year that your favorite team wins it all. Except in Washington, where realism trumps optimism.
That’s the word from Washington General Manager Scot McCloughan, who says he’s well aware that his team is undergoing a rebuilding process that won’t be finished this season.
“You know what, we’re not gonna be the best team out there this year,” McCloughan told SiriusXM NFL Radio, via the Washington Post. “But the one thing that I emphasized — and I told them in the opening meeting — was listen, I want us to compete every day: on the field and off the field. Find a way to make yourself a better player, and a better person. And I think we’ve done that so far. We’ve got a ways to go, but we’re going in the right direction. We’re taking small steps; we’re going in the right direction.”
McCloughan also shared some surprising thoughts about first-round rookie Brandon Scherff, an offensive lineman McCloughan selected with the fifth overall pick in this year’s draft. Usually, when a G.M. spends a Top 5 pick on a player, the idea is that the player could become an All-Pro. But McCloughan said his view of his first-round pick is more that Scherff has the right character traits for the kind of team Washington is trying to build.
“Is he the most talented guy? Absolutely not,” McCloughan said. “But you know what, you put the whole package together as a person: competitiveness, toughness, smarts, and what [offensive line coach Bill Callahan’s] looking for, that’s exactly what I want. I don’t need five all-pros every year. Give me five guys that are gonna fight together, battle together and play together. And [I’m] not knocking him, because I’m sure he’ll be a Pro Bowler. He’s got the ability to do that. But just the whole package was very important to me. My first pick, I wanted to prove to everybody — it’s a football player.”
If McCloughan is right, Scherff is the kind of guy who can be part of building a winner in Washington. Even if they won’t be winners this year.