Let's wait and see
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In the new media climate, everyone is obsessed about who "won'' in the marketplace before anyone has set foot on field. It's true in all sports, but more so with the NFL, in part because it has that longest offseason and thus the most time to chatter; in part because it's now the nation's most popular league.
So who "won'' the NFL offseason?
1. I don't know.
2. I don't care
3. Maybe we'll know after someone truly wins a Super Bowl.
And in any case, when we anoint a "winner,'' we're almost always wrong.
I live in the New York area, where Woody Johnson and the Jets are doing their best to "win'' the back pages of the tabloids right down to whining about the fact that the Giants "won'' the coin toss to play the first regular-season game in their new stadium -- they play each other in the exhibition opener. It's a one-way "fight'' because the Giants, with a secure owner and a team that's competitive or better in most seasons, don't really care.
Anyway, here's my answer to the question: I don't know who "won,'' other than teams like the Rams and Lions who have nowhere to go but up.
But the Jets, as noted, and the Redskins made the most moves so let's look at what they did.
Washington was 4-12 last season and fired Jim Zorn, hired Mike Shanahan and traded for Donovan McNabb. And Dan Snyder may finally have matured into an owner by holding off on the impulsive moves until after the season.
The Jets were a surprising 9-7 and made it to the AFC championship game, leading to that most dangerous of all assumptions -- that when you exceed expectations one season, you automatically will take the next step the following year. Thus the decision to go out and add LaDainian Tomlinson, Jason Taylor, Santonio Holmes, Antonio Cromartie and anyone else with a "name'' to put themselves "over the top.''
Problems: Tomlinson's yards per carry have dropped by a yard-and-a-half in the last two seasons and Taylor is 35, coming off unproductive years in Washington and back with Miami. Holmes and Cromartie have off-field issues and are being added to a locker room that has lost Thomas Jones, Leon Washington and Alan Faneca, all positive forces.
McNabb is an upgrade over Jason Campbell, but not by that much. Maybe adding him to the Redskins moves them ahead of the Eagles, depending on how Kevin Kolb does in Donovan's place. But this is still a team that needs receivers, offensive line help (a rookie at left tackle is usually not an immediate panacea, no matter how high he's drafted) and probably running backs. RBs (see Tomlinson) run down pretty quickly when they hit their late 20s and early 30s and that's what the Skins have in Clinton Portis, Larry Johnson and Willie Parker.
OK. I can see a scenario where the Redskins make the playoffs and the Jets win the Super Bowl.
I also can see many in which neither happens.
And one that would crush fans of both teams: the Giants win -- they are only two years away from doing it and seemed to have filled all their holes but one. (The hole, at middle linebacker, means they didn't "win'' the offseason.)
In any case, let's wait a while on all this.
Until next February?
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