During his time as a Redskin, Carlos Rogers had an up and down career to say the least.
He was drafted 9th overall out of Auburn in the 2005 NFL draft ahead of guys like DeMarcus Ware, Shawne Merriman, and Aaron Rogers, but he never really lived up to his potential.
There’s no question he had talent, and his size and physicality were attractive as well. There was one problem though. He couldn’t catch an interception to save his life.
On top of that, he was forced to go through the same coach and defensive coordinator carrousel as every other Redskins player over the last ten to twelve years, so he never really got the consistent coaching and development he needed.
The relationship between Rogers and the organization, as well as the fans, steadily began to sour due to his consistent under-peformance and lack of turnovers forced, and it soon became obvious that he wouldn’t be back this season.
Head Coach Mike Shanahan and General Manager Bruce Allen had no problem letting him walk and went out and got Josh Wilson from the Ravens, meanwhile Rogers signed with the San Francisco 49ers.
And here we are.
Where are we, you ask?
Well Josh Wilson, along with his fellow free agent acquisition O.J. Atogwe, have both been a disappointment in the defensive backfield so far this season.
Rogers, on the other hand, is having a career year in San Francisco with three interceptions through seven games, including a 31 yard touchdown return. He had eight interceptions in six years here in Washington.
So what’s the difference? Why has Rogers, like many other former Redskins, found such immediate success after going to another organization?
Yesterday, Lavar Arrington and Chad Dukes at 106.7 The Fan asked him the same question, and I must say it was one of the more depressing interviews (from a Redskins fan’s perspective) I’ve heard in a long time.
He wasn’t disrespectful. He didn’t have any scathing remarks for anyone in particular. He simply spoke very broadly about the differences between the Redskins and the 49ers.
He talked about how his coaches listen to him. There’s far less pressure and scrutiny on a day-to-day, week-to-week basis. The game has become fun again. If he makes a mistake, he doesn’t get called out in the media. He’s not worried about losing his job at the end of the season because of some incoming free agency splash. He’s not worried about losing his coach and having to start over, year after year.
He’s able to play to his strengths (man coverage) instead of being forced to fit into a narrow scheme.
I know some people are going to say this is a bit of a case of sour grapes. I’ll be the first to admit that I was okay with letting Rogers go, mainly because I figured they’d replace him with a solid corner.
He knew he needed a change and so did we. Unfortunately, it has become quite apparent that his presence in the secondary is sorely missed.
DeAngelo Hall is a play-maker, but he’s inconsistent. Josh Wilson, when he’s healthy, has proven to really only be a third corner at best.
Jim Haslet’s defense is based on pressure. When Brian Orakpo and Ryan Kerrigan don’t get to the quarterback, the weakness at cornerback becomes obvious.
Again, it’s hindsight, I know. We thought Josh Wilson would be better, and no one would have expected Rogers to play as well as he has, but the question still remains.
What is it about this organization that stifles the development of its players? Why does it seem like there’s some kind of dark cloud hanging over this team?
Rogers isn’t the first example of this situation either. We’ve seen it with guys like Antonio Pierce, Ryan Clark, Brandon Lloyd, and (gasp) Chad Reinart who is now the starting left guard in Buffalo and did just fine against the Redskins defense last Sunday.
Even guys like Justin Tryon and Devin Thomas are contributing for the New York Giants.
There are more examples too: Lavar Arrington, Stephan Davis, Andre Carter, Brian Mitchell, Champ Bailey.
I know the NFL is a business and tough decisions are faced year in and year out. I know that all of the examples above can be analyzed and categorized, and it’s not cut and dry.
But I also know that the Redskins have been a mediocre NFL franchise since their last Super Bowl victory in 1991. And it’s only gotten worse since Daniel Snyder bought the team.
They’re doing something wrong. Maybe they’re doing a lot of things wrong.
I’m sure they’re doing some things right too, but for now, the bad is outweighing the good.