August 16, 2010

The Redskins Should Pass On Brian Westbrook

Free agent running back Brian Westbrook is expected to announce tonight which team he will play for in 2010, according to several sources close to the veteran running back.

Now it's all well and good if Westbrook wants to pretend that this decision is as monumental as LeBron's. Westbrook has certainly dragged it out about as painfully as LeBron did his and then some.

It irritates me that Westbrook has spent months deliberating between two teams as if he's a major superstar who franchises are bending over backwards to acquire. Granted, other teams have popped up in rumors, but the only ones actually in this race have been St. Louis and Washington. You would expect a quick decision, but Westbrook has yet to choose.

It should be a simple choice. Play or don't play. If you have taken over 60 days to decide whether you are going to play football for another season, maybe you don't have a strong enough commitment anymore. Either that or you don't want to participate in camp.

Skipping training camp has become a disturbing trend in the NFL for all players. Players who know they are guaranteed a roster spot have sought out any opportunity to miss training camp and that's unfortunate. Camp is a grind where you kill your body and your mind all while spending every second with a group of 80 other smelly, angry athletes, but it's necessary.

I imagine that it can't be fun, but it's not supposed to be. It's part of the job. Get over it. If you don't want to be in camp, then football isn't for you. Westbrook must have missed that memo.

Anyway, it makes perfect sense for Westbrook to pick the Redskins. He has played his whole career with Donovan McNabb and his brother Byron plays for the Redskins. It also doesn't hurt that the Redskins are significantly superior to St. Louis.

However, for some reason Westbrook has yet to come to a decision halfway through August, which means the Redskins should have already moved on. They can't afford to wait on one guy who has no concept of what the team has been doing.

Furthermore, last week's preseason game vs. Buffalo showed coaches that they already have three backs who can run the football, and we haven't even seen Larry Johnson. With this in mind, how much would Westbrook actually contribute?

There's no question Westbrook was at one time an explosive, every-down back, but now he's a guy who might do well in a limited role. The Redskins really don't need him since Torain has displayed his pass-catching ability, and that's what makes Westbrook's nonchalance in coming to a decision even more infuriating.

The impression I get from this entire incident is that Westbrook expects teams desperately want him and he has the luxury to take his time and select his destination. Those days are long gone, Brian. Just take what's being offered and quash the ridiculous notion that you are a hot commodity because you're not anymore.

I'm all for an infusion of youth at running back, which is why I like Keiland Williams and Ryan Torain. They represent a future. Brian Westbrook is just an injury-ridden stopgap solution with commitment issues.

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