- - Sunday, March 8, 2020

Searching for the truth at Redskins Park has traditionally been a near-impossible task. Separating fact from fiction is difficult because the fiction often turns out to be fact, and the facts wind up an illusion.

Simplicity is often choked by deceit.

What often seems like the obvious correct decision for the Washington Redskins typically winds up as a self-inflicted wound instead.

It seems like it is business as usual swirling around the front office. Did new coach Ron Rivera meet with Trent Williams or not? Did he want him to return to the team or is he ready to move on with a trade?

What about that No. 2 pick the Redskins have in the upcoming draft? Does Rivera want to draft Tua Tagovailoa at quarterback? If so, did owner Dan Snyder put the brakes on any such consideration to protect his buddy Dwayne Haskins? Do they believe in Haskins? Do they want to trade the pick to gain more picks to help fill needs on the roster?



They have free agent money sticking out of their pockets. Will they sign a quarterback? Will they establish a day care at Redskins Park to convince free agent quarterback and prolific father Philip Rivers to come to Washington?

And hey, what is the deal with Alex Smith anyway?

Most NFL teams engage in a campaign of misdirection and misinformation at this time of year — the “lying season,” as this predraft period is sometime referred to. This is considered good business in the league, although no one is really sure how effective it is.

With the Redskins, it’s different, at least in the past.

What has appeared to be misdirection often turned out to be miserably real. What logically seemed to misinformation would often wind up to be massive mistakes.

Maybe, though, just maybe, under Rivera — a kiss is just a kiss, a sigh is just a sigh.

And the easiest, simplest answer is right in front of everyone’s face — Chase Young.

Part of the speculation dance has been whether or not the Redskins will take the Ohio State defensive star with their No. 2 pick — or else go down any of the other paths laid out earlier here.

So let us look at what we know.

Ron Rivera was a star linebacker at the University of California in the early 1980s. He was named Pac-10 Football Defensive Player of the Year and finished as the school’s all-time leader in sacks and tackles. He once held the single-season sack record with 13.

He played linebacker for nine years in the NFL on one of the storied defenses of all time, those 1980s Chicago Bears units. His mentor on those teams was the legendary defensive coordinator Buddy Ryan. He would go on to become a linebackers coach for the Philadelphia Eagles from 1999 to 2003. His mentor there was the legendary defensive coordinator Jimmy Johnson.

Rivera would return to Chicago to become defensive coordinator on a defense that would be ranked second in the league in 2005 and Rivera was named Assistant Coach of the Year by the Pro Football Writers Association. His Bears defense would be ranked third in the NFL in 2006 and lead the team to the NFC championship in 2006.

He would go on to be linebackers coach and defensive coordinator with the San Diego Chargers from 2007 to 2010 before being hired as head coach of the Carolina Panthers, where he watched as others made the final first-round selections in the front office — sometimes a defensive star, like linebacker Luke Kuechly, or sometimes a standout quarterback like Cam Newton. We don’t know how much input Rivera had in those Carolina draft choices, but we have been led to believe that he will have perhaps the most influence of anyone at Redskins Park in this upcoming draft (save for, of course, the meddling that Snyder’s sycophants will tell us he is no longer engaged in).

Young is considered by draft experts to be a generational defensive talent — better than Nick Bosa, the Ohio State pass rusher from last year’s draft who helped transform the San Francisco 49ers into a Super Bowl defense this past season. ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay said Young is better than either Nick or Joey Bosa coming out of college, and that he would draft him with the first pick even if he needed a quarterback.

Then again, McShay is the one who said Snyder wouldn’t let Rivera or anyone in the Redskins front office draft Tua or any quarterback if they wanted to, protecting Haskins, his buddy. So what does McShay know, right?

The whole Tua debate, real or illusion, just gets in the way of what is right in front of our eyes — Ron Rivera was an All-American defensive player in college. He played on one of the greatest defenses in NFL history. He coached defense at three different stops, and the voices that helped shape him today include Buddy Ryan and Jimmy Johnson.

He’s going to pass on a chance to draft a generational defensive player?

Sometimes a kiss is just a kiss.

⦁ Hear Thom Loverro on 106.7 The Fan Wednesdays and Saturdays and on the Kevin Sheehan podcast.

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