1. This weekend we set our clocks back one hour. Redskins fans feel like they set their clocks back one decade. I wrote this back in May when I announced that starting John Beck for the season was the surest path to a top first-round draft pick in 2012...perhaps Andrew Luck:
Redskins fans can and will accept a down year if they believe that there is truly something to be gained from the experience. From Bruce Allen's most recent draft strategy, to the willingness to sacrifice John Beck's life in 2011, I think we can all agree there is some real growth going on inside those walls at Redskins Park.
Will I be there rooting my butt off for John Beck this season? You bet I will. Will I get carried away if and when we win a game or two in September that causes people to think we could be "a year early" in our progress? You all know that I will. But if we take our lumps in 2011 the way Mother Nature (and Mike Shanahan) intended, we could be set to add the last couple pieces in the 2012 draft that just may catapult the Redskins into a Golden Age.
The next logical question today is: Do we believe there is "truly something to be gained from this experience?" I do believe it, but I am starting to wonder if it is just a defense mechanism I have learned over time to cope with being a diehard supporter of the Washington Redskins. Today's Sixpack is not designed to be a downer, but times have a way of inserting unique prisms through which we filter our personal views. Whether or not this team is on the right track, fans are waking up to the same Monday morning we have woken up to for nearly EIGHTEEN YEARS. Think about it...since Joe Gibbs left the first time, we have been a playoff participant only three times (twice under Joe Gibbs Part Deux). If the message from Bruce Allen, Mike Shanahan, and/or Dan Snyder is "Be Patient" they need to be very careful in the way they put that message out there. To me, that would only fan the flames of discontent. Someone needs to provide more than just "Be Patient."
2. John Beck is not the problem, but the more we learn about him, the more it seems apparent that he is not the solution either. As yours truly predicted, he is making the ultimate sacrifice in 2011. One play from John Beck that stands out to me as a testament to his toughness came against Buffalo when, as he ran towards the sideline, he had a chance to get out of bounds to avoid a hit. He chose to deliver a little bit of a hit himself to try and extend the play for an extra half second. Thanks to that play...nevermind, we still got shut out. I always kind of thought that Mike Shanahan was using 2011 to find the guy that was going to be able to start in 2012 while he groomed somebody. That search is ongoing. Guess what? It still could be Rex Grossman.
3. Kyle Shanahan...I get it. You're not going to run. I haven't seen that many naked backfields since "Big Butt Lovers 7" (if you don't watch the first six, you'll really be lost from a plot standpoint). On one hand, the 49ers are among the stingiest defenses in the league when it comes to running the ball. On the other hand, did abandoning the run tilt the balance of offensive power in our direction? (Did we abandon the run?) Did all that motioning out to empty the backfield do that much for us?
4. It did a LOT for Roy Helu, who set the franchise-record for receptions in a game. I choose to believe that Roy Helu can be a physical ballcarrier in the NFL. I am sure he could anchor a rushing attack with 20 or more carries per game. I don't see how that strategy could have worked for us yesterday, so...if Kyle Shanahan decided to feature Helu in this fashion against San Francisco, a hat tip to Junior is due. But if John Beck was finding him because of a lack of any other options all day long, then we have big problems. SPOILER ALERT!!
5. Dan Snyder has to be madder than hell today. He has (allegedly) done everything we asked him to do: step back, hire a GM, and let his coaches/front office run the show. The problem is that this show is a freaking rerun! There could very well be sunnier skies ahead for all of us, but you have to be able to see through some pretty thick clouds to see them. Patience is not likely to be listed as Dan Snyder's most abundant quality. I still don't believe Mike Shanahan's job is in jeopardy, but Shanny better remember: he has only been here for one and a half seasons. Snyder has been sitting in the owner's box for a long time now, and he has a real good idea of what "shitty" looks like. I'm not saying he will act impetuously and go on a firing tear at Redskins Park...but it is in his playbook.
6. We benched our starting quarterback with a 3-2 record. We turned to a rookie in his 30's based on the judgement of a coach that has built a reputation on being able to size up quarterbacks. The truth is that our offense has not kept us in any of the three games that John Beck has started. We got shut out by a defense that was ranked worst in the league at the time we played them. The experimenting with experiments has blown up in our faces. We have made fewer points over the last month or so than the entire field of Republican candidates during the same timeframe. (Target of opportunity...the Democratic field will take their turn making us cringe soon enough.) This fanbase is not just restless because Mike Shanahan and company have failed to create the right recipe yet--we have been eating the football equivalent of table scraps for YEARS. Bruce Allen, Mike Shanahan and their staffs need to understand that right now, their faces are just the latest to be attached to the train wreck that has been our football-rooting lives for a long time. Don't mistake our punch-drunkenness for a blank check and an open-ended ticket to stay as long as you want. Don't tell us to be patient. Just do your jobs while we do what we do EVERY YEAR IN NOVEMBER...console each other and try our best to look forward to those good days ahead. There have to be good days ahead...right?
See? Not a downer at all...