1. I spent a good amount of time yesterday thinking, "Well, it wasn't Rexy's fault." And though I believe that to be true today, the fact remains that under his watch, we turn the ball over. Religiously. As many of you know, I have adopted a real "Love the one you're with" mentality for this 2011 Redskins team. Initially, I think I had actually talked myself into believing that Grossman was going to "become a different quarterback" for Kyle Shanahan and really "resurrect his career." On one hand, I might argue that we should not move to judgment after our team faced arguably one of the NFL's top three or four teams. On the other hand, these games are exactly the kinds of contests that we should be using to judge the progress of our organization. Win or lose, we can learn a lot about ourselves in games against the best. As for Rex, what I am learning is that he is certainly capable of contributing to wins in this offense. He is capable of identifying receivers and routes that come open and he has shown the ability to think and react quickly. While we can not hang the #8 car out to dry on every offensive turnover we make, at some point we should recognize that there is something horribly magical about his...involvement. Despite this, Rex has shown some real grit this season, and more than ever, I do believe he will be the starting quarterback for the Washington Redskins in 2012 on Opening Day. And yes, I know how this debate goes, so let me as clear as possible: Rexy will "beat out" whichever rookie we draft during training camp, but will give way late in games to the newcomer. Assuming we are not undefeated, and if the rookie is ready, I see the Shanahans planning to go there around Week 4-5ish. By that point, Rexy will have done enough on film for the rookie to have a decent sense of what to do and what not to do. And yes...the drama around who should start and when the Shanahans should bench Grossman is going to really, really suck.
2. Has anyone else wised up yet and put their money with mine: on Denver to make it to the AFC Championship Game and then into the Super Bowl? As I watched that game yesterday, I never for a second thought the Broncos were going to lose. I was not alone. That defense just makes plays. And though they received some help from our good friend Marion Barber, they helped themselves by pushing Barber out of bounds and by getting an arm on that ball he fumbled in overtime. Grossman is not cursed, and neither is our franchise, but if you want to consider the kind of attribute that should stand alone at the top of any wish list for quarterbacks, look no further than Tim Tebow. Just as turnovers and close losses tend to follow Rexy around, winning and confidence is what seems to perpetually surround Timmy. Is there a more important stat to judge starting quarterbacks on than wins? Just to close the loop from the first item in today's Sixpack, it is not that Rex Grossman is a loser--he is not a loser. He just isn't the kind of winner that elevates the "winningness" of everyone around him. The good news for us is that Tim Tebow is not the only player who possesses this quality. It does occur naturally in elite, blue-chip quarterbacks. We'll get ours soon enough.
3. The one thing I looked forward to most going into yesterday's game was watching how New England uses Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez. It should be illegal the way they abuse defenses. As the box score would indicate, the show was worth the price of admission. Call me crazy, but I would take an offense based around two tight ends over any other kind in the league. (Insert your own joke here.) I am happy to debate whether Chris Cooley and Fred Davis are the two guys we want there--I am in favor of Chris Cooley being one of them--but having the tight ends as the centerpieces of the attack is the way to go in my opinion. Further, if a tight end is a rookie quarterback's best friend, imagine how happy the rookie would be if we had TWO!
4. At the tailgate yesterday, I found myself having to defend the following statement: "Getting Jarvis Jenkins back next year will be the equivalent of signing a free agent stud defensive tackle." Was I really that far off base? I will grant that he has not been adequately tested yet in the fires of the regular season, but I thought it was becoming clear that he could contribute at a high level. Sure, there is always a question mark when it comes to healing from injuries--especially for a big man--but that wasn't even really the issue I had to argue. I was making the point that because of Jenkins' return, we should be able to look to other positions at the top of the draft. Is that so crazy?
5. For a fanbase that has suffered long droughts with no championships (Red Sox and Patriots for a while there), the New England fans that showed up to FedEx were among the most classless I have seen this year. I sat next to an older gentlemen that was supporting the Patriots and by the end of the game, he was yelling at his fellow fans, "You're embarrassing me and yourselves!" For a team that has been so dominant in recent years, I expected a certain air of superiority, but what I saw was a bit shocking. There's a place for that kind of dirty, intentionally confrontational, disgraceful behavior: it's called Philadelphia. Perhaps I just expected more from fans who have weathered dark times and possibly could relate to our plight. To all of you Patriots fans who make your way to this page today: If you're scratching your head wondering how you got beat by Tebow next week, it's called KARMA.
6. Roy Helu continues to make the case that he can be "our guy" next season. This is yet another very popular debate I gladly enter into frequently. I am good with Helu. I would love to go with him in 2011. Are there still a lot of you out there that only see him as a quality ingredient in a running back platoon? I also believe in Tim Hightower and I remain hopeful he comes back next year fully healthy--we will very much need him. There is something about Helu though that gives him the edge for me...maybe it is simply because we drafted him. Before we waste too much energy on this though, think back 12 months to when Ryan Torain was the "can't miss, unquestioned returning starter" for Mike Shanahan.