As Redskins fans nervously prepare for the game today against Dallas, visions of a holiday season full of meaningful football dance in their heads.
1. Happy Thanksgiving to all of you. I have been looking forward to this particular Thanksgiving ever since the 2012 schedule came out. (I should also point out that in addition to having an anticipated game to watch, I also have a new daughter to watch it with--and she is undefeated so far in her entire life.)
2. I watch just about every second of each Thanksgiving day game every year. Yes, that includes the Dallas Cowgirls and their annual game. Like many of you, I'm just a junkie. It also helps that I root my butt off for Dallas' opponent. This year, that will yet again be true.
3. I love traditions, but I have always wondered about the equity of giving Detroit and Dallas the only Thanksgiving home dates every year. I think my biggest issue is that I hate that Dallas gets something so cool and we don't, like the way you begrudge your sibling getting something that you are never, ever going to get. The thing is, at the end of the day, I know in my heart that football in Detroit and Dallas on Thanksgiving is just right. It is the world I desperately need to live in. It sets up the rare opportunity each year that the Redskins could--just maybe--be the ones chosen to travel to Dallas to take on the Cowgirls in front of the nation. Don't get me wrong, I would LOVE to host a Thanksgiving tailgate at FedEx for the next 50 years, but I suppose I'll just have to settle for a lifetime of family gatherings around the dinner table celebrating each other and all the things we have to be thankful for--I all of a sudden feel sorry for all those folks in Detroit and Dallas.
4. I feel like I have billed too many games over the years as opportunities for the Redskins to change the national perception of the team. One more time can't hurt, can it? Even the most casual football fans will be paying attention to our team today. That has not been the case for, well, decades. If we show well in this game, the conversation around dinner tables all over the country will be, "Those Redskins...they really seem to be getting it...finally." Why does this matter, you may ask? If you are reading this and don't know the answer, please find your nearest Redskins fan and ask how the average conversation went between them and any other NFL fan from say, 1993-2011. It matters.
5. The arrival of Robert Griffin III has ushered in a whole new way of looking at the burgundy and gold already. He is the kind of megastar that has drawn the focus of the country in a way that guys like Jason Campbell, Patrick Ramsey, Mark Brunell, Rob Johnson, Tony Banks, John Friesz or Danny Wuerffel never could. (So I cherry-picked some names there. At least I didn't bring up Jeff George.)
6. RG3 makes it easy to forget about the other pieces that are in place. My hope is that every once and again, our opponents forget about them, too. Alfred Morris looks like the kind of player that can succeed on this team for years to come. Before I name any receivers (especially the most polarizing name I have in my arsenal--Hank the Tank), it seems that Griffin has the ability to make even marginally talented guys shine on any given week. For all of our woes at the receiver position over the years, the deficiency at the quarterback spot was always the biggest factor. No, we never had a guy like Calvin Johnson, but without the kind of guy in the pocket making the right decisions, we didn't have a chance for a marginally talented individual to really turn into something.
7. The turmoil surrounding our defense is approaching unreal movie script territory. The DeAngelo Hall fiasco recently is only the latest in a series of on- and off-field events that have worked to tell a story that none of us ever wanted to hear. That said, this unit is really fighting. Look around at what is happening in other cities. Who would have thought the Texans defense could get abused by Jacksonville the way they did last week? Even the 49ers took some lumps against the Rams recently. In Seattle, a very good defense is showing signs that it can get exploited. Things changes during the course of a season. I don't see us all of a sudden becoming a top defense in the league, but it is at least possible that they can continue improving enough to not be solely responsible for losses. By the day's end, this will look either insanely stupid, or stupidly prophetic.
8. The good news is that the turmoil in Big D is just about as intense as it is here. One of the differences is that they have had their "pieces" in place for quite some time. They are coming off of a win that Tony Romo basically had to defend in press conferences. HA! Making excuses for wins...now that is a sign of distress. How hungry can you be for any kind of win you can get when you know in the back of your mind that you are not being judged for winning but by the way you won? If we started doing that around here, we would all be wearing strait-jackets.
9. Wouldn't it be something if Brandon Banks came through for us today? No, I am not predicting it, and no, I don't think he will make our team in 2013. Banks' tenure has been less than noteworthy, but if he breaks a game-deciding touchdown run against the Cowgirls on Thanksgiving, that YouTube highlight will live forever. These are the days when franchise legends are born. These are the days when, no matter what you do after this game, your triumphs today will live forever and cause legions of fans to forget all prior fumbles, drops and disappearances. Come on Brandon...be the legend we all know you are capable of being.
10. Eat up. Get your dinner in early boys and girls. But be careful and don't load up on the turkey. I don't want the tryptophan to cause you to pass out and miss one of the greatest chapters in the early years of the Griffin-led Redskins. It doesn't matter that we are 0-6 against Dallas on Thanksgiving. As our long-time reader and ombudsman Dr. WNC told us earlier this week: "RG3 is 0-0 against Dallas on Thanksgiving." The slate is clean indeed, my friends. Our best days are most certainly ahead of us. One of them is already upon us.
I am thankful for all of you and for this community. To everyone out there enjoying this great day--even the folks rooting for Dallas--I wish you and your families a safe and happy Thanksgiving.