David Richard-USA TODAY Sports
Could it be that the Washington Redskins--just a month removed from "evaluation mode"--are poised to crash the party at the top of the heap in the NFL?
1. Good football teams control their own destiny with two weeks to go in the season. Good football teams prepare themselves in the offseason to have players ready to go if and when injuries strike at key positions. Good football teams win games on the road in December with postseason chances hanging in the balance. Good football teams are dominant on at least one side of the ball and are adequate enough on the other to not blow it. Good football teams take an opponent's best shots early in the game without losing their cool, their focus or their intensity. It seems insane to label the Washington Redskins "good" after knocking off a young and still-not-there-yet Cleveland team. Given the situation and all the surrounding circumstances, I am left with little else to conclude.
2. Despite the understandable anxiety that accompanies trotting out a rookie quarterback on the road with the playoffs on the line, I think we all felt good enough about Kirk Cousins by the time kickoff rolled around. It was far more likely that we would lose the game on defense than on offense, even if that sounds ridiculous. By the time we had laid 38 points on the Browns, I sat back and allowed true amazement to set in. Let me get this straight: we lose the one guy with the one-in-a-million skill set that has been making this whole thing go and we still light up the scoreboard like that? Think about how many times we have placed our hopes in a "new" quarterback over the years. Whether it was in the first week or the fifteenth week, the Redskins are no strangers to being held hostage by unproven commodities. Having Robert Griffin III and Kirk Cousins on the same roster is a luxury that doesn't seem like it would have possible under previous front office regimes.
3. When a certain general manager used a trio of second round picks to rebuild our receiving corps a handful of years ago, there was no shortage of criticism directed his way. Nobody can ever say it wasn't bold, but nobody will ever say it was smart. I bring this up for two reasons. The first is that--no thanks to Vinny Cerrato--our receiving corps looks to be set for a while. Pierre Garcon, Josh Morgan, Leonard Hankerson and Aldrick Robinson look like a very decent group that can be supplemented with a veteran free agent and the continued presence of a guy like Santana Moss if he stays healthy and able. Bruce Allen could choose to gamble in the seventh round and find a developmental project if he wanted to, but there is no immediate need to spend valuable draft resources on the wide receiver position. The second reason I bring it up is because Shanahan and Allen double-dipped in the most recent draft in an effort to rebuild the quarterbacking corps here. There was plenty of angst surrounding the selection of Cousins, even though unlike Cerrato's strategy, these quarterbacks were drafted in different rounds. To me, this is a shining example of the order our front office seems to have now that it did not have just a few short years ago. I have been outspoken over the years about how the year-round circus surrounding our organization ends up on display on Sundays, so it would be unfair to fail to point out how a much more sound front office situation is currently very clearly on display these days.
4. As Kirk Cousins rolled to his right and flipped that deep ball to Leonard Hankerson early in the contest, my initial reaction was, "This is where things get bad." After all, when a rookie quarterback is running for his life and decides to throw deep across his body (it was sort of across his body), there is a pretty solid chance of something bad happening. I only say that because...you know...that has been our experience. As the ball floated over a trio of defenders and into the outstretched hands of Hank the Tank, the party was officially underway. I mean, if our second-string rookie quarterback is going to get that, you have to feel like it is going to be our day.
5. I know this season has only spanned fourteen weeks and two days so far, but to me it seems like nineteen weeks and five days. The first week seemed like two weeks and the second week seemed like five days. And the next five weeks seemed like six weeks and the eighth week seemed like nine days. And the ninth week I went to see my mother and that seemed just like a week, and then I came back and later in the tenth week, on the weekend, when we had the bye, that started seeming like two weeks, so by that Sunday night, it seemed like two weeks spilling over into the next week and that started seeming like four weeks, so at the end of the eleventh week on into the twelfth week, it seemed like a total of seventeen weeks. And then two weeks ago felt like eight days, while this week just seemed like one week. I have it written down, but I can show it to you if you want to see it.
6. I want to give my daughter as much credit as possible for her undefeated Redskins record so far in life. Unlike my first two children, both of whom were born in the offseason, my newest child had the courage to enter this world in the midst of a 3-6 deficit. She didn't land on Redskins Nation. Redskins Nation landed on her. Through it all, she has maintained a quiet, almost stoic resolve, making her way through each opponent one diaper at a time. That said, at some point, the playoff beard that I started growing before her birth in mid-November has to start getting its due. One thing is for sure: between dealing with a newborn that I am partially responsible for creating and having to look at my scraggly beard, my wife has likely never been less attracted to me.