1. I am putting out my annual record prediction post in this week's Ten Yard Fight, and the only sneak peek I will provide you with today is that, for the first time in years, I am deviating from my standing 10-6 prognostication. Please allow me to explain myself. You know how they say that every team and its fans "believe they have a chance" in August? I don't think that is necessarily true, especially given the state of things in Redskins Nation over the last decade. I have spent more time believing that I should believe, choosing to embrace the "season of believing" that has become so commonplace around the NFL each summer. The result of this was an annual prediction of 10-6 that drove people like Kevin crazy. It became schtick as well as a crutch. Please know (as a good portion of you already do) that I was rarely capable of looking at a schedule and identifying ten wins. Still, I could not bring myself to predict 5-11, or 6-10...to me, that was a rough equivalent of asking a one-armed man to tell the world how many arms he possessed. I much preferred the stark reality of 5-11 in December as opposed to August. Further, digging into the prospects of a team that had determined that it made zero sense to draft offensive linemen was the rough equivalent of slamming a window shut on my beanbag (oh Vinny...you diabolical bastard).
2. Precipitating my change in preseason philosophy is a fundamentally changed answer to the same question I have asked myself each year I have gone through this exercise: "Is our starting quarterback capable of meaningfully contributing to wins without being largely responsible for every loss?" Not only am I trying to determine if our "guy" can win games, I am trying to determine if he is going to give games away. The resulting plus or minus number becomes the premise of any serious record prediction.
3. You all know I love to be the first one to point out how wrong I am sometimes. It gives me no great pleasure to report that I assigned a +4 to Donovan McNabb. I thought that Don Burgundy would win four more games than he would be tagged with losing. Given we finished 6-10 (and that Rex Grossman started the last three games of the season, going 1-2), I am hard-pressed to argue too vigorously that I was at all close on my number.
4. What am I doing? I need to be able to fill up ten slots on Wednesday...better save some bullets. Speaking of bullets, did anyone see the one that Robert Griffin threw to Pierre Garcon on the sideline that a replacement ref called incomplete? I spent 2.8 seconds lamenting the call, since it is preseason and I did not have the seven hours of tailgating I normally have before games that tends to fuel my customary lamentation. That single pass spoke very loudly to me. (Andrew Luck made a similar throw to an out pattern in his debut that stuck in the hands of the receiver as he fell out of bounds.)
5. We believe we have the best quarterback out of the 2012 NFL Draft. There's no shame in our game. We got a ringer. I am very much looking forward to the constant comparison between Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin over the course of their careers, because I think both will be very good and we should consider ourselves fortunate to be involved in such a debate. The advantage Griffin has is that he is not being held up to the standard a Hall of Famer has just finished maintaining for fourteen seasons.
6. Alright, here's your ridiculous post-game thought that I saved for after most of you have stopped reading: Alfred Morris--if healthy--looks like starter material for years to come. A lot of chapters are yet to be written in the Alfred Morris saga, but to me--and I say this with all the confidence of a man who was optimistic when Steve Spurrier came to town--Morris looks like he can carry the load for a whole season.