1. I have found that Labor Day is more of a 12-pack kind of day, but ever since installing a beer tap in my basement, my keg-to-cans conversion is all screwed up. The best thing to do is just ride it out, trust that you are drinking enough beer, and hit Tuesday with an abbreviated Sixpack of love.
2. I think one of the more entertaining events on the Washington Redskins calendar each year is the day that Shanny puts out his depth chart prior to Week One. While there is little debate over who is or who should be starting at many positions, there is always one position that gets special attention: the running back position. The main reason for this is that Mike Shanahan loves him some third-string running backs. It would seem that whomever he names his starter is not destined to be the starter for long. More to the point, he uses his stable of running backs however he chooses to, independent of any actual depth chart status. For what it's worth, I think Evan Royster looks just fine at the top of the chart, and something deep inside me tells me that coaches like Shanahan give preference to the man who ended the season as the starter--assuming the guy is still up to snuff and shows what he has in the preseason.
3. Please don't take this as anti-Royster rhetoric, but it says here that Roy Helu will be the leading rusher this season for the Redskins. Injuries will of course be the primary factor in this, but my gut says that Shanny is going to work him in early and often. I see Robert Griffin and Roy Helu hooking up in the passing game this season frequently. You have to give Royster a lot of props for the confidence the coaches have placed in him and his pass blocking ability.
4. Does anyone actually believe that Mike Shanahan isn't DYING to get Alfred Morris in the game? A sixth-round pick that any team in the league could have landed before the Skins got him...on Shanny's opening day lineup...is a LOCK to get playing time. I have been super-impressed with the way this Hall of Fame coach (probably) has checked his ego at times here in D.C. but Alfred Morris is like the Stillwater t-shirt from the movie Almost Famous-- he allows Mike Shanahan to say what he desperately wants to say (without saying anything). And another thing...Kirk Cousins' looks have become a problem!
5. We will talk about the Saints game more as the week unfolds, but the closer we get to the game, the more I think we have a chance to win. I have spent the summer looking at this game as a "learning experience" for our young guys, figuring that Drew Brees was not going to let a team like ours come into New Orleans and put them in an 0-1 hole. That could still be true, but isn't it also true that the distractions on that team are very real? Isn't it also true that their defense could have some difficulty with Griffin running on that turf? Isn't it also true that Shanahan tends to do well when he has eight months to gameplan? Isn't it also true that I'll say anything to convince myself that we have a chance?
6. I'm standing firm on my 9-7 prediction. We're leaner, meaner, younger and dumber. By "dumber," I mean that this team is largely devoid of the institutional memory of how bad we have been over the last decade. With Chris Cooley's departure, one of the last tangible links to our recent craptacular ways has been severed. This is a small thing that could turn out to be a big thing...right now we are still very much a team with a LOT to prove. This job is made somewhat easier when you become younger and (hopefully) hungrier. There are plenty of issues to focus on that make my argument a tough sell. Still...there are reasons to hope.