I'd like to start off by saying i am a life long Redskins fan from the Hampton Roads area and have been following Hogs Haven for a little over a year. After a season of highs and lows i thought i would give a review from that perspective... here goes.
As our season ended last year i could not help to wonder if the Shanahan era would be just like the Zorn era, after two season it was starting to look worse. I remember reading everyone's analysis on Hogs of who we should draft as QB, i don't follow college football that much so i knew a couple of names but had only seen a couple highlight plays so basically my info came from here. A couple of guys were high on cousins and Weeden (that was assuming RG3 would be gone by time pick #6 rolled around), i don't know much but to me Weeden didn't look worth drafting based on what i saw of him at the combine but oh that Robert.... i watched his pro day and i know it was scripted but he was really accurate and at the combine he was REALLY fast, to me that was a no brainier. When the trade of the century happened i was exited, yes we gave up a lot but look what we were getting. The offseason pick up of Garcon and Morgan were exciting as well, i knew Garcon was going to have an impact and being a Hokie fan i was glad to see Morgan too (although i thought we paid him too much). I think around this time cap-gate was going on and my hatred for the Giants was beginning to boil over.
I watch opening draft night and was ecstatic we basically already knew who we were getting but actually seeing that dream come to fruition was awesome. A few rounds later Kirk Cousin was taken, some guys on Hogs were talking big things about cousins and i #1 was shocked he went so late and #2 surprised we drafted him. I thought this was interesting and if it was me i would have gone after a DB or something but i was not going to criticize because we had our guy and i had already bought in to the Shanaplan. The other guys we drafted were not really blips on my radar at the time so i didn't really have any opinions on them.
TRAINING CAMP & PRE-SEASON
In the lulls of the off-season i was clinging on to any morsel of information i could find from any source, i wanted to know how RG3 was progressing and hoping he was not going to be the next Heath Shuler (unfortunately i still have his jersey). Of course the coach said he was doing great and he was named the starter (honestly how could you not make him the starter considering so much was given up for him) so i was content with how things were going and jealous of all the guys that went to training camp and got autographs and picture with players. i guess maybe i never really thought about training camp too much in the past and never realized that some of it is open to the public. Needless to say, i am exited for the training camp move to Richmond, that makes it only a two hour drive my house.
I watched all the pre-season games (of course) and three things really stuck with me, RG3 didn't seem all that great, (at the time i was hoping this was most likely because he was still learning the plays and adapting, i had no idea the preseason was just a shell game for the opening game in New Orleans), the second was i felt like our 2nd stringers with better than any other 2nd stringers we played (i was shocked and optimistic that our first team group was going to be good), third was Alfred Morris. I remember watching the games and hearing Theisman saying how he liked how Morris was running and the first guy to hit him never brought him down, needless to say i was impressed. My season prediction was 10-6 but i didn't think we would win the east and had doubts that would be enough to get into the playoffs.
THE FIRST 9 GAMES
The New Orleans was a high, i thought that RG3 was going to be good but i had no idea he would have the day he had on the road in New Orleans in his first game. WOW. The Rams game was a huge disappointment losing 2 big defensive players in that game was devastating but i was confident in our backups, Josh Morgan really made us lose that game. By time the falcons game rolled around, i thought we had a good chance to win even though they were undefeated. When RG3 went out, i knew we wouldn't win that game but i thought overall the team played pretty well and if RG3 had stayed in we would have won, no doubt. The first Giants game was a low, we had that game wrapped up and Eli and Cruz gave us a wet willy, atomic wedgie and a swirly all at once. By the end of the panthers game, we had reached a new low. Everyone wanted Haslet's head on a stick and the Shanahans kicked out of town, i still believed in the shanaplan but the re-evaluating players the for next season comment i thought was on par. I kept reminding myself that Shanahan told Snider he needed 5 years.
Thanksgiving day i was surrounded by cowboys fans, i married a cowboys fan and all of her family is basically cowboys fans so that night was extra special. i was trying not to gloat but the magical RG3 did it again and i had no shame in rubbing it in, it was great. The second Giants game could not have gone any better and the buzz was building, this team had stirred something up in the bye week and was on a hot steak, i was just hoping it would take us to the playoffs. On the calendar i pretty much marked the ravens game a loss, and boy was i surprised when Cousins came in and proved himself. this was the first time i was starting to realize this team was more than just RG3, they were all starting to play as a unit and i started to see why the Cousins pick was so great for us. Not to mention at this point in the season Alfred Morris was becoming the best sleeper RB ever. After the browns game, i knew this team was something special, having your back up rookie QB go on the road and play the way we did was amazing, it was about this time my wife's uncle(he is the only redskins fan in the family) said he had an extra ticket to the redskins/cowboys game and offered it to me. Dec 30 arrived and we were on our way to the big game, it was my 3rd redskins game i have seen in person and man was it amazing. It was then i realized you see so much more of the game on TV but the experience in the stadium cannot be replaced. Random ass people were giving me high fives and hugs it was a great experience. This is when Alfred Morris went from the other rookie to superstar and he deserves. He is such a great player that is so deserving and humble and i forgot to mention NFC EAST CHAMPS!
After the first two touchdowns, i was thinking the Seahawks are supposed to have this great defense where is it? When i saw RG3 hobbling around after the second touchdown i was concerned but confident in Cousins and figured if he was really hurt he would come out and we would change plans and roll with Cousins. Once we got about half way through the second quarter i realized the offense was stalling because Griffin was really hurt. Again i am no football expert but to me it looked like he was releasing the ball early because his plant leg was in pain and that was why all of his throws were sailing high. At this point i didn't understand #1 why he was in there and #2 how come the offense didn't turn into Kirk Cousins style offense with the middle cross passes and the bootlegs. Also, why did they abandon the run? When the low snap came and the infamous knee bend happened the game was already over in my mind. There was still time on the clock but the offense was way out of sync at this point and they had the momentum.
This season was a roller coaster ride but a great one. At the very least this season has exceeded most peoples expectations and even though it did end in a loss and with some tragedy, we have nothing to be sad about. We have our QB(s) and have solidified the RB position and many others. The defense we all were saying was suspect rose to the occasion in the last half of the season, especially in the last game. That game was not lost because of the defense, the offense had no production after RG3's injury and that is the reason we lost. I don't want to place blame on Shanahan because RG3 is a competitor he was high as a kite on his adrenaline, he was probably in pain but didn't realize the extent of his injury because of it. The bottom line is competitors will never admit that they cant play unless they physically cannot move, they are not wired that way (this is good and bad, we have seen both this season). I hope that in the future Shanahan can use his better judgement in those situations and do what is best for the team and not let the heat of the moment take over. Hopefully RG3 has minimal damage to his knee and can return by the start of next season. Regardless, he has re-inspired the franchise and the fan-base, not to mention we are finally getting some respect from the media and other players. It was one hell of a ride and a great season with many team and NFL records broken by a team just about everyone has counted out for the past 2 decades.