Breaking news, everyone! The Redskins looked awful and lost. Again.
I love writing. I love the Washington Redskins. Yet, somehow, writing about the Redskins each week has become a painful exercise.
Somehow? Oh, I know how.
They're terrible. Did I mention that already?
Why bother with some kind of in-depth analysis? I don't need to break down the 27-6, kick-in-the-balls debacle (I've used that word a lot this year) against the 49ers. Everything we needed to know about this team we probably knew by halftime of the Green Bay game. They struggle with coverage and tackling, their special teams are routinely bad, and the offense is inconsistent at best.
Last night, the offense would have been happy with "inconsistent." At least that implies intermittent success.
Oh, and can we all stop pretending that Robert Griffin III didn't come back too soon? Or do we have to wait until the off-season to admit that he's been playing hurt all year?
Suggesting that Kirk Cousins take over for a healthy RGIII is absurd. A healthy RGIII is a better quarterback than Cousins (and I say that as a fan of Cousins' who thinks he's good enough to be an NFL starter).
But this isn't a healthy RGIII.
Washington had RGIII skip preseason in the hopes that the extra month would be just enough time for him to be ready to play at the level he did in 2012. But a blown-out knee is a blown-out knee. Hoping four weeks would make a difference is like thinking you can ace a test by getting up thirty minutes early on the day of the exam and cramming.
It was never meant to be. If he remains the starter for the rest of 2013, Griffin will finish with more passing yards and more touchdowns than he had a year ago. The only problem will be that the team will have lost somewhere in the vicinity of 12 games.
Here's another newsflash: Whether Griffin and Shanahan are best friends, or whether his linemen help Griffin up off the ground at the same rate that other quarterbacks' linemen do, or whether Griffin uses the wrong turn-of-phrase when describing why that week's opponent has beaten Washington - doesn't matter. All of these are collateral issues. They're issues designed to give writers - some of whom are very well-paid - something to discuss in their weekly columns.
Because, you know - you have to write about something.
But those issues matter very little. What does matter? Having talented football players on your roster. Having a full salary cap figure with which to build that roster. Not mismanaging the clock with alarming frequency. Blocking, tackling, and avoiding turnovers. That stuff matters.
A coach and a quarterback having a great rapport is a plus, but it isn't necessary. Ask Phil Simms. A quarterback being a humble, good guy can help, but it isn't necessary. Ask Tom Brady. Or, hell, on the flipside, ask Tim Tebow. A quarterback saying all the right things is fine (Hi, Peyton), but it isn't necessary. Ask Joe Namath or this guy.
Not only are these aspects of RGIII blown out of proportion, but they ultimately have very little relevance. What does? That knee. The lack of reps and rhythm in the preseason.
Oh, and a bad defense and special teams. That, too.
I'm not one of those who is clamoring for Cousins, but, either way, we probably won't see him start a game this year unless Griffin gets (more) injured again. Why? Because starting Cousins over an ostensibly healthy Griffin will make the Redskins look really stupid. That move would be tantamount to an admission that Griffin was hurt all along and shouldn't have been playing. If that's the case, then Washington flushed a season down the toilet for the sake of selling a narrative manufactured out of something between fiction and unbridled optimism.
Mike Shanahan will be Shanacanned if Washington doesn't at least beat Dallas and the Giants the rest of the way. It's very tough to see him sticking around if the Redskins finish 5-11 or worse.
Jeepers, and now I've fallen into the trap. Do we really need another hot take on how Griffin is semi-secretly injured, the Redskins are a bad football team, and Shanahan's days may be numbered? No. We don't.
So, if the Redskins beat New York on Sunday Night Football, I'm sure I'll write about the thrill of victory, unicorns, rainbows, and so on. If they lose to the Giants on in typical fashion, however - something like 24-14 with one of the touchdowns coming with under three minutes to go - I'm going to write about something else.
No, short of a win, I'll find a non-topical subject to fill a column next week. It may be some memorable game in a playoff season. It may be a favorite Redskins player of the past. It may be the nickname thing yet again. It may be the unexpected debauchery at Joe Gibbs' 73rd birthday party.
But it won't be about this hopeless, hapless, anything-but-fun bunch.
Enough is enough.