1. Black Tuesday. That is what I called yesterday, and that is the reason for the...ahem...light amount of content on Hogs Haven yesterday. Even though a losing record remains avoidable (mathematically speaking), it is difficult to find an enthusiastic pocket of Redskins fans that still believe a miracle is possible. I can recall in years past (think decades ago) when I refused to give up hope until the team was officially AND mathematically eliminated. Even then I would allow myself to wonder what might happen if, say, a playoff team decided that the NFL was no longer the business they wanted to be in. What if a natural disaster struck and an entire team was somehow unable to participate? What if "someone" stole all the pads, helmets and jerseys from an entire organization, leaving them completely unable to suit up and play? I mean, these are all things that could result in an otherwise eliminated team being thrust into the postseason. Unfortunately, the Washington Redskins would still have been about fourth or fifth down the list if any of those things occurred. As a person with a great deal of experience being fourth or fifth down a girl's list when it came time to get a date to a wedding or other party, I figured it was okay to be hopeful. (After all ladies--some weddings just aren't for the guy you really like, are they? Better to take the guy you think your family will like, right? Better to take the guy who won't ask every overweight relative when the baby is due, right? Great...we're comparing the Redskins franchise to the one guy every girl knows that won't drool on his tux or throw up in the parking lot. Baby steps, I guess.)
2. I know that the Navajo Code Talkers video has gotten a lot of coverage already, but I am still chuckling out loud at the size of the balls on Dan Snyder for putting that thing on at the stadium. I was sitting in my seat at FedEx as it started playing, and almost right away, I was simply amazed. There was a very strong military theme all evening at the stadium, and I always appreciate it when our teams focus on those deserving folks. The Code Talkers bit was absolutely consistent with that theme, but at the same time, it was also consistent with a certain message that has, at times, been delivered in CAPS. Let me be clear when I say that the video did not upset my sensibilities, but any half-wit could see through to the agenda on this one. The only thing that I was upset about was that the video did not end with this testimonial delivered by Dan Snyder: "One of my best friends is a Native American." I think I was still just ecstatic that the Code Talkers video took the place of an Empire Today flooring commercial.
3. I blasted the team a few weeks ago about the commercials and the in-stadium experience. I owe this topic more space, but for now, I would like to say that they seem to have gotten the message on this. The amount of commercials was down from earlier in the season, and the band played a lot more. There was more fan involvement on the big screens and there seemed to be actual care taken to enhance this from my previous visits to FedEx. I suppose it gets harder to sell advertising when the team is terrible, although I bet there are some local San Francisco businesses that would have paid to advertise to the 49ers fans in attendance on Monday night. What a debacle that was...
4. I am not belly-flopping into the "Fire Shanny/Extend Shanny" circus here. You all know that I believe he probably is the best coach we can get for next season, and I don't mind spending Dan Snyder's money to extend him and fire him if need be before that extension runs out. I continue to push for a stronger front office that is in charge of the organizational direction and vision. I want the general manager to have the final say on personnel and franchise philosophy. I want a guy in that seat who will carry that from coach to coach, era to era. Bruce Allen moved the ball forward for the Redskins. I don't want him jettisoned at all. Since he doesn't hold the final say on that stuff now (Shanahan does), he shouldn't have a tantrum about not getting it in the future, right? This plan would also mean that Shanahan would have to give up some control as well. In short, if he is unwilling to do that, then he should be fired.
5. Robert Griffin III is a good quarterback. He might be a great quarterback. When the St. Louis Rams are using our ridiculously high draft pick to make their selection next spring, we need to remind ourselves that we do actually have a pretty solid quarterback situation. It is going to hurt to see that pick get used on a great player going somewhere else. As a guy who lives in the silver lining, let us not forget that if this goes down like this, we will be picking high in every other round. Top second and third round picks are guys that should be expected to start for your team. Sure, that hasn't always been the case for us, but getting David Amerson and Jordan Reed out of those rounds in the 2013 draft gives us hope. Given the holes on our offensive line and in our secondary, it would be shocking if we were unable to find two players that would serve as immediate and unquestioned upgrades to our starting lineup in the second and third rounds next year. This is a good thing.
6. As fans, it hurts to be in this familiar territory again. Knowing that remaining games are going to lack meaning and that some players already seem to be phoning it in just sucks. The product on the field is a major source of misery for us right now. The circus surrounding the Washington Redskins when it gets like this is even more deflating. While these things are impossible to ignore, I encourage my fellow fans to take the lead of so many people I saw on Monday in the parking lot. Everywhere I looked, I saw groups of fans partying under Christmas lights, around fire pits and carrying on in a manner that didn't suggest they were letting the woes of the team affect their experience. We still have five more games to watch--three of which are at home. It would be great if the team could be playing with something on the line, but we should be well-trained enough by now to know that we can't let our Sunday experience be dictated by this team. I think gathering with friends and family is still the best way to enjoy a game, and is still the best way to ensure a good time is had by all. I wish you all a great holiday season and I look forward to commiserating with you in the coming weeks. I really do. Staying together through these frustrating times is only going to make it that much sweeter for us when we do get it turned around.