1. I know many of you watch Game of Thrones on HBO, and I know many of you record it and watch it at your earliest convenience during the week. Don't worry--I don't intend to give away any spoilers. In fact, that is kind of the problem with this season--no really huge spoilers (yet). All I heard leading up to the first episode was how much everyone was looking forward to the third season. The showrunners swore up and down that the only reason they signed on in the first place was for this part of the story. As it turns out, this "part of the story"--George R. R. Martin's third book--has been broken down into two seasons. My understanding is that things get especially nuts in the ninth episode (two weeks away), but we have to wait for season four to really see things blow up. Don't get me wrong--the show has been appointment television even through this long setup season, but as someone who did not read the books, I interpreted the rhetoric in the days leading up to the season premiere to mean I was in for ten episodes of insanity. This is a classic exploitation of Redskins fans. If anyone can be easily convinced on an annual basis that THIS NEXT season is going to be THE ONE, it is us. Don't worry, fellow burgundy and gold followers! I hear next season is going to be THE BEST ONE YET!
2. Speaking of television shows that unveil little surprises each time it airs, the NFL Network's Top 100 Players of 2013 is about to hit its halfway point and we already have three Redskins mentioned. Trent Williams (#99), London Fletcher (#86) and Alfred Morris (#64) have all made the list so far. Of course Robert Griffin III is going to be somewhere in the remaining frames, but who else has a chance from Washington to crack the list? I am struggling to think of anyone--my bet (a very safe bet) is that we have one more and that's it. Unless...something about the way Reed Doughty operates compels me to leave open the possibility that he has found a way to sneak onto this list.
3. If Pierre Garcon had played a full season at the level he performed at when he was able to suit up, I think he would be our best chance for a fifth player on the list. He makes entire defenses pay attention to him in the week before each game, which would contribute to him being remembered by players as they voted for this list. In years past, you might be able to envision DeAngelo Hall being given props by his peers, but those days are pretty much gone. He likely still garners respect from players around the NFL, but not "Top 100" respect.
4. Setting aside for a moment that London Fletcher's inclusion is as much about his career as it is about his play in the last few seasons, I wanted to look at our other two players and their positions on this list. I wonder about the wisdom of ranking Alfred Morris so much higher than Trent Williams. Both of these men turned in amazing performances in 2012, and both were huge reasons for our success. Finishing second to Adrian Peterson in the rushing race raised Morris' profile considerably. Running backs who top 1,600 yards on the ground are going to naturally get love from other players in the league when it comes time to vote for stuff like this. Still...if everything we are hearing about Trent Williams is true, and he is methodically closing in on being considered an "elite" left tackle, wouldn't he kind of inherently outrank the rookie runner that ran behind him (through the holes he created)? Aren't elite left tackles worth more than just about any running back you can name?
5. Let me stop short of officially complaining here. Assuming Griffin is there somewhere, we have better representation on this list than if you were to give every team an equal allotment. I'll take that. Think about how many years where it would have been hard to build a credible case (one you could make with a straight face) for more than one--maybe two--Redskins to crack the Top 100 Players. After a season where we barely scraped together the 30th ranked passing defense (in a passing league), you simply can't expect to see more than London on this list from our defense. But our offense was good. Thrizzle was legit, with Morris and Williams highlighting a unit that did some actual damage to respected teams in the league. I think the most satisfying part about seeing us get more than just a token guy on this list is that for the first time in what feels like decades, we are not the only ones watching the Redskins play.
6. This list holds a little more meaning because it tallies votes made by the players. It is yet another barometer for where the perception of the Washington franchise stands these days. There was a time not that long ago when players likely associated the Redskins with a place you go to collect huge bonus checks. If #99 is where a player like Trent Williams enters the collective consciousness of players, so be it. If he stays on track, there is no way he doesn't climb higher on the list next year. Morris has a chance to climb, but now that he is on the radar of his fellow players, consistent play should keep him somewhere between 55-75 on future lists. Will Garcon make his presence felt for 16 games in 2013? Will Brian Orakpo stay healthy long enough to assume a spot on this list? Does a player like Ryan Kerrigan evolve into a force that demands the respect of his peers next spring? They don't hand out Lombardi Trophies based on how your team does on any kind of list. Those of us who have long watched the burgundy and gold get shut out of these kinds of lists know how important it is to take this step though--the step being one in which more people respect your team and its players than just the most diehard of fans.