There is something about 3-13 that...well...seriously harshes our mellow. Coming off of a 2012 division title and home playoff game, we simply were expecting anything but a 3-13 performance. Teams have down years. It happens (ahem...it happens more in some places...cough...ahem...) and you just roll into the next season hoping you can put it behind you.
If it was just a down year getting us, uhhh, down, it wouldn't be so bad, but we also had that whole coaching debacle. A guy who will get strong Hall of Fame consideration (do they make Canton busts in red?), Mike Shanahan was shown the door in typical Hurricane Snyder fashion, which is to say that it probably--MAYBE--could have been handled better. The subsequent hiring of Jay Gruden (who, when wearing a suit, looks a lot like the president of a fraternity on his way to a university hearing that will determine if his house gets kicked off campus) was a real breath of
fresh less stale air.
If it was just a crappy record and the fallout of yet another coach being ushered out of town on a rail, maybe it wouldn't so bad, but we also had the uncertainty of our star quarterback coming back fully from an injury that limited him enough in 2013 that he got benched by the aforementioned lame duck coach. This led to speculation about the status of our backup guy, Kirk Cousins, and whether or not he would be traded at or around the draft.
If it was just a soul-crushing record, the failure of yet another highly paid coach to fully resurrect this franchise and the nad-stinging situation surrounding our quarterback, maybe it wouldn't be so bad, but we also entered free agency with more holes to fill than a Jenna Jameson's Greatest Hits video.
You know...if it was just a spit-in-your-face, kick-you-in-the-crotch 3-13 campaign, alongside a run-of-the-mill Redskins Coaching Craptacular, with a little quarterback uncertainty and a list of needs longer than one for a "Sugar Baby" on that SeekingArrangement site (Harar keeps me informed), I think we would all just be dandy. Instead, there is also the matter of the TOPIC WHICH WE SHALL NOT MENTION. Wait, I mention it plenty--the name change issue. Yep, Redskins Nation has been taking on water this offseason, except when I go to fill up the bucket and start bailing out, the water looks brown and...damn it HogHunter, I thought you said your toilet was fixed!
Let's unharsh that mellow!
It's July!!!! Training camp is just about upon us!!!! We are a mere matter of days from being Super Bowl contenders yet again!
With the benefit of hindsight, we know that last year's 3-13 performance isn't as bad as it looks. I believe it was Homer who suggested that, "Everything looks bad if you remember it!" Our 10-6 record from 2012 certainly leads you to overstate how good we actually were that year. The truth is that 3-13, while painful and depressing, may have allowed us all to hit
yet another rock bottom--this time, the REAL rock bottom!
The coaching change that was inevitable as soon as...ummmmm...as soon as Shanny was hired, appears to be off to the kind of start that at least makes it possible for a team to make a complete recovery. It says here that Jay Gruden is exactly the kind of coach that we need to pair with a young quarterback and a very good receiving corps. It says here that our offense is going to be a top five unit that will be largely responsible for putting us into playoff contention this season.
While the healing of Robert Griffin III and the status of Kirk Cousins were stories, most of us have always kind of felt that it is more likely that Griffin repeats what his post-injury performance from Baylor was, and that Kirk Cousins would continue to provide value to this team in some way--at some point, I feel like we all even stopped caring about exactly what way that would be. I like having Cousins around, and I think we are going to see a #10 we have never seen before (in a good way).
Free agency, or "Christmas" as it's known around here, did what it does every year: it made some people happy and it made some people angry. I think Bruce Allen should get some credit for the job he did allocating the resources he had at his disposal to the many holes that needed attention. I wouldn't give him a grade of "Ron Jeremy" but maybe I would give him a "Jim Levenstein" mark. (DeSean Jackson might be his Nadia!)
Finally, the name change issue is a bit of a dark cloud over the franchise to be certain. I feel confident that it will get worse and more depressing as time goes on, and not because we talk about it here. I guess all I will say about it today is that for many of us, the sight of players in pads and helmets in the July/August heat will push that story from our forefront.
Is it just me, or is anyone else ready to believe that this team, with all of its foibles and shortcomings, is ready to embark on a campaign that will make just about all of us extremely excited and happy? That is the beauty of the NFL in July. That is the beauty of the rejuvenating nature of our collective mellow. The unharshing is nearly complete.