So many distractions this week. So many storylines to take us all off of the upcoming game. The Revolution is, above all else, about being fans and hoping against hope that our team will figure a way out of these doldrums. I rarely get dragged off to Negativetown, and often find myself standing alone at the Kool-Aid jug. My Kool-Aid moustache is as much a part of who I am as my rugged good looks and gigantic...feet. We will continue to build steam to figure out how to make the best and most positive impact possible, but in the meantime, it's time to lay down our pouts and focus on beating a team that deserves to lose.
We all hate the Cowgirls. We are all annoyed and frustrated at the success of the Giants. But the Eagles and their fans hold a special place in each and every one of us: somewhere between the colon and the rectum. As a sports fan, there is little I despise more than a team from Philly. Call it regional angst. Call it close-proximity friction. Call it what you want (and I know there will be some Eagles fans calling it some different things in the comments section, but so be it.)
I am spending the time between now and the game preparing for the beatdown coming to the green team from Filthadelphia. I must be out of my mind right? I must have lost my sense of good and bad, or right and wrong, right? Or maybe I just remembered that as much as this site has come to be a home to the burgeoning resentment of an owner who doesn't get it, it is also the home to true Redskins fans that don't mind a little unbridled optimism and a healthy dose of that which makes football fun: standing by your team no matter what.
There is a time when being 2-4 doesn't matter. There is a time when every shred of awfulness that has transpired in the last few weeks falls to the wayside. There is a time when a season that seems lost is not our primary concern. That time is kickoff on Monday Night Football, when all of our energy and hearts will be firmly behind our favorite team as they take on a hated rival.
If the Raiders had not just beaten the Eagles, I might be less optimistic. And let me be frank...we have not shown anything that leads me to believe that we are better than the Raiders. But the Eagles showed a few cracks in the foundation last Sunday and it proved to be something that a team can exploit. They got to McNabb, first and foremost. The Redskins can get to McNabb. They have proven capable of getting to the quarterback. Bringing him down with the first guy on the scene is imperative. If we don't do that, McNabb will find his speedy receivers for big gains all day.
The Eagles became one-dimensional last week. Now, I know that you can either say it was the Raiders who made them one-dimensional or you can say Andy Reid made himself one-dimensional. Either way, it doesn't matter. We have a great pass defense and the Eagles rely on their passing game. We are stout in the middle and their running backs are not extremely physical. We are smart, they are dumb. We are handsome, they are not particularly good-looking...you get the picture. We can find a happy place against this team.
Finally, we have played teams close. Granted, we have played bad teams close. But nevertheless, this Redskins team has--for a few years now--played just about everyone within a touchdown. There have been exceptions (Tom Brady...I'm looking in your general direction on this one.) We swept the Eagles last season and they ended up being a good enough squad to march to the NFC Championship game. A good game to watch would be a hell of a treat on Monday Night Football not only for the fans in attendance, but also for the nationwide audience. A close game would go a long way towards getting some damage control on our team's reputation.
More importantly, a close game would give our newest play-caller the chance to prove to this team that they are good enough to come out on top against a decent team. It gives Sherm Lewis the opportunity to show our own players that with a little tweaking at different spots on the field, they are capable of succeeding at more than coming up just short. Most importantly, it gives Jim Zorn a hell of a stage to lead this team to what would be a very huge victory. Regardless of what you think of his abilities in various aspects of the head coaching gig, Coach Zorn is a hell of a leader that has clearly earned and held onto the respect of the people who follow him. It was a characteristic he had when he was a gritty quarterback in Seattle and it continues to be the cornerstone of his appeal even at this moment. For a franchise that has given lip service as of late to the notion that high character men are the first priority for building this team around, they need look no further than the head coach for one of the best examples of integrity and character.
There continues to be reason to hope for this team. Even if beating the Eagles was meaningless to our postseason chances (which it is not yet), beating the Eagles JUST TO BEAT THE EAGLES is as meaningful to me as almost any other win. So let's get after it in the parking lot on Monday. Expect (or hope for) the game to remain close going into the 4th quarter. Then just let go. Either there is some magic in the tank or there isn't.
True, we will pick up our criticism of a front office that deserves to be taken to task for its craptastic approach to team-building next week. But let's not lose sight of a game that matters regardless of record, regardless of ownership, and regardless of the absurdity that swells around this organization. And let's beat the crap out of the Eagles.