Every Tuesday night, Kevin and/or I appear on the Overtime show on 106.7 The Fan with Danny Rouhier and Bill Rohland at 8 PM. Most of you know Danny from his videos we have posted over the last year or two. He is keeping up with them and you can follow his video exploits here. In upcoming PSSOM posts, I am hoping to incorporate these guys and their thoughts on things. In the meantime, check us out tonight at 8 on 106.7 The Fan.
Well, one burning question has been answered.
The question: How much slack in the rope will this franchise be given for bringing in Mike Shanahan, Bruce Allen, Donovan McNabb and ushering in a new era in Redskins football?
The answer: Three weeks worth of rope. And they managed to use it all in the first three weeks...nicely done there.
I allowed some anger from the Monday Sixpack to spill into the Ten Yard Fight. I promise that by the end of this column, I will have worked my way back to the optimism that has served as such a good defense mechanism all these years.
Ten Yard Fight -- 10 Chances To Make One Good Point
1. Listen, I know this won't get fixed overnight. At some point over the last decade, a very large contingent of the fanbase had become conditioned into believing that every move made was the final, missing piece of the puzzle. Each blockbuster free agent signing would bring the wins and legitimacy that we had lacked the previous season(s). When Joe Gibbs came back for his second stint with the team, I think people slowly began to move away from that insanity. The Redskins fanbase is ready to be patient. I do believe that. Losing games is not going to cause this fanbase to go nuts. However, not showing up to games will. It was precisely the kind of showing that the Redskins displayed on Sunday against the Rams that has driven us crazy over the last few years.
2. What was different about the game against the Rams versus the start we had last season when we failed to show up against 6 straight winless teams? The Rams did not outplay us in the 1st half--at least statistically. Mistake after mistake put our team in bad situations. Finally, we were simply unable to overcome the position we found ourselves in and the result was an embarrassing loss to an opponent that we were capable of beating. We've all seen that movie a million times. And the sight of that defeated body language on the sidelines coupled with the futility on the field sent every Redskins fan reeling all the way back to last season, when we were very much used to both.
3. I need to take a second and congratulate St. Louis Rams fans. Lost in all of this is the fact that some fellow fans of a down team experienced something they never get to experience: a win. I would go back and change the outcome in a heartbeat if I could, but since I can't, I think it is important to say, "Good game." That said, I am sick and tired of helping down-on-their-luck teams feel good about themselves. This isn't "Dr. Phil"...it's the NFL. We should be taking advantage of down-on-their-luck teams.
4. I know, I know...we are officially one of the down-on-our-luck teams. And nobody feels sorry for us. We should not feel sorry for us, either. Based on the comments I have been seeing, that is not an overriding sentiment this week. I have seen where players like Chris Cooley are embarrassed and guys like Don Burgundy recognize that we simply didn't seize control of a game that was there to seize. Those are the appropriate reactions and feelings after a game like that. I guess that's something.
5. One last angry thought: maybe it's time to hang up the "R You In?" campaign, Redskins front office. I've been in my whole life. Most Redskins have been in our whole lives. We spend our hard-earned money on merchandise, and have been showing up to home games for 50+ years. The Redskins pay for space on this very site for their "R You In?" campaign. I have no control over that. What I can do is strongly discourage anyone on Hogs Haven from EVER clicking on that banner ad until it becomes clearer that the Redskins organization is "IN". Are we "in" only if we spend thousands of dollars on premium seats? Are we "in" only if we spend tens of thousands of dollars on club level contracts? It's insulting. Every time I see the banner ad, "R You In?", I get nauseous. SINCE WHEN ARE THE FANS THE ONES WHO DESERVE TO BE ASKED THAT!?! If anyone should be made to answer the question, "R You In?" it should be the folks who work at Redskins Park.
We're IN. If you want to ask the real question, it should be, "R You STILL In?" I am. But I have spoken to friends and fellow fans this week who, after three weeks, can barely stomach what they perceive to be the continuation of business as usual. I can't blame them, either.
6. I can't blame them because like those fans, I believed that we were a different team this year. I believed that this team was incapable of showing up so woefully unprepared for a game against an opponent like the Rams. We all believed that we were building momentum early in the season. I believed that we would win. I believed the Redskins had changed. I realize that it would be going too far to suggest that Redskins fans are really playing the part of the abused spouse here, but that is exactly what people are saying. Of course, domestic abuse is a serious issue, and not something to make light of, but the idea that Redskins fans come back every year thinking that Dan Snyder and the organization have changed and that "This time it will be different" is real. And then we tune in to see how different it is and we get whacked over the head with a game like the one we saw on Sunday. If we didn't care at all, it wouldn't hurt. But we do care. And it does hurt.
7. OK...so we are 1-2, coming off an inexcusable loss to the Rams. And yet, we are still in the driver's seat in Week 4. The Eagles are 1 game ahead of us in the NFC East. A win over Philly would put us at 2-0 in the NFC East and in 1st place. The Giants suck and are spinning right off the planet. Stopping Michael Vick--if possible--gets us right out of this funk. That is the truth. Of course, nothing about last week suggests we can put it to the Eagles, but nonetheless, the opportunity is there. Can Donovan McNabb light a fire under his teammates? He doesn't want to look like a chump going back to Philly this week. Players on this team respect and admire Don Burgundy. Not only should he have plenty of insight into how to attack Andy Reid on offense, he should have plenty of advice for his offensive mates on how best to hit that defense. Will it be enough to overcome some of the deficiencies this roster still has? We shall see. I am optimistic.
8. Time for some rampant speculation as to why I think we have a chance against the Eagles. I truly believe that this whole organization looked past the Rams (this just in). I believe Trent Williams could have played if it was a bigger, meaner opponent. I believe that the defense threw some things at Sam Bradford that they felt would confuse a rookie quarterback that simply failed to confuse him. I believe that they thought they could get by with less because they felt they could afford to against St. Louis. I hope I am wrong, but I believe all of that. If true, that is simply awful. The bright side is that we kept some things saved in reserve for the big game against Philly. I expect to see Trent Williams out there on Sunday. While I expect us to blitz, I don't expect us to sell out the way we did at times against a quarterback who we know can beat it. I expect McNabb will provide enough nuggets throughout the week to put some guys in the right position on offense and defense to make plays. I expect this team to be far more inspired to face Philly than St. Louis because everyone will be watching, and once again, we will be the underdog. It sucks that that would matter. Finally, I expect Vick to make some mistakes this week that will cost them the game. I think he is an exceptional quarterback, but he is not Peyton Manning. He will come back to Earth, and I am betting it happens this week against the backdrop of Don Burgundy's homecoming.
9. Clinton...I continue to be one of your biggest fans. Yes, I called your dive "gutless" against the Rams. Yes, I applauded what I perceived to be your benching as a result of said dive. When you are a running back in the NFL, and you are running free in the secondary, you can't go down like that. The defenders had to reach down to touch you because if they hadn't, you could have rolled to the end zone. I believe that not only could you have gotten 5-10 more yards on your momentum alone, you may have broken any tackle and gotten even more yardage or even a score. It just looked bad, dude. Own it and move on. I am the guy who gets killed for suggesting you will be in the Hall of Fame conversation someday. I am the guy who still believes you can get 1,500 yards in this league. Shake it off and stick it to Philly.
a) Is it time to start Devin Thomas over Joey Galloway yet? Anyone?
b) Is it time to end the "Andre Carter in coverage" experiment?
c) Who should spy Michael Vick this week: Landry or Orakpo? Or someone else?
d) When the Redskins win this week, will we all swing all the way back to crazy-happy town and get one step closer to bona fide schizophrenia?
e) Will we convert more than three 3rd downs?
f) What do you think the impact of this game means to the prospects of signing Don Burgundy to an extension?
I love how Hogs Haven readers always have an eye on the next year's draft. Looks like we have a few...cough, cough...dozen holes to fill. My question to Hogs Haven: If we had the first pick in the draft next season, and trading it was not an option, who would you take?