One minute I am getting ready to usher in the Shanahan era against the Cowgirls at FedEx Field and then all of a sudden it is over? How in God's name did everything that just happened get crammed into one season?
We are used to the drama around here. Based on the level of intrigue implied in just about every scrap of coverage in this town, Redskins fans apparently need the drama. Well, we got it this past year didn't we?
Vinny Cerrato and Jim Zorn were kicked to the curb, leading to the beginning of the Mike Shanahan and Bruce Allen show. They traded for one of our fiercest rivals over the years--Donovan McNabb--and then announced to the world that "The Future Is Now". Albert Haynesworth must have not been on the distribution list because he thought the Future was still a ways off...certainly not near enough to begin any kind of workout regimen. Shanahan and Haynesworth duking it out was a daily event in July and August. But all the drama wasn't new drama. We also spent a lot of time in the preseason trying to figure out if Devin Thomas and Malcolm Kelly could play in this league--we still have no definitive data to suggest they can. The euphoria over drafting a Tackle at #4 overall was short-lived as it became readily apparent that our offensive line was in for another long year. We wondered how they were going to get Cooley and Davis more involved at the same time. Then McNabb started sucking. Or better put, he started underwhelming us all. It seemed we were just good enough to lose on the last play, when we weren't winning on the last play. How did so many games come down to the last play? Clinton Portis, Andre Carter and Derrick Dockery all faded into the background on this team, each just one year removed from being key contributors. Shanahan benched McNabb when a game was still on the line. Haslett's defense gave up yards like they were candy. Danny Smith--for the first time in years--looked vulnerable. We beat Green Bay. We lost to Detroit. We beat Philly. We....uhhhhhhhh...lost to Philly. And after a stretch run that saw us lean on Rex Grossman, Anthony Armstrong and Ryan Torain, we have finally freed ourselves of one of the more ludicrous seasons I can recall. (And this was hardly an exhaustive list.)
Once again...it's our time. Screw this "Playing the Game" stuff. From January 1st to August 31st, the Washington Redskins are unstoppable. There are a bazillion free agents to look out for this offseason. We stand to potentially add 2 starters in the draft with our current pile of picks in the top two rounds. Hell, McNabb and Haynesworth are technically still around too, giving us that option to go with on a slow day.
For a while there in September and early October, we allowed ourselves to believe that we might actually play some meaningful football in January. But that would have only delayed our true gratification: the offseason. Now we have another 7-8 months to lay the groundwork for all the storylines that will dominate the 2011 season. Who is going to play the role of the douchebag player, dogging the coaching staff at every turn? Which coach is going to step in it at a press conference, leading to a standoff between player and coach, or coach and coach, or (fingers crossed) coach and owner? What ways will we literally INVENT to lose games in the 4th quarter?
NOBODY KNOWS!! That is what makes it so damn exciting!
I thought I was going to need some time to wash off the 2010. But I have to be honest with you...I am kind of geeked up a little to see where this trainwreck takes us. There is a legitimate chance that the ship could be righted by this crew before we play a game again. This year's turnover (I predict it to be massive again) might create the right chemistry that produces a playoff contender. It is possible.
But what is also possible is that even without playing a single down of football for another 8 months, the Washington Redskins could provide the world with must-see drama on a painfully regular basis. Gird your loins Redskins fans...our offseason has begun.
Bikini SlapFight with Julie Donaldson
That's right, Redskins fans...on the next installment of Redskins Lunchbox, Kevin and I will get to live out a dream. Make sure to tune in for Bikini SlapFight with Comcast Sportsnet Central anchor Julie Donaldson.