1. We all laughed at and rationalized Bruce Allen's ludicrous preseason statements about how, "Rebuild...does not exist...in this dojo, does it?!?" Of course we were rebuilding, but we all at least partially understood that Allen was trying to make sure his team knew they were committed to winning now and forever. Awesome. The bad news for people who jumped down that rabbit hole is that today, you are stuck in a very, very deep hole with a difficult climb ahead. Even for those of us who looked at this team in late August/early September and saw a team that was still a long way from contending in the NFC, the reality of the current situation is still very deflating. One just has to look around at some of our fellow bottom dwellers to see possible alternatives to our experience. Carolina is not having a great season either, but they are making it exciting. You might argue that they are doing it with a top rookie quarterback prospect. That is true, but it is their second year in a row rolling with a top rookie quarterback prospect. And the point is that they are losing, but they seem to be going down swinging most weeks. The Redskins are striking out without even a bat in their hands.
2. I have been adamant that Mike Shanahan's job is among the safest jobs in the league, and I remain adamant. The question is not whether or not the 2012 season, complete with all of our new draft choices and any free agent signings, will cost or save Mike Shanahan's job. The issue is really: "If Shanahan strikes out in 2012 with his personnel decisions, he still has (at least) a couple years of leash left." Thomas Boswell over at the Post must be reading Hogs Haven! He seems to have come around on that.
3. Hank the Tank!!! It did not happen the way I spent all summer predicting it, but Leonard Hankerson has finally emerged as an active participant in our passing game. Notice I do not use the word "weapon" or "threat." While I do think he could serve as such at some point, it would be wrong to suggest our passing game boasts anything even remotely threatening.
4. I know many of us have turned our attention to the top college games on the slate each week, as these games likely feature multiple players that could or should be targeted by Bruce Allen and Mike Shanahan next April. Stanford football has turned into must-see TV for fans of the Colts, Redskins, and Dolphins, among other fanbases. The more I see of Andrew Luck, the more I love him as a pro prospect--but the more I see of him, the more I am convinced that he is not two or three first round picks better than Matt Barkley of USC. That is what it could potentially cost the team interested in jumping up to grab Luck in that draft, including a team like ours that would just need to trade up a handful of spots at the most. This observation is brought to you by the "Our Team Needs As Many Top Draft Picks As Possible And Can Not Afford To Give Up A Single First Round Draft Pick For The Next Few Years" Department.
5. You know you are a bit punch-drunk when you tune in to watch your team play and, when seeing that the starting running back is NOT the same as the guy who just last week set a franchise record out of the backfield, you don't even question it. I saw Torain back there and my exact reaction was: "Hrumph." To be honest, I am kind of amused by how many different lineup configurations end up with the same result. How many of you out there remember those "Choose Your Own Adventure" books? This season is like its own version of one, except every choice leads you to the same page and conclusion. I can just see Mike Shanahan leaving his finger on the page where he decides whether to start the turnover-prone gunslinger, or go with the unproven and unheralded 30-year old rookie. As he flips to the new page revealing the fruits of his decision, and reads about how his decision has resulted in yet another devastating loss, he hurriedly races back to the original page, exclaiming, "My finger was still on the page! My finger was still on the page!"
6. As I stated in August, the biggest pleasure this season was always going to be unwrapping our draft day presents. Losing Jarvis Jenkins sucked, but the reality is that our top four draft picks ended up being very solid choices. We can play the "what if we took that guy instead" game all we want, but we did get four guys capable of starting for us, and that is a huge step for this team. We need to repeat it over and over again.
I am not counting down the days until the draft in 2012. I am counting down the days until we play Dallas. Today it is six days until that game. Let's see what Mike Shanahan comes up with to shake things up against the Cowgirls. There is no way in the world I would ever root for us to lose period...much less against Dallas.