1. I had planned up a "Counting Our Blessings" type post for this week, but then it occurred to me that we still have seven games left to play. While I think there are plenty of things we can point to about this season that should make us optimistic, I am pretty sure I can't handle seven weeks of "taking stock."
2. I am ecstatic about the future prospects of a starting group that includes our top four draft choices. It is as much a reason to hope for our chances in the next draft as it is a reason to hope for more wins next season. That said, the injuries we have sustained this year have not only hampered our success for the 2011 season, they have hampered crucial development opportunities for these guys. That puts a tiny damper on the greatness of our draft haul unfortunately.
3. Simply put, the Hankerson injury is one huge turd in the punch bowl that is this season. When I say it could be worse though, I am not referring to the actual injury. Thanks to nine weeks of hard work by Hank the Tank, here is what we know that we did not know in August/September: Hankerson can catch balls on Sundays. Not only that, was I the only one literally knocked out of my seat by his route-running? He legitimately got himself open with his route-running. He made moves without the ball that created spaces for the quarterback to get the ball to him. While he didn't magically morph into Jerry Rice, I think that if you compared game film of him from the Dolphins game to film of him from earlier this year you would see less wasted movements, better hands and an improved ability to work north-south. For example, he caught a pass at one point that was nothing more than a quick-hitter from the slot position. Instead of trying to move laterally to try and dodge a linebacker, did you see how he turned DIRECTLY upfield? He took five or six guaranteed yards instead of gambling and being stopped for a gain of only one or two yards. That is a huge part of being a solid possession receiver in this league. So when Hank recovers from his injury and gets back on the field, we know that he is capable of relying on technique, intellect and sure-handedness. Combine that with his size and red-zone capabilities, and he could easily be starting for us on Opening Day in 2012, even if he does lose a little bit of speed.
4. Another way to look at our upcoming offseason is that whatever we are able to come up with in the next two months on the field, we will be adding some decent players to the mix that will feel like free agent additions...kind of. Just the idea of adding Chris Cooley, Leonard Hankerson and Tim Hightower to this offense has a nice ring to it. Adding Jarvis Jenkins to our defensive line will hopefully also achieve a similar feeling. And at this pace, we could have like, 15 of these kinds of additions by the time the season finally ends!
5. If you were guaranteed to land TWO offensive linemen in the top two rounds of the draft that would start for the Redskins on Opening Day--a stud tackle and a stud center--would you take that and try and find a quarterback in the third round or later? Would you consider bringing in a veteran quarterback to play behind them for another year and use your other top picks to try and find starters at linebacker and corner?
6. I am convinced that we could convince ourselves to put the quarterback decision off for years if we focused solely on the fact that we have so many holes on our roster. No matter how you slice it though, we will never advance as an organization until we have a guy under center who at least has a legitimate chance to be a top quarterback in the league. Here's a question: What stunts the growth of a franchise more--rolling with players like Rex Grossman and John Beck at quarterback or picking the WRONG quarterback at the top of the first round? Before you think too hard on that one, make sure there is a wastebasket nearby that you can vomit into.
7. We are officially to the point in the season where everyone--players, coaches, fans--questions the state of things relative to the state of things in recent years. For us, that means the realization we are terrible now, and have been terrible for a while. Now is when people start bailing from the emotional investment they have tried so hard not to make but did anyway. Not me...I'll be front and center to help put the last nail in the coffin in the beginning of January.
8. I don't fault or overly criticize fans who seek shelter from the depression that our team rains down on D.C. every year. But for those of us who stay invested until the bitter end, I do believe the payoff is that much greater when this thing gets fully turned around. If only I could perfect the science behind cryogenics...Redskins fans would freeze themselves by the thousands. Imagine the reception we would get when, in 2058, we were reanimated to witness the greatest year in decades for the Washington Redskins: a 12-4 season that gets us a playoff date against Seattle! Uhhhhh...note to lab: don't unfreeze me if we are playing Seattle in the playoffs.
9. God, I want to beat Dallas...so bad...with every fiber of my fanhood. I don't care if it's ugly (good thing for me, since that is the only way we would win) and I don't care if it is because Dallas beat themselves. We have a chance to pee in the Cowgirls' cornflakes this Sunday, and hurt their playoff chances considerably. A loss to the Redskins could unhinge just about any team at this point of the season.
10. Think about it...what is worse than losing to us right now? In NFL terms, there is nothing worse in the league than losing to the Redskins right now. We can't score points, we consistently put our defense in bad spots and we are getting zero production from the quarterback position. Even if you lose to Indy right now, you could say, "They were due..." There is no excuse to lose to us this week, Dallas. NONE. Good luck with that.