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How Much Ass Can a Rebuilding Team Kick?

Washington Redskins CEAK: Chief Executive Ass Kicker
Washington Redskins CEAK: Chief Executive Ass Kicker

Can I just say that I love this team right now?

I have embraced the idea that we are "not there yet" all summer long. I have fully accepted that when you compare the Redskins with some of the more established organizations across the NFL landscape, there is something obvious about where we stack up.

And let's be fair--we're not sitting in the same boat as the Packers, Steelers, Ravens, Patriots, etc. Those teams are drafts ahead of us. But we're on that kind of path.

Yet, look at what happened during the preseason when we had a chance to match up with some of those teams. In the past, our one's would get pushed around by the other team's one's, and then look good against the other team's two's. We would all spend days doing the fuzzy math required to determine how good our starters actually were.

This August, it would be very fair to suggest that our one's were rarely, if ever, pushed around by the opposing starters. Our offense faced legitimate competition from Pittsburgh and Baltimore defenders. Our defense hung in there for the most part without Landry, and went a stretch without Josh Wilson. As far as preseason tests go, wouldn't you have to agree that this team gets at least a passing grade? (From a less ball-busting teacher, you might even see something in the B+ range.)

The next game we play will be for real. It will come against a team that has had our number for some time. Our starters will be on the field for a full game against a New York Giants team that has never seemed to have trouble relying on their depth.

So I have to ask...are we ready to win meaningful games in 2011? Is the Washington roster--a roster that has been almost totally rebuilt in less than two years--capable of knocking off teams that "experts" assert are far, far ahead of us?

Here's what I saw in the preseason: we kicked a little ass. The preseason is over, and everything starts new again next Sunday. Is it possible that Mike Shanahan can keep the ass-kicking going into September?