1. It's Dallas week, y'all! Yeah, I care. Did you SEE Tony Romo yesterday? Oh man...that guy is going to need some serious therapy. On one hand, a team coming off that kind of loss can show up the following week with fire in its belly. On the other hand, the depression from that kind of loss (at home) can carry over into the following week. I fully expect Dallas to show up at FedEx on Sunday and get off to a fast start. But if the Redskins can keep the game within reach, this Cowboys team is likely to tighten up. Beating Dallas is enjoyable no matter what our record is and no matter who is on the field. This game is our Super Bowl, and it absolutely matters. In addition to spoiling Dallas' playoff chances, sending Dallas home with a loss is its own reward. The Dallas franchise and its fanbase awoke to the worst news of all today: their playoff chances are still in their own hands--the worst hands for those chances to be in. The Dallas Cowboys are the last people in the world that the Dallas Cowboys want in charge of the Dallas Cowboys' destiny.
2. God help me, I woke up yesterday morning excited to watch yet another Redskins game. Despite the fact that this team has not done enough to earn the kind of mid-day real estate that Sunday games take up, there I was at 1 PM, giving full attention to my favorite team. There I was, caring about who got the ball first. There I was, caring about which jersey combination we were wearing. There I was, feeling my feelings. Obviously, a big draw for most of us was the fact that Kirk Cousins was starting. In December, everyone likes unwrapping a new toy. Even though Captain Kirk has seen the field for us, he still has just enough of that new car smell to make it feel like a fresh start. You all know how much of a Cousins fan I am (which is not to say I am not also a huge Griffin fan--I love RG3) so getting to watch him develop a little during regular season action is a real treat.
3. Before I go further, let me make sure a few baseline things get said. First of all, no matter how well Cousins plays, a quarterback controversy is not a likely outcome. Luckily for those of us who think that a quarterback controversy would be just what this town needs to descend into the next level of hell, our offensive line is prepared to ensure that no quarterback plays well enough to make that happen. Secondly, I have been out on the Mike Shanahan limb for weeks now, suggesting that I do think he will be back here next season (I put those odds at 100% about eight days ago...seems a little high to me today.) I understand that things in D.C. have progressed to a point where his return is less likely than his exodus, but given the news that he won't quit and that Kyle Shanahan is looking to leave his father's staff, I still believe in the possibility that Mike comes back. Even before things got nuclear, we knew that the coaching staff was going to be overhauled. Jim Haslett and (hopefully) Keith Burns are big targets for dismissal, and with Kyle Shanahan potentially giving himself up--thereby preventing Mike from having to consider removing his own son--the door might be open just enough for Mike to stick around. I still don't know that Snyder could get a more accomplished NFL coach to take this job. Bill Cowher seemed to blast Dan Snyder on CBS yesterday with his comments about this organization's problems starting at the top. I have a hard time believing that other respected coaches would disagree greatly. I DON'T WANT A COLLEGE COACH. I don't see Mike Shanahan being in demand around the league after this drama. In short, Snyder and Shanahan may be stuck with each other for at least the last year of Shanny's contract. As for the oddness of having a potential short-timer build an entirely new coaching staff...welcome to Washington, D.C.
4. As I watched the way the game went early on yesterday between the Atlanta Falcons and the Washington Redskins, I wondered how we had even won three games. Between our unforced errors on offense and the way we tend to give it up on defense, three wins is a quasi-success story. I am not saying that by the end of our SEVEN turnover performance I was blown away by our competence, but I did appreciate the way the team stayed alive in this game. It is so hard to stay focused as a fan when your team commits that many turnovers. Failing to protect the ball is the easiest way to lose consistently. Giving up the most points in the league also...contributes heavily.
5. I LOVED the decision to go for two. You want to give players like Kirk Cousins the chance to get this kind of experience. You want to see what he does with the game in his hands at the very end--it is impossible to simulate this situation. For my money, I would have preferred to see a quarterback draw called there. I think he would have found his way into the end zone. As for how it ended, I couldn't be more okay with giving our guys a chance to get an uplifting road win. Losing the game did not ruin my Sunday. I guess that is the upside of being 3-10 with your backup quarterback on the field.
6. As I said above, there is no impending quarterback controversy that I see coming our way. I think it is most likely that Kirk Cousins plays well enough to boost his value for some team to snap him up for a 2nd round pick and maybe a solid starting player the Redskins can use right away. That said, I would not be surprised at all if Bruce Allen and Mike Shanahan (assuming Mike is coming back) kick the tires to see what kind of value someone might offer for Griffin. That is blasphemy to most people reading this, and I have to reiterate that I would not gamble a penny of my own money on it, but this team needs talent in multiple spots to be able to credibly compete in this league. Let me ask you this: if you could trade Griffin and net TWO blue-chip starting offensive lineman in the deal somehow, would you consider that? What if it was even better than that? Putting Cousins behind an above-average OL wouldn't be a terrible way to run things. I am not advocating for the Redskins to trade Griffin, but given the dysfunction in this organization right now, I am ready to NOT be surprised if something this huge went down.