We had two options this week from Marshall Faulk, and I went with this one over the question of what one game left on our schedule matters most to us. I feel comfortable speaking for all of us when I say that the final game on our schedule, at home against Dallas is our Super Bowl. There is a very real possibility that we could stand in the way of Dallas qualifying for the playoffs. The prospect of sweeping the Cowboys during an otherwise down year is so tantalizing, it would absolutely make my holiday season. Too easy.
On the other hand, the opportunity to write yet another article about Tress Way was too good to pass up.
The topic today is "finishing strong." Whether you are a playoff team or not, you are capable of finishing strong. In fact, a team like the Washington Redskins might be in more need of a strong finish than some teams that are already making playoff travel plans.
Jay Gruden desperately needs momentum through the end of his rookie campaign. He needs good, solid film of players doing the things he wants them to do so he can go to work in the offseason and build on that. He needs young players to buy in and get experience on the field so that he can make the right personnel decisions in free agency and the draft. More than anything, he needs something for his entire sideline to feel good about.
For the purpose of making this discussion halfway interesting, I am going to rule out a couple of answers that may be the right answers, but are just too obvious. Of course Robert Griffin III needs to be a second-half MVP. He is our franchise quarterback. We expect that...I know, don't say it. I'll also rule out DeSean Jackson, the recipient of the mid-season Hogs Haven MVP Award. (I accepted for DJax on his behalf at a ceremony held in my basement. I need everyone to know--and I can't stress this enough--the things I was doing with my hands as I accepted the award had nothing at all to do with gang signs. I was actually using sign language to say, "Not at the table, Carlos," which is how I accept all of the awards I receive in basement ceremonies.)
I am going to go with none other than Keenan Robinson. I chose him over Pierre Garcon, Alfred Morris, Ryan Kerrigan and David Amerson. Robinson has been very close to "as good as we could have ever hoped" this season. At times, he has seemed to be everywhere on the field. In order for the Redskins to have a strong finish to this season, he is going to have to be even more disciplined than he has so far--he might have to play mistake-free, which is asking an insane amount.
Keenan is fast enough to get to the outside to cover both tight ends and running backs releasing to the flat. I look ahead on the schedule and I see guys like Dwayne Allen, LeSean McCoy, Vernon Davis, Darren Sproles, Jason Witten...you get the picture.) All of these players have firmly established themselves as top targets for their respective quarterbacks. All of these players can sustain drives by making big plays on third downs. Getting off the field on third down is what the Redskins need to do in order to have a chance to win games down the stretch. It will take more than just Keenan Robinson to accomplish this, but I see him as the key cog to that plan. If he can be dominant, the Redskins can finish very strong, indeed.