1. I believe Kirk Van Houten said it best when he sang, "Can I Borrow a Feeling?"
2. What can I say? Both teams had a chance to win the game yesterday. The Washington Redskins once again dug deep and found a level of effort that was good enough to almost match their opponent's output. In this case, that meant a solid defensive performance and a marginal offensive performance. I always root for wins but yesterday was different in the reason why I was rooting for the win. In no way, shape or form did I think that a win was going to catapult this team into the playoff picture. Instead, I was eager to see the reaction by everyone if we had won the game. What would it have meant? What effect would it have had on us? Would we be happy to get a win against a good team or would we lament the unpredictable nature of our effort level? Would we gush over progress made by the coaches and the quarterback or would we blast the inconsistent play? Thank the Lord we avoided that quandary! No...we are firmly in the "We are who we thought we were" portion of our season--not who we thought we were in August, but who we thought we were before kickoff.
3. Did anyone else see how Tress Way impacted that game? We have always known that Bill Belichick favors left-footed kickers. His reasoning--that is, the reasoning he wants us to know--is that the ball bounces differently off of the left foot and returners are much more used to fielding the ball off of the right foot. I don't have many rules, but one of them is: If Canton has already pre-fabbed the bust for a guy, you might consider listening to his philosophy on football matters. One day, I hope for the Redskins to be dominant in more than just punting, but today, I am tipping my hat to the lefty. Long live Tress Way! As long as we are talking about punting, am I the only one who thinks that the Redskins should have punted on third down on one of those third and long situations yesterday? I believe the stat I heard yesterday was 0-31 on third and longer than ten yards. Do we not have a third down quick kick in the playbook? When your defense is playing well and the game is tight, don't you have to consider that option? I know you have Tress Way coming in on fourth down to clean up, but I felt we could have surprised the 49ers once or twice and eliminated a special teams penalty opportunity.
4. I hate to pile on, but a lot of people learned a lot about pocket presence in the game yesterday. Better put, a lot of people learned was pocket presence WASN'T yesterday. Listen, I understand that our offensive line spends a lot of time stuck in reverse, but not every team in the league has an elite OL unit. You need the quarterback to feel his way around whatever pocket there is, no matter what. In terms of the average pocket size that Robert Griffin III regularly sees, I would compare it to the inner pocket inside the main pocket of a tight pair of jeans--you know...the one big enough to fit a single Tylenol caplet or a penny (but not both). Regardless of that, Griffin routinely displayed an inability to identify the right space to step and throw. Instead, he wheeled back, hitch-stepped and rolled into sacks. I am not sure if there is anything that scares me more about the development of our franchise quarterback than the issue of whether or not pocket presence is something a guy can teach. You see the greats have that ability to take a sidestep without even appearing to see the pressure. You see quarterbacks who develop that ability to step into a small space inside the pocket and deliver the ball, usually a step up. Griffin seems to wheel back and out of whatever pocket space there is, though I will be the first one to suggest that it is a tight pocket. It's not even about taking less hits. He gets hit regardless, but he can make a throw after a step forward much easier than a spin move backwards. Don't get me wrong, stepping up into a pocket behind the line we currently have is a freaking trust fall like no other. This is exactly what Griffin needs to do, and until he either develops or straight up learns how to "feel" the pocket, he is never going to be an effective quarterback at the NFL level. Ever.
5. I know many fans were upset at the way in which the game was called. We have entered what I like to call the, "It's time to be upset at the way in which the game was called" period of the season (sorry if that wasn't self-explanatory enough). Clearly the Redskins have no real flow at this point, and trying to find it at this point of our season and schedule is problematic. There is so much more wrong with this team than the plays that are getting called. If play-calling could fix our situation, we would consider ourselves insanely fortunate. The truth is that play-calling is always at the heart of the matter--it deserves both credit and blame, no matter the record. Can we really hang Gruden on his play-calling at this point of the circus? I don't think so. A rookie left tackle, an inexperienced right tackle and a struggling quarterback make play-calling at least a little bit difficult. We fed Alfred Morris and kept the game tight by leaning on our defense. I am sure there were plays Gruden would like to have back, but I just can't bring myself to get all over him the way we used to beat up on guys like Spurrier, Saunders, Zorn, Lewis, Zorn/Lewis, etc. When he looks down at his play sheet at any point in the game, you have to believe it takes every bit of strength he has to ignore that voice in his head that says, "Have you considered punting on first down?"
6. Another week, another step closer to what some will call the biggest investment for the smallest return in the history of the NFL. There is no escaping this guys. All the strife and chaos over the last decade and a half has only prepared us to possibly be ready for what lies in store for us this offseason. I am not here today saying that cutting ties with Griffin is the right decision. I am also not here saying that the Griffin experiment needs more time. I am here saying, "Holy shit! We used three first round picks and a second round pick to draft RG3 and all we have to show for it is a seven-game hot streak in 2012." Granted, we hosted a playoff game, but we are a million miles from that today. Some hard decisions are coming. Regardless of which way the team decides to go with RG3, the decision will draw heavy criticism. The decision will impact our short-term and long-term future. The truth is that both options will require a ridiculous amount of strength and organizational fortitude. Oh crap...