1. I think a pattern has been established on this over the years. When things are...ahem...not as rosy as we would prefer, the Monday Sixpacks turn into Tuesday kegs. Powder kegs. On Friday morning, I went to sound the alarm, but the handle has been broken since about 2008ish. So often, this space is reserved for the unbridled passion and emotion that goes into being a fan of the Washington Redskins. Today will be no different. The Washington Redskins are like that cabin your family rented every summer for the dreaded/highly anticipated family vacations. You know the ones. Great memories were made each year, and everyone kind of grew up against the backdrop of that one annual experience. Every year, you would make that long drive and show up actually excited. When you walked in the door each summer, you were always greeted by that same old smell, right? You would ask yourself, "Are they ever going to tackle whatever it is that makes that smell? It's the 21st century for crying out loud. Surely they can solve this one odor problem." Nope. They couldn't. Every year...the same smell. You would run to the room where your bed was (along with the beds of all your siblings). As you set your bag down and plopped down on the mattress, you would think, "I wonder if they got new mattresses for us this year? I would literally kill for a mattress that is more than three inches thick with four-inch springs inside." Nope. Same mattresses, same springs. Same bad back when you left. You would be parched from the long drive and you would head into the kitchen for a glass of ice water. You would wonder aloud, "Do you think they fixed the plumbing so the water doesn't taste like the cabin smells? Sure would be nice to have a glass of water not taste like I sat in it for the last five hours." Nope. The water would be mostly clear, but would have a disturbing aftertaste. You would tiptoe over to the sliding door to the back of the cabin. You would be praying, "Please God...please don't let there be that same spider haven that has been here every year we have ever come. I would like to walk through that door without worrying about a huge hairy spider dropping onto my head." Nope. The spiderwebs would still be there. The largest, hairiest and potentially oldest spider alive would just be chilling, waiting for some action. That is how I see the Redskins today. Same smell. Same bitter aftertaste. Same physical discomfort after watching them. Same spiders.
2. At 1-3, coming off of yet another prime time drubbing at the hands of a divisional opponent, emotions are running hot. Even on the Monday following that Thursday night disgrace, I was not prepared to put this out there because of the anger and anguish that only took four weeks to surface this season. I mean...for God's sake, that game was terrible. I can appreciate all the silver linings and bright spots that are always there to be found--most of the time. I am not in a silver linings place this week. There is no such thing as a bright spot between a 45-14 beatdown from the New York Giants and a Monday Night Football showdown with the Seattle Seahawks. It's a very, very dark spot. Sure, having the extra time between a Thursday game and a Monday game goes a long way, but the Seahawks have had even longer. I feel like the extended break between games is just causing me to linger on the fact that this season already looks like so many I have seen before in the last 15 years.
3. Before they start playing the soundtrack from "Old Yeller" on here, I guess it is at least fair to suggest that...wait for it...it ain't over yet. Hell, we were 3-6 in 2012 before making our season-closing 7-0 statement for the division crown. The only problem is (read: "one of many problems is") I am not sure how much we can count on the rest of the league going out of their way to help us get there this time. If you recall, a couple of teams--including the Dallas Cowboys--helped us out big time by faltering down the stretch that season. Now it appears as if both Dallas and Philadelphia are capable of taking care of their own business (at least after the first quarter of the season).
4. The truth is we are two games out of first place, with three teams in our way and 12 games left to play. We have been in worse dilemmas before, but this particular 1-3 is worse than it looks. Our sole victory came at home against the Jacksonville Jaguars. That is not necessarily a win you want to hold up as some kind of statement. Our losses have been rather emphatic as well. Against the Houston Watts', we failed on the special teams side of the ball and failed to protect the rock. While I don't deal in should and could, the fact is that it was a winnable game. Our other two defeats came inside the division. The Eagles game looked better than the Giants game, but when 67% of your losses are against divisional opponents, nothing looks all that great. Then there is the matter of the next opponent. The Redskins will be putting their 1-3 record on the line against the defending Super Bowl Champions...on national television. At least historically...this has not gone well for us.
5. I am not saying I have worked through all of my misery from the Thursday game against New York, but I have gotten past denial. Most of my weekend was spent in the anger phase, as I watched teams like Dallas beat teams like New Orleans. I am firmly in the "depressed" phase, which is also kind of like our most comfortable phase (more on that next). The one thing that I think is important is that we own our displeasure. I have way too many "We're only 1-3," or "It's only four games," or "We lost our starting quarterback." Guess what? None of that changes the fact that this team seems to always need the benefit of a quick and handy explanation as to why it is under-achieving. I am usually at the front of the line handing out these explanations. Perhaps I will get back to that next week or the week after. Today, I prefer to look at this team as if it was the 1-3 disaster it sooooooooooooooo resembles. I need to live in that for another day or two. The carpet around Redskins Park is so bumpy from all the crap we have swept under it over the years that we need to just sit on this a little longer. No, it's not over yet. But it won't be long if we keep playing the way we did last Thursday.
6. As I pondered being 1-3 during the fourth quarter of last Thursday's game, a variety of emotions hit me all at once. Most of them are covered in some shape or form above. There was another one, though, and I am not ashamed to admit it. There is something about the Redskins being terrible that has grown on me. I can't explain it. I would do anything to see us be successful and hoist Lombardi Trophies, but some part of me would feel like we lost something if and when that happens. Don't get me wrong, I would gladly pay that price, but I would be sad that we no longer had this particular tie binding us all together. Mediocrity from the Redskins is like a warm blanket pulled over each diehard fan. It has grown comfortable over the years. We have grown accustomed to the way it feels...and smells. It is where most of our experience has been for the last fifteen or more years (more). Before long, all the people who only pay attention when the Redskins have a chance will move along until next August. A few more losses and the most impassioned of us will be back in our foxhole, together, in the never-ending session of group therapy that being a Redskins fan is pretty much all about. We're not there yet, but I sure felt like we were close after Kirk Cousins threw his millionth interception last Thursday night. They say you can't truly get better until you hit rock bottom. I'll give the Redskins one thing: they keep reinventing what that means, making it more difficult to truly know when we are there.