Fight for Old DC: 2014 First Preseason Game (WAS vs. NE: Aug. 7, 2014)
Heading into the 2014 preseason, Redskins fans thought they might be looking at the light at the end of the tunnel and leaving behind the all-consuming drama fest of the previous year. Why wouldn't they think that? A new, enthusiastic, "QB whisperer" was at the helm, and star wide receiver DeSean Jackson had been added to the roster as another weapon for RGIII. Even without a first round draft pick (again), the front office managed to put decent rookie talent on the field with players like Bashaud Breeland and Trent Murphy. Most players survived training camp at Richmond in one piece, and even though guys like Pierre Garcon and Jackson were out for the first preseason game, fans had reasons to hope for the upcoming year. Could it be, that after a long, 278 day stretch, Washington was finally going to be back in the "win" column by beating the New England Patriots? (Answer: Yes.)
Current State of Affairs: 2015 First Preseason Game (WAS vs. CLE: Aug. 13, 2015)
In his post game presser after the last game of a 4-12 season, Coach Jay Gruden acknowledged the obvious: "we've got a lot of work to do." I could hear pretty much hear the collective smack of fans' palms hitting their foreheads all across the nation. Luckily, someone with power seemed to hear the noise, too, and started making long overdue changes. Most notably, Bruce Allen was replaced as GM through the hiring of football mind Scot McCloughan. The team finally took part in night one of the NFL Draft after a two year drought and moved to strengthen the struggling offensive line by selecting Brandon Schreff. Despite the additions of rookies like Schreff, free agents like Terrance Knighton and Junior Galette, and coaches like Joe Barry, fans' enthusiasm seems more tempered this year. Read into what you will, but it's hard to ignore the fact that attendance for the first four days of training camp is less than half of what it was two years ago, and while it hasn't quite been 278 days since the team's last win, 237 days is pretty close. Heading into tonight's first preseason game against Cleveland, at least fans can be thankful that Johnny Football isn't in burgundy and gold, right?
And the winner is...
the current state of affairs. There may have been more excitement floating around before the first 2014 preseason game, but I'll take the slow and steady approach of someone with a proven track record like McCloughan over the blind enthusiasm for then-first year head coach Gruden any day.