Fussing and complaining about power rankings is the digital equivalent of screaming at a pond full of ducks...but those ducks deserve a piece of my mind!
When it is mid-May, and you see a headline that reads "NFL Power Rankings," you should probably be prepared to read a bunch of drivel. (That probably goes for most headlines written by me as well, but I digress.) I went ahead and clicked open the ESPN rankings collected and posted by Dan Graziano, despite knowing that it was likely going to upset me. Let me take you through what it means to be a Redskins fan opening offseason power rankings. Trust me, I know that it doesn't matter, but I still get all hot and bothered.
Dallas above Washington? Check!
First, the obvious: Dallas is ranked above Washington...again. Why wouldn't they be ranked above us? They finished 4-12 last season, have a quarterback made entirely of glass, drafted a running back in the first round that at least seems superfluous and a linebacker in the second round that won't be able to play for...at least a while. They have perfected the art of failing to meet expectations, so everyone feels obligated to set those expectations nice and high so the Dallas Cowboys can...you know...go to work. It's not an official power rankings piece unless the lead analyst is giving Dallas the benefit of the doubt for being terrible in the previous year.
Multiple teams with losing records above Washington? Check!
The Cowboys join the Baltimore Ravens and the Oakland Raiders ahead of the Redskins in the most recent ESPN power rankings. That makes three teams that finished with four, five and seven wins, respectively, ranked ahead of Washington. Here's what I don't get: ESPN has both Pittsburgh and Cincinnati in the top seven teams, meaning at least four very tough outs on the Ravens schedule. You're telling me that the third-place team in the AFC North is better than the defending NFC East champs...in May?!?!?!?!?! The last time the Redskins played a real game, it was in the NFL PLAYOFFS. The last time the Ravens played a real game, it was a week 11 squeaker over the Rams (Flacco and Forsett both lost for the season) that put their record at 3-7 on the year. Makes perfect sense that you would assume both the quarterback and running back will recover and be the best versions of themselves right away again.
Gutless, middle-of-the-pack prediction for Washington? Check!
At #16, it doesn't get much more middle-of-the-pack. If you are going to lean on the turnover at the top of the NFC East as the reason to hold the Redskins back, you aren't paying attention. Only one team in the NFC East has won the division twice in the last four years, and that team wears burgundy and gold! Our quarterback had a breakout year, and his game got better with each week last season. Our offensive line that was so young at the beginning of the campaign has that much more experience and our young tight end has earned his spot in the conversation for top two or three tight ends in the league. We get back a top-tier pass rusher (Junior Galette) and added an All-Pro cornerback on defense, along with two defensive backs out of the draft that will be on the field right away during the 2016 season. DeSean Jackson is still
On one hand, power rankings at this time of year are a perfect way to get a debate started. On the other hand, knocking a division champ after it has done nothing but improve off the field seems irresponsible and even idiotic.
Or maybe I am just overly sensitive when it comes to my team. Either way, this isn't helping me have a quiet and calm springtime.
You guys know the rules around here: if you bitch and moan about a rankings piece, or a tournament seeding, or anything along those lines, and you feel that your team belongs in a different spot, you have to say who you would replace or displace. In this case, I will settle for what I believe should have been the worst-case scenario for the Skins: #12, with the Colts up to #11, and the Cowboys down to #13...right behind the team they will be looking up at all year!