It’s been a long time since we dusted off the ol’ italics button and dared to...Boldly Hope. For those of you who have called Hogs Haven home for long enough, you surely recall a time when on here when hope was our lifeblood. Since the arrival of Scot “McLovin” McCloughan, I can honestly say that my hope (and likely yours too) feels like it’s in pretty smart hands. That said, the first two weeks of this season has tested our faith. At 0-2, the Redskins and their fanbase are desperately clinging to the hope that things will turn around...immediately.
This post isn’t about breaking down why Jamison Crowder should have a field day this week (the Giants have been eaten alive by inside receivers). It isn’t about the fact that despite being 2-0, the Giants offense is hardly the most intimidating unit we will face (the only touchdown the G-men scored last week was on a blocked field goal). We rarely—if ever—do X’s and O’s at the same time we boldly hope. (It kind of ruins it to be honest.)
I need something to point towards and hope for after starting the season with two...straight...home...losses. Damn...even my hopes feel rudderless after the 0-2 beginning to the 2016 campaign. We started this on The Audible this week, and I am carrying it through to my other posts. Of course I want to make the playoffs. Of course I want to see another division title, but we need to establish some intermediary goals. That is where #MakeThanksgivingMatter comes from. (Editor’s Note: All games against the Dallas Cowboys “matter,” so let’s take this in the spirit with which it is intended!)
On Thanksgiving, the Redskins travel to Dallas to play a nationally televised game. It will be Week 11, and the Redskins will be hitting the home stretch of the season. My boldest hope today is that we hit that game with something to play for (something more than just beating Dallas, which is of course its own reward). Between now and then, the Redskins absolutely have a chance to right the ship. Setting aside what record we think will be necessary at that point to put us in the right position (6-4 or 5-5 would likely be the worst we can afford to be for that game to matter all that much), the Thanksgiving game marks the beginning of the second run through the NFC East.
Let us not forget that when the Redskins have made the playoffs in recent years, it has been on the strength of their finishes. In 2005, 2007 and 2012, the Redskins destroyed it down the stretch. Last season, they also finished strong, resulting in a home playoff game. I would love for us NOT to NEED an unbelievable finish to qualify for the postseason. Having to “win out” is never the most desired road to the playoffs—we aren’t the Cleveland Indians squad from the movie “Major League.”
If the Thanksgiving game matters, it will mean that we played some above average ball between Weeks 2 and 11, and that guys like Kirk Cousins corrected some errors that were made out of the gate. If the Thanksgiving game matters, it will mean that the division is still very much up for grabs. If we #MakeThanksgivingMatter, the Redskins will be entering the crucial final stretch of the season with the kind of momentum that has carried them to the playoffs before.
One can Boldly Hope...