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Looks Like Someone Has a Sixpack of the Mondays

Redskins fans found it hard to watch the Wild Card round, knowing that their team blew a very open opportunity to participate in it.

The Washington Redskins play the Dallas Cowboys Photo by John McDonnell / The Washington Post via Getty Images
  1. Over the last 20 years or so, in seasons when the Redskins failed to find themselves anywhere near playoff contention, the NFL’s postseason was just about always must-see television for me. I mean, don’t get me wrong—I’m a sports junkie that will watch (and potentially gamble on) most sporting events. We rarely knew the sting of just missing out on a playoff spot, and when we were close, even the most blindly optimistic among us knew the drill. It was easy to transition to “general football fan” after week seventeen. This year—this playoff season—reminds me of a time when the Redskins qualified for the playoffs on the regular. When I was very young and watching Joe Gibbs lead teams into January on an annual basis, the week after the Redskins were eliminated, I made other plans to avoid watching football on television. This past weekend, watching the Wild Card round was difficult for me to settle into, and I kind of liked it. I don’t want to be happy when my team misses the playoffs—none of us should want that. I felt—and I think most of you also felt—like I was watching a game in which my team should have and even could have participated. Some people might call that sour grapes. I call it an awakening.
  2. The Redskins weren’t good enough to make the playoffs this year. It really is that simple, but the manner in which we flirted with the postseason—all year long—represents the kind of step forward we have been begging for in this town. As much as 8-7-1 tells the story of who this Redskins team was and is, but it is only part of the story. The 2015 campaign that saw us go 9-7 is very much a part of this tale. In the short term, you could argue that the team took a baby step backward, but once you are able to step back and view the Scot “McLovin” McCloughan regime in its brief totality, it is hard to not feel somewhat excited (maybe not just quite yet). Despite that pain we feel due to our team’s failure this season, the Redskins enter year three of the McLovin Era with enough resources to close some of our biggest holes. Of course, time will tell how successful we are in this regard.
  3. Let’s not dodge the biggest topic we beat up here each day. Instead of rehashing my position or the arguments made by others, I will offer this dose of reality: as much as people want to compare the stats of Kirk Cousins and Aaron Rodgers, when you watch Ay-Ay-Ron operate in the postseason, it is a thing of beauty. Our guy isn’t there yet. I believe he is going to be very, very good as a Redskin over his career, but he definitely has some work to do to earn any comparisons to a player like Rodgers. (This fact will have little bearing on the amount he gets paid, however, which is such a huge mental block for so many.) That was my thought as I watched the Packers dismantle the G-men. I take heat for supposedly never being critical of Kirk, though I feel like I am realistic about him. I get that just because he put up awesome numbers doesn’t mean he has “arrived” on the same level as the Elite guys. I would argue all he needs is time to get there, and that time needs to be laid out, you know...contractually, with a lot of zeroes involved.
  4. I suppose we should also have a Defensive Coordinator thought of the day. Here’s mine: I want a guy who could be our head coach in two or three years if we needed or wanted him to be. On one hand, I do think Jay Gruden is our man. Because I think this team will improve next season and beyond, I think he will be here. That said, weird things happen all the time. I would suggest that my preference here might not be as strong as others I have (like my preference that we offer Pierre Garcon a serious contract that will compel him to stay in DC). It just has the effect of dampening any excitement I have about either Wade Phillips or Gus Bradley. We can all agree both are above average defensive coordinators, and would represent an upgrade from what he had, but I wouldn’t consider either to be a strong option for us if we had to hire from within. Ultimately, I see this franchise as under the influence of McLovin. With him in charge, coaches and players may be shuffled, but the overall way we go about our business—both in the offseason and on game day—will remain consistent. That is why I would like for the Redskins to be in the business of developing innovative, hot coordinators (see: Sean McVay).
  5. As for what actually happened this weekend in the Wild Car round, I can honestly say that I can’t get enough Yacht Club talk. I love it so much. I don’t think Odell Beckham dropped passes on Sunday because he was on a boat earlier in the week...but I LOVE that he is being CRUSHED with those accusations. The Yacht Club discussion throughout the game yesterday was beyond entertaining for me (and other Redskins fans I am sure), and is likely something that won’t go away. I can already see the signs and t-shirts in Philly and Landover for those home games next season.
  6. I know many of you are still washing off that feeling we all had at the close of the season’s final episode against the New York Giants. I know I am still holding onto it a little bit. It doesn’t help that we are churning coaches and dealing with a HUGE quarterback matter. I ask that you join Kevin, T and I on Tuesday nights for The Audible in a weekly segment called “Offseason On the Brink.” If we’re lucky, maybe we can get a guest appearance by John Feinstein! (I am confident most will get the reference.) We think the next six months are going to be the most important for this version of the Washington Redskins. It’s year three of a very professional rebuild, which means that when the team hits the ground next September, it will be expected to be a legit playoff contender. The decisions made by McLovin and Jay Gruden this offseason will likely shape our experience as fans for the next five or six seasons (at least). I happen to think this is going to be a blast, and that this team is about to blast off. It all starts right now, and we’ll be talking about it weekly with some awesome guests we have lined up. Have a great Monday, y’all.