- Happy Victory Monday, y’all! Yes, it is a Victory Monday, and we shall celebrate it. Some of you out there are finding it hard to get excited about the Kapri Bibbs Era, but not me. I am excited, and I’ll make it simple: Wins Matter. I get a healthy dose of “The Redskins are losers,” “When will the Redskins be winners?” and “Do you know how many losses the Redskins have compiled under Dan Snyder?” I understand that going from a 5-8 record to a 6-8 record doesn’t all of a sudden change the culture of a downtrodden organization, but each win—at the very least—stops/pauses the accumulation of losses. Someday, if and when we ever talk about a five-year stretch above 0.500 (or something else equally amazing and odds-defying), I hope someone will remember the value added by these wins.
- With two games left in the season to go, and with an intimate understanding of the brand of football the 2017 Washington Redskins specialize in, there is no way I am taking for granted the size of the task ahead of us. As hard as it will be to emerge victorious against Denver, it will be ten times harder to beat the Giants in the final game. Why? Because that’s how we do. Denver’s defense is going to give us all we can handle, and our defense should be able to hang with...whichever quarterback they start. I am sure the tens of people in attendance at FedEx Field on Sunday will be treated to a game that goes down to the wire. As for the Giants game, that will be its very own, special flavor of football. Unlike last year’s game of grabass, where neither team seemed too intent on winning, until the Giants literally couldn’t help but win, this year both teams will likely be looking to finish on an up note. It could mean we get treated to one last good game. (It could mean that. It could also mean...worse things.) For my money, a quest for 8-8 is as worthy as they come. You think I am going to want anything less than the ability to tout three straight non-losing seasons?!?!
- People laugh about going 8-8, as if it doesn’t matter. How about this: since the last time we went 8-8 (2008), we have seen records of 4-12 TWICE, 5-11 and 6-10 once each, and we were even were treated to a 3-13 gem. I can honestly say I would have taken 8-8 over all of them (regardless of how that would have changed our draft order...irregardless even.) Here’s why it matters, in my humble opinion: this offseason can go reasonably well or it can go TERRIBLY BAD. Even if we finish the season 8-8, it can go terribly bad, but if the Redskins establish the slightest momentum coming out of the regular season, a worst-case scenario offseason could potentially be avoided. And let’s be clear, the Redskins definition of “worst-case scenario offseason” is far different than the average definition. Ours gets wrapped up in pretty paper and sold to us as a gift. Ours gets catchy slogans, like “winning off the field,” while the rest of the league would simply call losing their franchise quarterback a terribly bad offseason. Assuming for a moment that for all intents and purposes our offseason has begun, wouldn’t it make sense that we try to keep things as positive as possible? Wins matter, and the next two may very well be the only thing that keeps this train even partially on the tracks.
- I thought yesterday’s crowd at FedEx Field was the most pro-Redskins scene of the season. The Arizona fanbase stayed home, and before you say something like, “How many Cardinals fans could there be in Washington, D.C.?????” let me stop you right there. If my FedEx experience teaches me anything, it’s that there are probably 17.9 million Arizona Cardinals fans in the area...which would make them a smaller group than the 49ers, Vikings and Raiders contingents. Because of the predictably terrible product being served up, only the diehard Redskins fans made the trip. Making the following leap requires you to stay with me for a moment. It was a very RFK kind of experience yesterday for me. The crowd was pretty much all burgundy and gold. There were a few black and red jerseys, but like I said before, it was the highest concentration of just Skins fans I can recall, which is the first thing that made me think of RFK. Secondly, the people that were there came to cheer for the team. This seems like it should be obvious, but...it’s not. These days, people go to football games to hobnob, see and be seen. They get there late, and hang out at the end zone bars and club level bars. Yesterday, despite the small crowd, it was loud when it should have been loud—when the other team had the ball and directly after good plays made by the home team. The people in front of me, next to me and behind me were all actively involved in the game. It is sad that the “RFK Crowd” drew the Redskins/Cardinals snoozefest, but they made the most of it. I think the way things stand, it is probably the only kind of game other than a preseason contest where we will see that many diehard Redskins fans working together at a home game. I was trying to think of another example of an “RFK Crowd” I have been a part of over the last decade. I keep coming back to the Hall of Fame induction ceremony for Darrell Green and Art Monk in Canton, Ohio. The ovation for Art Monk while he stood on that stage is right up there with Cal Ripken’s victory lap when he broke the consecutive games played record. All of this is to say that we’re still here...it still exists...the magic from RFK still exists. We don’t yet have what we need to properly tap into it for the big game, but when tickets are being given away for free, all of those people who got priced out over the years come back. I love watching football with those people. It makes me want to keep going myself.
- It wasn’t all lovefest though yesterday. Those in attendance yesterday were treated to that oh-so-special feeling of, “Holy crap, how in God’s name are we on the verge of losing this game?” You haven’t been to a Redskins game until you have experienced “The Fourth Quarter Where You Question the Existence of God...Or At Least Openly Opine that God Hates Redskins Fans.” Don’t get me wrong, other crappy teams in the league routinely find ways to lose, but I struggle to identify many squads that so regularly do just enough to find themselves needing to keep the other team off the board in the final minute. From a failure to convert on third-and-inches, to a groin-flicking turnover at the worst time...to the standard penalty call to extend an otherwise completed drive against us—the Redskins have cost themselves a playoff chance this season from these alone. Watching the Blaine Gabbert-led Cardinals march down the field with seconds to go, needing a touchdown to win, was about as exciting as a colonoscopy. For all of those folks getting their one taste of the Redskins this year, it was a full plate, and thankfully it was chased down with the victory!
- Tomorrow on The Audible, we will continue to talk about the manner in which our offseason decisions are impacted based on what is happening on the field these last few weeks. We will provide continuing coverage of The Shitball Masters, a hard-fought competition between teams playing for just about nothing. The Redskins are a game up, with two to go—nothing would be better than at least differentiating ourselves from other terrible teams playing for nothing. It will be a fun week in the basement—as it always is—but the holiday weeks are always the most fun. If you have a second tomorrow around 9:15 or so, check us out on Hogs Haven’s Facebook Live feed.
Looks Like Someone Has a Sixpack of the Mondays
The Redskins inched towards a potentially respectable season...without all the pomp and circumstance that generally accompanies such things.