Superlatives like the word “most” are generally saved for times when there is so much to sort through, one or two things float out to the “most” end of the spectrum. It is hard to believe that we can call the second week of the NFL season one of those times, and yet here we are. All of the VOX Media NFL team sites are pulling together a comprehensive group of things that stand out as the most surprising of the season so far.
How about we start with what isn’t surprising? Is anyone surprised that in the same game, one team suffered this series of unfortunate calamaties:
- threw a red zone interception
- gave up a touchdown on a third and long play after having the quarterback contained and almost sacked
- muffed a punt that turned into points
- gave up a ridiculous fumble touchdown with a minute go in the game that also included an improbable replay review that went the opposite of how EVERYONE thought it should
Nope...nothing surprising there. How about the news that after being targeted zero times and not earning a starting spot in the lineup, Josh Doctson showed up with “tightness?” Is that surprising? Are we capable of being surprised anymore?
I think for me, watching week one offered this potentially surprising thought: what the hell were the Redskins working on in the preseason to come out so flat against a divisional opponent out of the gates? I was surprised that Kirk had trouble with his accuracy, given he is one of the most accurate quarterbacks in NFL history (still #3 overall...ALL-TIME).
I go out on a considerable limb every August, extolling the virtues of preseason to people that can’t physically handle even talking about it. The team needs to help me out just a little bit. I have made the reference before, and I’ll keep making it. In “My Cousin Vinny,” when the public defender makes his opening argument, I am very much reminded of the Redskins coming out of the preseason.
The confident walk from his seat to the jury has his client feeling good and ready to win! It doesn’t take long to realize that his client had no idea of his difficulties speaking in public. All the preparations they had made together were tossed out the window it seemed, when the public defender “got a little nervous” and decided to cut and run. Is there a better comparison to the manner in which the Redskins exited the preseason? Instead of making the case that they are ready to lay down a third straight winning season, they made the case that they were simply not yet prepared to win on Sundays (I love that salute to the judge on the way back to the seat, as if he just nailed it).
As much as I am making this about the Redskins today, I suppose in general, what surprises me the most at this point of the season and at this point in the life of the NFL, is that the preseason remains completely intact and unchanged. Why?
The product on the field is terrible (generally), nothing is on the line (meaningfully) and players assume considerable health risk so owners can charge FULL price? I mean, if teams aren’t hitting the ground running in September like a good deal of teams appeared not to be this past weekend, you have to ask yourselves why. I know this is not a new thought or concept, but wasn’t one of the biggest comments coming out of week one how ho-hum the games were, for the most part? (I am sure Kansas City fans believe that the preseason went...just fine.) The preseason format needs to change for so many reasons that impact every side of the debate. Surely a solution exists.
I will be very surprised if the Washington Redskins travel to Los Angeles and lay a similar kind of egg against the Rams. I honestly don’t believe that is the team they are this season, and I am eager for them to prove me right on that.