I’m not sure if it’s really fair to call it a “surge”, but fan confidence as measured by the FanPulse poll tripled this week from 1% to 3%. Given that we’ve seen two weeks that measured zero, and that the confidence level hadn’t risen above 2% since Week 5, this marks a clear upswing.
There must be some reasons.
At least we didn’t lose
The cynic might point to the fact that this poll was taken during the Redskins bye week, and that it signaled relief that the team, at least, didn’t lose a game in Week 10.
Front office changes in the wind?
It might also signal that fans are starting to feel some hope about potential changes in the ownership or front office structure. There were reports, denied fairly quickly, that Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon and owner of the Washington Post, might be involved in helping Dan Snyder put together a stadium deal, leading to speculation that he might also take a stake in the ownership of the team.
This fueled the long-held hopes of Redskins fans that the incompetent and much ridiculed and reviled President of the franchise, Bruce Allen, might be on his way out.
OK! New Bang cartoon cut for Twitter size, and ready to go.— John Tayman (@BangRadioHour) November 10, 2019
Inside the Trade deadline at the Redskins Hideout.
For more cartoons, podcasts and Bang Football Fun https://t.co/YlfcteL2NL pic.twitter.com/hPHdF6CIbn
All of this might’ve led to some positive feelings from fans.
But, especially given how quickly the reports and speculation were negated by a strong statement by the Redskins front office, I have my doubts.
The 2020 draft
Another factor may be the Redskins increasingly attractive draft position. This weekend, the Dolphins, Jets and Falcons all won, moving to 2 wins each, and locking in the Redskins more solidly at the 2nd overall pick in the draft. The team can further cement its draft standing by losing to the Jets this Sunday.
Still, I don’t see a couple of spots in draft position being enough to account for the suddenly more optimistic view that would lead fans to express confidence in the team — after all, the draft position is based on continued losing, and it does nothing to solve the Dan Snyder-Bruce Allen problem that has plagued the franchise for the past decade. This would be like celebrating because the front porch on your home had finally collapsed, so there was less house remaining for the termites to eat. When your home is infested with vermin, it’s the vermin that have to be eliminated, not the house itself.
No, losing is not the answer for the Redskins, no more than it is for any competitive sports team.
I believe what made the difference this week was the announcement that the team’s 2019 first round draft pick (well, one of them, anyway), Dwayne Haskins, would be the starting quarterback for the remainder of the season, with Case Keenum becoming the backup and Colt McCoy becoming irrelevant.
When you combine that with the return of last year’s second round pick, running back Derrius Guice, from 8 weeks on the IR list, the remaining seven games take on a different complexion.
Instead of a sad team of broken veterans playing out the string, suddenly Redskins fans can look at the end of the 2019 season as an early downpayment on the 2020 season. With Dwayne Haskins at quarterback, Derrius Guice re-joining the backfield, Terry McLaurin continuing his exciting rookie season, and other young players like rookie receivers Kelvin Harmon, Steven Sims and Cam Sims getting the chance to show their skills, the upcoming games offer a glimpse at the potentially exciting future of the moribund Redskins offense that was DOA in 2019.
For the first time since Week 2 or 3, Redskins fans have a reason to turn on the TV or go to the stadium with the expectation of having something to cheer for and watch with interest. Win, lose or draw, these young players have the opportunity to show growth and improvement from week-to-week. They represent a future that may be brighter than the very gloomy present.
Of course, for the moment, that gloomy present, overseen by Brucifer, is where the 97% of fans who didn’t express confidence in the Redskins have their focus.
I’m sure we all hope there are brighter days ahead.