- As I try to start each and every Sixpack, I hope and pray this week finds you and your families happy and healthy. I know that so many of you have been feeling the impact of this national quarantine in unique ways, and I know that many of you have had to deal with difficult moments, days, weeks and months. It has felt silly to jump right into talking about sports with so much of this stuff happening right up in our faces. I get that sports and sports chatter is a welcome distraction, and I hope that our staff of writers here at Hogs Haven (a really great group that has juggled creating distractions for themselves and for you) has provided plenty of banter-generating content. That said, this space has always been a bit more personal, so I have kind of spaced it out a bit. I can’t do this without being painfully honest (I can handle the criticism that comes with that) and I already share so much on my shows that I feel like maybe a little less of me makes a little more room for a lot more of the team here and of course all of you. It is helpful as well that the NFL calendar has finally hit that annual lull, which is typically when you get even more of my wide-ranging rambling. Haha...so many years of that! I guess my personal note today would be to thank so many of you who have been joining us on Tuesday nights on Thank God It’s Tuesday, which we have dumped so much time, energy and resources into over the last month. I do call it the official Redskins podcast of Hogs Haven, because it is, but everything you see when you watch is a result of direct investment from me and my team. We don’t charge for people to subscribe to 1st Amendment Sports’ YouTube channel (because why)—we are genuinely appreciative if you give us your time. I very much enjoy interacting with you guys on the show and batting around Redskins topics because more times than not, your takes shape my own. Welcome to the show, y’all (see you tomorrow night). Remember, if you miss the live show, it is immediately available for you to watch at your leisure, and I am always accessible via twitter (@ItsRainingKen) to get your thoughts and comments. Of course, I am also @HogsHaven, though Aaron Lesher is our front man for the vast majority of that content these days.
- With the school year officially shut down for pretty much everyone reading this (Maryland finally called it last week), talk will very soon move to the fall. Families are going to be concerned first and foremost about schooling for their children, among many other concerns, but intertwined in all of that will be an open and frank discussion about the return to sports. To be fair, the sports question will be off-putting to those who are dealing with serious and negative impacts of this pandemic, and we need to always remain sensitive to that. On the flip side, the conversation is going to happen and the kind of responsible folks who I see here everyday should be helping to lead that conversation. Since we find ourselves in a Redskins community, let’s keep it to football for a moment. The NFL has rolled through their offseason calendar rather successfully. In fact, it is the one professional sports league that has been able to operate somewhat unimpeded by the global crisis. Sure, they have had to change some things—not being able to do the draft in Vegas KILLED Goodell I am sure—but no actual games have been impacted. That may very well change, and for the first time, that conversation is going to start happening since from this point forward, moving the schedule will impact the fall. If teams can’t get the work in this summer on time, it is hard to imagine the season starting on time. I think one of the coolest things I have read is guys like Mike Tomlin saying that every team needs to be able to open at the same time in order for it to be fair. That feeds neatly into the notion that it will be the governors around the country that will dictate the start of the season. I would love to see this not devolve into a political discussion (again), so let’s all just embrace a core reality: from the vantage point of today, it looks pretty, pretty, pretty iffy that the NFL opens in September. (Thanks Larry David.) Things can change though, and they very well might. These are true things to say and it is from this shared truth that I was going to kind of hit on some Redskins points.
- As a former Redskins season ticket holder, I am holding my breath to see what the Redskins policy would be regarding folks who have stroked checks for a season’s worth of football. First and foremost, God bless everyone who stroked those checks! I pulled my tour of duty (ten years!) and I will always tip my hat to the folks carrying on the tradition that has fallen on hard times (you know...the tradition of Redskins fans going to FedEx...haha). Let’s be clear here: if games are canceled, give people their money back. Period. End of thought. DO THE RIGHT THING!
- What I have loved the most so far this offseason has been the NFL’s blitzing ahead acting as if we will have a full and normal season. We need that hope. We need that possibility to exist as long as it can exist. Kudos to Goodell and the league for continuing to provide that hope. The schedule release was yet another rite of offseason passage that puts amazing images in the heads and hearts of fans. Teams like ours—rebuilding teams—get to spend the next four months imagining ways in which wins are...possible. It’s genius. And yes, I will be putting out my annual “Road to 10-6” piece here shortly. And yes, I know exactly how it looks and sounds. Hahaha...nobody ever said love had to look and sound rational!
- In the context of the rebuild, the schedule release offered us another touchpoint to get a feel for the Rivera regime and how we might see this thing play out in year one. This is as true a rebuild as we have ever seen under Dan Snyder. Year One of a true rebuild is the “Find Out” year. The beauty for us is that Ron Rivera is the right guy to pull the levers. We’re going to find out about Dwayne Haskins. We’re going to find out about Derrius Guice. We’re going to find out about Chase Young. We’re going to find out about Reuben Foster. We’re going to find out about guys like Geron Christian, Sean Davis, Kelvin Harmon, Jeremy Sprinkle...you get the idea. The Redskins are about to have a buttload of salary cap space (technical term) and Ron Rivera is going to have a very good idea of where he wants to put that money to work after Year One. Whether the beginning of the schedule gets played or not—it matters not (sorry for talking like Yoda). Sure, the beginning of the schedule for the Redskins is as hard as any in the league, so I would personally like to see those matchups for the purposes of giving Rivera more data points, but a team like the Redskins is going to be challenged by pretty much every team on the schedule. This is great news for us and for the future of our team.
- Now is not the time to fret about whether or not we will have football in the fall...we’ll get there. Think of it this way: the Redskins window for winning championships is getting to the point of getting opened very, very soon. Playing ball this season will be helpful on a LOT of fronts for all of us, but the roster overhaul is ongoing and the Redskins will be among the least impacted by the lack of football IF IF IF IF we don’t play ball this fall. Getting to watch this new group build and mold this roster is fun...right now. It doesn’t take a lot of intelligence to see that we are adding talent, and we all know that effort needs to continue. Between now and September, the Washington Redskins can take mammoth-sized steps towards getting back to being a competitive, contending squad. And while I will always hope for days being back on the asphalt outside FedEx getting ready to watch a home game, I prefer to think of this time under Ron Rivera as one great big tailgate before the winning starts again in earnest. Thanks for your time everybody, and see you tomorrow night. We will be walking through the schedule and for sure attacking it with the belief in our hearts that football starts in September!
To play or not to play...is not a question we need to fret over just quite yet.