Sunday, December 14, 2008
A Redskins Rant: Updated
1. I actually know a fair amount about football. I can typically watch a game and tell you exactly what happened. And not even factually like "So and so ran for so many yards and this guy had this turnover and that's what happened and it lead to this score." Usually NFL games are more complicated than that, and on top of that the involve a bit more of a macrocosmic view, if you will. They involve the whole history of a franchise, and...a game and even a play usually just involves a bigger picture. For example, last week the Redskins lost to the Ravens. The Ravens are like the Steelers. You generally won't out hit them, you can only keep up with them and hope to make some plays. Early in the game we found ourselves down 14 to null. At that point I predicted exactly what would happen. We would crawl back into the game (for a large variety of complicated factors), but then in the end the Ravens would win, basically because of something very simple: people get tired. And sure enough, the Redskins had climbed back into the game (were down like 7 or 10 points) and with 9 minutes or so left the Ravens go the ball, with the momentum belonging to the Redskins. The Ravens ran the ball down the throat of the Redskins, who typically have one of the best run defenses in the NFL (behind the Ravens and Stellers, btw), and ran out the clock for like 6 or 7 minutes (down to like the 3 minute mark or so) and scored a touchdown. Game over.
All that to say, I can follow an NFL game pretty well. But watching this Redskins-Bengals game - I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT HAPPENED! AND - I think that's because - what happend was...NOTHING! Nothing happened. Null, zero, nadda. At the beginning the Redskins turned it over. They stampeded us because we were playing like we were working on an assembly line, and from there on out they played like the horrible Bengals (but didn't do anything overly horrible mistake wise) and we played like the better team who was still working an assembly line, except our assembly line sped up a little. That is to say, we out played them statistically the rest of the way after the first quarter, but still lost. But I swear I can't really give you a real reason why we lost. We just...did. It feels like fate.
Update: I forgot to mention - Clinton Portis. He made the big hullabaloo outburst this week, but it didn't seem to have a lot to do with why we lost. I mean...he ran OK. Like everything else, our running game this week seemed pretty non-descript. It was like he ran and got nowhere sometiems, but then sometimes he had pretty good runs, and then he had a couple of heroic 2nd effort runs that got first downs. But like every other part of this game, it didn't really stand out but it also didn't really seem to be horrible, either. We just lost, and it feels inexplicably wierd and sad and crappy.
Update 2: Perhaps most disturbing as part of why we lost is that we played like we assumed we would win, when we had lost 4 of the last 5. Make it 5 of 6.
2. What happened to the season? We were 6-2 at the half way mark, and playing as well as anyone in the league. Everyone was saying that if we could get through the first 5 games with 3 wins, then we'd be golden, because of how tough the beginning of our schedule was. We got through the first 5 with 4 wins, but lost to what looked at that time to be pretty much the worst team in the league (they had just fired their head coach the week prior to our game against them) the Rams. We then beat the Browns, but barely (who were also pretty bad). That put us at 6-2, and high on everyone's list of "Wow" teams. I remember before the season looking at the schedule the second half and having two conflicting thoughts: "Umm, we have late games against good NFC East opponents, and records don't really matter in those games. But then we also have the Steelers and the Ravens late, and I'm not so sure our young defensive line and grandparenthood offensive line will do so hot against those two." Well, as it turns out, we got handled by both the Steelers and Ravens. The better teams clearly won both of those games, and it wasn't the Redskins. And we've lost to the Giants and Cowboys here in the second half. And we will probably loose to Philly at home now that the season is like the hot chick with a paper bag over her head - nothing to write home about (to ether your brother OR your Mom).
Oh and plus our offensive line is old like a piece of poop that was once good fertilizer but is now just dusty white crumbly stuff. They are all hurt and in pass protection they like fingers through which the sand crubmles and next thing you know Jason Campbell is on the ground. This was happenning a bit early in the year, too, but we were running the ball so well we were able to hide the problem. Now the line is so hurt that we can't run the ball, either, so with the still-new offensive system and what-not we just have no offense to speak of, really.
Update - back to the Clinton Portis thing. As I mentioned he had his outburst this week. Some people seem to be blaming the loss of the season on the players and their doing their own thing come hell or highwater despite whatever the coaches say or do. They cite Portis as a prime example. Well I can see their point, but Portis is a guy who is hard not to like, for all the reasons that Gibbs liked him. He's a workhorse. He plays through pain, which is more rare than it used to be, and he's just plain good. Before...everything...fell apart, he was the leading rusher in the NFL! I guess maybe to a degree he's a symptom of what's wrong with the team, but he's hard to blame with the loss of the season. I do think that maybe we'd be better off if the money spent on him were spent on the offensive and defensive lines and we had Ladell Betts and (a non-fumbling) Rock Cartwright as our running backs, but I'm not so sure of that. Portis is a heckufa player. And on top of that, I'm not even sure he was being selfish with his outburst. He would say that he was just doing what his Momma taught him to do, and...HE WAS! Considering where he came from, I respect the guy.
3. Redskins future? This is most disturbing at this point. I'm sad about the game, and I'm sad about the season, but I'd be less sad if I felt we had a future, but we don't. We seem to have a pretty darn good quarterback. Or, at least one who CAN be good. Especially, I think in the future, with his buddy Zorn. But the problem is, there are whispers that the Zorn man will be gone now that the season has tanked. And lastely, with that guy Snyder at the helm, our front office has has the patience of an 8 week old puppy who has to pee. The only guy who got any leeway was ALREADY in the Hall of Fame, and that was Joe Gibbs. I don't think Dan Snyder is Christian (could be wrong, of course), because next to Clinton Portis, Gibbs is God in the eyes of Vinny Snyderato. Well Gibbs couldn't get it done, and I think I might be with John Riggins on this one. Jim Zorn hasn't lost his locker room, his locker room has lost Jim Zorn. There is no righting this ship. Riggins says that the best thing to happen to Zorn might just be to get fired, because these players do what they want, as Clinton Portis proved this past Tuesday with his outburst on the radio show "The John Thompson Show" and as Santanna Moss proved with his 15 yard Unsportsmanlike Conduct penalty after a touchdown. But Zorn gone would mean something like 8 new offensive systems for Jason Campbell in 9 years.
In other words, we would suck again next year. But even if Zorn is back and Campbell puts up Hall of Fame numbers for a year, we will have an offensive line that is all like 400 pounds but also all like 40 years old. And you can't draft a good offensive line one year and then suddenly have an offensive line that can be the offensive line of a really good football team in 1 year. Its just not possible. I don't have statistics on this, but I would guess that 40 to 50 percent of the Left Tackles drafted in the first round since 1988 haven't panned out. And Chris Samuels, btw, is now officially old. His age, is a big part of our offensive woes. He's done for the season, out, gone. When we were hiding our pass protection problems with our running early in the season, we were running behind him. Suddenly his knee started hurting simply because he's old, and he couldn't go for a couple weeks. Suddenly we couldn't run or pass the ball, and now we suck. He came back for a few weeks, and the running kinda sorta improved a bit, but he tore his triceps muscle, pretty much also because he's old. In his place now is an undrafted free agent.
And then there is the Vinny Snyderato factor. I told my Mom before the season started that I had a serious fear that as long as Dan Snyder (owner) and Vinny Cerrato (this being his first year as like the official General Manager) were running this team that we were going to suck. Then we didn't go on the wild spending spree in the off season, and we actually made like 10 draft pics! I thought, "Hhmm, maybe we've learned our lesson. Maybe we can be good." Then we went 6-2 in our first 8 games, and I thought, "HEY, I have serious hope now. Zorn is awsome." HAH! What a fool I was. We drafted a punter. And he's no longer on the team. And I'm still holding out hope on those 3 second round Recievers (one of them a Tight End, who this week btw finally caught pass, btw, and lemme tell ya he's a big dude and he cat skoot) all drafted in the second round, because Steve Smith only had 10 receptions his Rookie season, but jeez this draft looks like it has some real busts. I'm afraid now that we will suck until Snyder dies, or until Snyder wakes up and gives the reigns over to a real GM. And it will probably be a while before Snyder dies, because he was only in like elementary school when I watched the Redskins beat the Dolphins with Riggo's famous run in 1982 in my diaper at 2-almost-3 years old. And it will probably be a while before Snyder gets rid of Cerrato and gets a real GM and gives over control to him, because Snyder is a control freak, which I learned when I read THIS article.
Early that season, after a Redskins loss, Snyder told Nolan [as in Mike Nolan, a well respected NFL Defensive Coordinator] that his defensive calls were “too vanilla.” Like the other coaches, Nolan had figured out by then that trying to explain football to Snyder was pointless, since he already had the game figured out. A few days later a gallon of 31 Flavors ice cream showed up on Nolan’s desk with a note that said, “This is what I like. Not vanilla.”
Nolan laughed and sent Snyder a note: “Thanks for the ice cream. My kids enjoyed it.”
“The first time it was actually kind of funny,” Nolan said. “I didn’t mind it at all.”
The next time wasn’t as funny.
The Redskins lost on the road to Dallas, and Nolan went into his office late Sunday night to start looking at game tape. When he arrived, there were three giant canisters of melting 31 Flavors ice cream on his desk with another note: “I wasn’t joking. I do not like vanilla.”
THERE WAS A NEXT TIME!??!!
That there was a next time leads me to believe that there is no next time for the Redskins, not for a while. Unfortunately for me, as a Redskin fan. I am strongly considering handing in my fan card for quite a while, until the Vinny Snyderato thing changes.
OK. I'm done ranting and I feel better. Thanks for listening.
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