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It was the best of times. It was the worst of times. The year was 1979. Dr. Hook and Little River band, each had two of the top 100 songs and Nicole Richie’s dad was still a Commodore. Nothing was coming between Brooke Shields and her Calvins, and Americans were worried about exploding Pintos, Three Mile Island, and Iranian radicals (glad that’s worked itself out). For Redskins fans it also marks the last time the Redskins faced the Cowboys on the final week of the season, to decide the NFC East.
How great it is for anyone to actually give a damn about what the Redskins do, less than a week from the new year. Add to that they’ll face mortal enemies, the Dalls Cowboys. I am terrified and excited at the same time. The ending of this game will offer fans the highest of highs or the lowest of lows. But that’s what it’s all about. That’s why we are fans. It allows us the emotional release, that if we were fully human, we would get with our spouses and children. But a playoff run, and plenty of brown liquor, provide a close facsimile to the feelings of real relationships. Perhaps I’ve said too much.
The names a different now. Instead of Theisman and Riggins v Staubach and Drew Pearson, it’s RGIII and Alfred Morris v Tony Romo and Dez Bryant. Who by the way is in full beast mode right now. But it’s what we’ve wanted for 20 years. To root for a relevant team again. With a loss, from a big picture standpoint I think many fans will be happy as we look to the future, but will hurt in the short term. But a win that sends the Cowboys home will be fantastic. Now if John Mara’s Giants stay home too, I may not wear pants for a week. Now pour something tall and strong, and shine up your K-Car. It’s 1979 all over again. (Yes, I know the ‘Boys won that one in ’79, but allow me some poetic liscence.)
I’ve tried to figure out why my motivation to post on this has been at absolute zero for the last six months, and I have finally come to a conclusion. Robert Griffin and the improvement this season, have wiped away my fan angst, and thus my desire to vent on a weekly basis. However as my childlike optimism approaches Christmas Eve level excitement, I once again feel compelled to write. Please forgive me if I start taking victory laps, and point out that maybe Bruce Allen and the Shanahans may actually know what they are doing.
So let’s begin the Worldwidebleater renaissance with a few predictions for Sunday’s tilt against the Eagles.
1- Robert Griffin will burn down the stadium. Figuratively of course. He is one of the most competitive guys in the league. And make no mistake, he is not without an ego. While it is not arrogance or boastfulness, he thinks the world of himself and his abilities. He has now spent the last seven days listening to various media outlets speculate about Kirk Cousins’ trade value. As well as the fact that Cousins’ 329 yards last week against the Browns was more than any of Griffin’s totals. He’s also heard what a genius Kyle Shanahan is, and how he can do it with anybody. My guess is that he has spent the last week in a Michael Jordan like fugue state. Imagining slights, disrespect, and enemies that don’t exist. We will see a quarterback prepared like no other. He will put on a clinic this week.
2- At some point Chris Cooley will have a breakout game. Nobody expects him to do anything other than block. He didn’t sudenly forget how to play football. I will concede that he has probably slowed down, but when your are ignored you can be lethal. Much in the way that Darrell Young reels off a 25 yarder form time to time. I predict that the next time he is targeted, he will score a touchdown.
3-This defense will be in the top ten next season. They have improved markedly since the bye week, and this is a very young team. I think Crawford will continue to improve, especially since he’s going to be active every week returning punts. Jarvis Jenkins in starting to show the promise we were, uh….promised. Add to that, I belive that if Chase Minnifield gets healthy for next season, he’ll be really good. That’s a gut feeling only. Kind of like the winning lottery ticket, on which I I have yet to check the numbers. Carricker will be back, and hopefully Orakpo will be able to fully recover. I underestimated his impact on the pass rush, and considered him to be a tad overrated by the fan base. Redskin fans have had a tendency over the last ten years or so to call guys who don’t suck, great.
Anyway, let’s enjoy the ride. As I emailed one sports radio guy last week: Allow yourself to love again. This is fun. Don’t worry about getting your heart broken. You’ll know when it’s “the one”. Robert Griffin is the one. HTTR!!
Damn. Just Damn. More to come.
Among the Redskins faithful, there has been much gnashing of teeth since Robert Griffin III, performed at the NFL combine last week. The voices have been loud in the “Should they/ shouldn’t they” argument. The argument against is largley this: He will cost too much in the form of surrendered draft picks, and thus will cripple them going forward. That leaves me with two questions. What is a franchise quarterback worth? And is now the time to go all in on the guy, regardless of who he may be?
In regard to the first question. If there is somebody among the littany of QB choices this year, that the Shanahan/Allen regime believes is absolutely the guy, then they should pay whatever the price may be. It’s become a cliche’, but this is a quarteback league. Teams simply must have a top tier QB to succeed at the highest level. And by that, I mean play in a Super Bowl. The NFL has tweaked and twisted the rules to make quarterbacks ever more important.
People love to immediatley blurt out “TENT DILFER” when it is pointed out that a great QB is essential. But look at the facts. Since Dilfer won 11 years ago in 2001, there have been 22 starting QB slots in Super Bowls. Of those 22 slots only five were not filled by guys who, at some point in their career were in the Hall of Fame conversation. Rich Gannon, Brad Johnson, Matt Hasselbeck, Jake Delhome, and wait for it…. Sexy Rexy. The other 17 have been top level guys. Before you scream, “McNabb is not top level!”, back it up Skippy. Yes, the last few years have been tough for McNabb. But prior to his decline, he was NFC Player of the year, NFC offensive player of the year, a 6 time Pro-Bowler, and went to 4 NFC Championship games and a Super Bowl.
More recently, you have to go back to ’07 with Rex to see anyone in the big game, who is not a stone cold asassin at the QB position. Simply put, no team is going to be great without a great quarterback. So keep all the draft picks you want. Without a sniper behind center, it’s all for naught.
Lately I keep hearing “why all the ugency now?”. Two reasons, really. First, they hit rock bottom in 2011 with Rex and Beck. Second, they have not, in the last 15 years, been in a better situation to make the move. They have tons of cap room if a free agent is the answer. But more importantly, draft-wise they are in the best position I can remember.
In order to draft in the top two or three positions, you generally have to have 3 or fewer wins. It is hard to be that bad. But at number six, with 8 picks this year they are as close as they may get for a while. RGII may cost as much three first rounders, but that really means two. They’re going to swap number ones this year and lose two of the next two. The leaders have shown me enough, to have faith that they can find talent in the later rounds. Plus, consider this. The addition of Leonard Hankerson and Jarvis Jenkins next year, is kind of like getting two high picks this year. The concensus in Ashburn is that these two will be good, and gave the team nearly nothing last year.
Mediocrity at QB would be a huge leap forward for the Redskins. But ulitimately that is an anchor on the team. Moving to 8-8 only keep them from getting the stud they really need. I don’t evaluate players for a living, so I’m not sure who that stud is. But there is a legion of people in Ashburn who do. So, at ther end end of the day, if they find the guy, do whatever it takes to make him your guy.
I wrote a week ago that Matt Flynn was going to steal somebody’s money in free agency this year. Much like Scott Mitchell and Kevin Kolb before him. This was before he lit the Lions up for 480 yards and six touchdowns in week 17. I am starting to hope that the money he gets is from one Daniel Milhouse Snyder. Wow. I can see why Snyder likes to play GM. Because for the casual football fan who doesn’t know the difference between a 3 technique and a 5 technique, there are lots of shiny things out there to get you excited. RGIII, Flynn, Justin Blackmon, they all look so pretty through the store window.
But history has shown us again and again that all that glitters is not gold. As much as everyone, myself included, hates the way that Snyder has operated the Redskins, I would end up running my team the same way. How hard it must be to sit on the sideline and watch the grown ups buy the groceries. I, just like Snyder would be sitting in the cart screaming “No! Not the Broccoli, I want a Zagnut Bar!”
Just a week ago I was hoping for way to get RGIII. Now its Flynn in free agency, and Blackmon in the draft. 480 yards and six touchdowns! In one freakin’ game. It would take Rex Grossman four outings to produce numbers like that. And he’d have 7 picks and a fumble to add to it.
My point is to illustrate that this is hard. Tom Brady went in the sixth round. Half of the scouts thought Ryan Leaf was a better option that Peyton Manning. People were noting the lack of red-headed quarterbacks in conversations about Andy Dalton. Snyder is a fan just like the rest of us. I for one am glad we now have Shanahan and Allen running things. They are a strong tandem with enough NFL cred to keep Snyder quiet. You want to get rid of Shanahan? You’ll end up with a shopping cart full of Zagnuts and Dana Stubblefield’s.
In the tiny logical part of my brain, I still think Matt Flynn in poised to pull a major heist. But please, steal it in Ashburn, VA.