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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!!
Well, it’s official. The Redskins selected Robert Griffin III yesterday, in round 1 of the NFL Draft. Call me a crazy optimist, but I feel a sense of hope that I haven’t in a long time. It’s like we can finally sit at the grown-up table. Without a solid starting quarterback fans can only hope to luck into 9-7 and maybe a wild-card slot. But nothing that can really count as a run at a title.
There is aways the chance that he could suck and add nothing to the team. But without a top-notch starter at quarterback, they were going to suck anyway. I have my fingers crossed, and my RGIII Underoos on.
I’m all in on _______ as the new quarterback for the Redskins in 2012. Vague? Maybe. But focus not on the blank, but on the word “new”. New as in not Rex Grossan or John Beck. This year more than any I can remember, the QB options abound for teams picking near the top of the draft. All of which seem to be better than what they have had since Jason Campbell left town.
Some likely options:
Peyton Manning- The 800 lbs gorilla in the room is; will he get the strength back and be able to make all of the throws he could in the past? Let’s assume that he can. Save for the neck stuff, he has been an iron man. He’s otherwise healthy, takes care of himself and should be able to play for four or five more years. Mike Shanahan will trust him enough to hand over the control that Manning will need to be effective. With QB of his caliber at the helm, just sit back and watch how much better everyone else gets. The O line suddenly gets better because of quicker decision making and a faster release. The receivers somehow manage to get open more often and now get more yards after the catch. Accuracy makes a mediocre receiver look good. Witness the wideouts who looked good in New England , and could not produce anywhere else. With fewer men in the box, instantly your running backs seem to be more explosive and have better vision. When you play with a lead, watch how many sacks Kerrakpo can post. Manning’s health is a big IF, but even under a best case scenario, they must draft his replacement this year or next. The draft is deep with QB’s this year, so now is probably the time.
Matt Flynn- I know, I know three games is not a big enough sample to judge a quarterback. Kevin Kolb, Matt Cassel, and Scott Mitchell show that it is a big risk to take Matt Flynn. And if I had a dime for every back-up QB who threw 6 TD’s against a play-off team, I’d have….oh yeah. A dime. The big indicator will be if Dolphin’s new head coach, Joe Philbin goes after him hard in free agency. Philbin was Flynn’s offensive coordinator last year, and if the Dolphins are not interested, then nobody should be. I just know that in one game he threw three times as many TD passes as John Beck did in three. Maybe 20 years of mediocrity or worse has made me willing to accept anything new, with the promise of being better than the last. He likely won’t cost any draft picks, and his salary number is reported to be in the 3-4 million dollar range(I suspect it will go much higher). So in that regard the risk is fairly low.
Robert Griffin III- This guy just makes me salivate. I mean he could be the next Heath Shuler. Wait, wait. That’s not what I meant. He could be the highest pick the Redskins have ever used for a QB. Assuming they trade up to the second position to get him. He has everything that you would want. Big arm, fast, smart, accurate, and fast. Did I say fast? The great thing about him is, that despite blazing speed, he always looks to pass first. He moves in the pocket, shifts to avoid pressure, and keeps his eyes downfield the whole time. But when everything breaks down, he’ll bolt from the pocket and make defenders look silly trying to catch him. That is a skill that he’ll need on a team like the Redskins. The downside is it will cost a ton in draft picks to get him. Obviously they’ll swap the #6 pick with (the Rams?) plus next year’s first rounder and another pick. Possibly another first rounder. That’s a lot, BUT… Look at the last 6 or 7 Super Bowls. The odds of winning one without at top shelf QB are slim. So roll the dice. You can build a team safely and get to 9-7. Where’s the fun in that?
Kyle Orton and Ryan Tannehill/Brock Osweiler/Kirk Cousins/Brandon Weeden/etc- Kyle Orton looks like an NFL QB. I liked him at Purdue. He just looked like a pro. But results at the pro level tell a different story. He lost his job in Denver to Tim Tebow, who completes about 45% of his passes. He does not suck. He could improve the Redskins to 10-6, but that is not the goal. He would however serve as a bridge to the new guy. The same role that Grossman was supposed to play, except better. What evidence do I have? None. But could it be worse?
Life under the Snyder regime has lead many fans to a point at which we will take anything over the suckitude that we currently endure. But this year feels different. The landscape is lush with choices. More than half of which should be successful. I’ve been told that Shanahan is a great judge of QB talent. If so, he’ll make the right choice. If not, a fourth whiff in three years will earn him his walking papers. A new QB will buy him at least two more years, but make no mistake, this next choice of QB is his Rubicon. Get it right, and it’s wine and rose. Get it wrong, and it’s… Well we know what it is. We’ve seen it for 20 years.