Monday, September 26, 2011
Uneasy on a Monday Afternoon (Cowboys/Redskins late thoughts)
I am glad that both the Lions and Bills (and my personal friends who follow those teams) both pulled off the improbable 2nd half comeback to exorcise Failure Demons yesterday. Both games were a joy to watch unwind in the end, and I am a man with only regular TV, though I got a signal booster and get like 25 channels of mostly the same dumb shit through my housetop antenna from 1974. Going into today, there are four undefeated teams - the Lions, the Bills, last year's champion Green Bay Packers, and my Washington Redskins, who have yet to play their third game, as we are in that purgatory of Monday night football which is kind of a big deal but not like it once was being it is a second-rate feature game to the NBC Sunday night game nowadays. Used to be Monday night was the Feature Game of the Week, and that was when the weekend officially ended. Now, it's an exciting but not entirely necessary to everybody wrap-up to the football week, though most of you are already basking or basting in yesterday's results, and looking ahead to what is next. I am still here, sitting at work on a rainy day, wondering how the fuck to make it to the evening, going out to a bar to watch the game, which on one hand is weird since I don't drink factory-made alcohol any more, but also convenient for my homeboys going with as I'm like permanent designated driver now.
I heard a radio dude spout a radio stat the other day, that 76% of teams that go 3-0 to start the season end up in the playoffs. Now there is no "what iffing" a Redskins win tonight, because the Failure Demons are swooping through my head heavily like packs of cybertronic turkey vultures, but if the Redskins somehow are able to maintain that duck egg in their loss column, that means, speaking from a statistical historical sense, out of the Packers, Lions, Bills, and Redskins, three of those four would make the playoffs. I'm not ready to say at this point the Redskins are outright better than any of those other three teams to not be the fourth, but I don't believe in my heart that the Bills have less Failure Demons than the Redskins. And as much as I root for the Lions to be successful because of my boy Neil and all you long-suffering Lions fans, though they have exorcised their own Failure Demons, I am still afraid of the Universal Jinx that still seems to hover, and could strike without warning, even in the midst of a playoff run. Think of the Bengals getting to the promised land, and then Carson Palmer's knee rupturing into seven pieces early on in their first playoff game in forever. I do not wish this upon you at all, and if I were to get one non-Redskins jersey of an active NFL player, it would without a doubt be St. Calvin, but Matthew Stafford seems like a catalyst for lightning strikes. Plus, he's from Dallas, and that means that part of his soul has forever been besmirched by silver stars before he even got to the cleansing wasteland of Detroit. So though I don't feel my Redskins are better than the other three undefeated teams at all, I feel like that in the Universal Magnetic sense, we stand as a good chance as anybody but the Packers in that mix.
That being said, Failure Demons are all over my brain right now. It is a rainy day, slow at work but about to pick up it's terrible Monday through Wednesday pace where I usually have 40 hours by midnight on Wednesday, with two days still to go. I have been waking up at strange early morning hours to wander the woods and scribble football haiku into old giant pictorial NFL books I got an antique store using paint pens, in the darkness, waiting for the sun and then my rooster to say, "It is officially today, you can go back inside and shower and get dressed like you regularly do." I have to go to court this late afternoon to hopefully bring to an end a restraining order issue that's been ongoing. (Not sure how someone can get a restraining order against me when they are pregnant with something that is half my DNA, and I am afraid they will abort that pregnancy against me and my main ol' lady's wishes, thus killing off my DNA, which should be cherished not stifled; long story short, sometimes not everybody on craigslist thinks the same philosophically as you do about what "no strings attached" means.)
The Redskins have not looked extraordinarily great on offense yet this year, though the defense has been fairly vicious most of the time. But the Cowboys have always been a source of impotency for us. Even last year, the one we won was on a holding penalty negating the tying touchdown at the end of the game, in straight lawyer ball fashion. Football is not a game you want to win in laywerly fashion; you want to punch a motherfucker in the face until he falls and then step on his throat until he no longer has the ability to claim he choked the end of the game away (of which Tony Romo is a master craftsman at); you want to destroy his soul and be kneeling towards victory once it gets under that two-minute warning in the second half. This is what I want to happen.
But this is the Redskins, and I can't shake the Failure Demons entirely. The sad thing is there is no better lesson than the Redskins/Cowboys on Monday Night Football to prove the point that we as fans have to shake the Failure Demons because our psychic energy contributes to the overall cause as much as anything. I have written multiple times on this site about that game a few years back when the Redskins were losing 13-0, in Dallas, on a Monday night, and though it seemed impossible I physically forced my mind to maintain hope and trust that the Universal Football Gods would provide justice. And somehow that limp-armed relic Mark Brunell found Santana Moss twice on TDs in the final two minutes to get a miracle 14-13 stolen win, the second of which was a ridiculous 70-yard strike with Moss's little midget legs spinning like the Roadrunner all the way down the field in front of a backdrop of incredulous fat blank-souled Texas faces.
How will I shake this secret dread I have though, that this will not go as well as I hope? The day is going to be busy, and involve legal matters, and there's no time to get my mind right through mild hallucinogens or go hiking through the woods with my John Riggins woodcuts and reminisce over the good times. How the fuck do I get hulked up when I am feeling the Failure Demons taunt me from the past few seasons, laughing about Jerry Jones' daughter and Dan Snyder's wife doing PSAs together this past week, laughing about Rex Grossman booting footballs all over the field in a black jersey from his past, about how the Redskins are able to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory time and time again against these Cowboys, who once went 1-15 but that 1 was against the playoff-bound Redskins? How can I shake it?
I am not sure. I know the Cowboys are banged up, to where a good shot on Tony Romo could take him out of the game, in straight Tecmo Bowl defensive philosophy. Felix Jones is also hurting, and their O-line is questionably shoddy, so our defense should be able to assert itself. Hopefully Laron Landry will be a go tonight and he can teach Dez Bryant how to have alligator arms, and although I have a hard time trusting a former Cowboy as a free agent, hopefully Stephen Bowen will be able to turn his love for his former teammates in Dallas into something motivational to help enable Orakpo and Kerrigan to get all nightmare-ish on Mr. Romo.
As for our offense and their defense, I don't know. I am worried. We have looked better, but this is not entirely a drafted together team of upstart superstars. It's still second-tier free agents that have come from elsewhere and guys with dark shadows hovering over them. Grossman's history is well-known, but Tim Hightower - as good a dude as he seems to be - still carries those fumbling issues from last year. Why has Jabar Gaffney played 10 years in the NFL and nobody's really heard of him before now? Sure, we drafted Trent Williams, but our other offensive line staple - Chris Chester - is a hired gun who came from Baltimore in the off-season. It scares me, far more than the defense does.
And sure, the Cowboys defense is not what it once was, but it is led by some freaky longhaired mutant offspring of Buddy Ryan, and regardless of the soulless silver Cowboys emblem on his apparel, that type of person can never be underestimated as a prominent force in your own demise. So the Failure Demons continue to cackle.
Usually in my real life, when the new moon comes around, I lay out intentions for the coming month, calling attention to the things I want to grow. Old school farmers used to plant with the new moon, and crop yields historically do better when that happens. Full moons are terrible times to plant, but make for good harvesting times, when you reap what you sow. And though the new moon is not until later this week, I am going to use this chance to publicly sow my intentions for this Redskins, specifically as it applies to tonight's game...
INTENTION ONE: Laron Landry will return and start to live up to the league superstar status he started to show last season before injury took him away. Beyond that, much like Sean Taylor finally turned a corner before his murder that last season he was with us, when he stopped going for the missile shots at opponent's health, and started taking footballs in for touchdowns, Laron will turn that corner, and make an already impressive defense that much scarier, and an actual scoring threat.
INTENTION TWO: Tim Hightower will continue to do well, yes, and not fumble like he was known for in Arizona, and be a great locker room presence, but a star will be born in the form of Roy Helu. Not the type of star that fantasy owners salivate over in August, nor the type of star that gets to do Chunky's Soup commercials. Roy Helu will become the type of star a football fan can love - a bruising RB who can knock a dude over but also shuck and jive sideways to add 8 yards on every carry. He will be the type of guy who makes us think of, dare I say it, the glory days of John Riggins. This will happen.
INTENTION THREE: Brandon Banks will give us two to three full years of being the Dante Hall/Brian Mitchell/Joshua Cribbs that the Redskins have not had since B-Mitch got cast off to Philly back in the day. He is small and perhaps fragile because of that, but he is also the Little Assassin, and any guy who can get mixed up in street stabbings outside tha club in the offseason is probably tougher than you'd imagine when he's standing next to other NFLers, looking like Webster but with hyphy dreads.
INTENTION FOUR: Our WRs will continue to be competent and do what they have done so far, but Fred Davis will become what the NFL always fears at TE - a giant athletic black man who is basically a WR but with brutarian genes instead of primadonna ones. And when you add in the crazy whiteboy aura he is bound to soak up hanging out with "Captain Chaos" Chris Cooley and Logan Paulsen all the time, it will only make him even more unstoppable.
INTENTION FIVE: Tony Romo will suffer physically more and more, and continue to put himself in these situations to suffer, a result of his own self-loathing from Dallas fans never truly accepting him, and for him never being completely honest about who he is, as a person. I understand it is hard to admit your alternative lifestyle to the world, but parading trophy beard partner after trophy beard partner, and using the old "PR push through celebrity magazine" route to pretend and maintain this public image, it hurts the soul. And when you hurt that much inside, all you can do is make reckless choices in life to have your physical situation match that internal agony. I will cheer when he is punctured or concussed tonight, but make no mistake about it - I will feel sad for Tony Romo. Not much, but a little bit.
BONUS INTENTION THAT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH ANYTHING: Chris "Truck" Neild will continue to be awesome, and will be amazing enough in a game like tonight that people notice the wacky bearded giant white dude who is some sort of Jersey Hillbilly guy, and that will cause Action Bronson to make a song called "Truck Neild". Seriously, I want that to happen. Probably nobody but like nine people on this earth would even know what the fuck all that means, but I assume Chris Neild is one of those nine, so it is okay.
So here we go, spiraling towards reality television tonight. Either this Redskins is really a good team that has shaped up ahead of schedule and stands a 76% chance of making the playoffs, or this Redskins is really still a work in progress with Failure Demons still to exorcise who has benefitted from an at-home schedule to start the season. We will see. I will be there either way, trying to maintain hope, and help from afar with my sixth and seventh senses.