Sunday, October 23, 2011
Redskins 3-3 Positives/Negatives Metasciences Week 7 Recap
[Each and almost every week, I will metaphysically testify upon the positive and negative influences on my beloved Washington Redskins team, who I've known since childhood and always felt in my heart, as seen in their on-field (via televisions) performance. As the year goes on, we shall have a metascientifical tabulation of who is the most valuable or biggest detriment to the future of this franchise, because I am a scientist.]
There are a lot of conflicting thoughts I have after having watched this game, because it was the Panthers, but I will go more into that at some point this week. Mostly I think I was less let down than most Redskins fans because this is exactly what I expected, so I think where I got last week ("See? We still suck!") is where most fans got to this week. As it stands, with the offensive injuries galore, plus the overall shittiness of the offense even without injuries, I am content with reality. Thinking this team was a playoff contender seems almost incredible to me now. But they kept themselves a pretender into October, again, and the ornate coach turned into a pumpkin in time for Halloween yet again. So we just see what the fuck can be squeezed out of whatever has been collected on this roster, and maybe some of these dudes prove they deserve to be on an NFL roster down the road. Hahaha, seven weeks in and we are already reduced to "seeing what we have." Oh well, that's what I expected from this season before it started, and that's where we are. I guess I should be content with achieving my lowered expectations, and just accept that this team/franchise/organization/whole fucking affair is going to be what it has shown itself to be for the past fifteen years - lackluster, unimpressive, and yet still full of a higher opinion of itself than it has earned.
I still ended up with 4 positives (and 7 negatives, plus one medium, on my 12-person scale) because, shit man, how negative can you be about a team that ends up being exactly what you expected it to be? Just because the first few weeks smoke and mirrored them into something they were not, it doesn't change what I had calculated during preseason. But here are the specifics plus/minus mentalities from today's painfully terrible game...
FOURTH DEGREE POSITIVE: MLB LONDON FLETCHER - What can I say about London Fletcher that hasn't already been said? Having watched him these past however many years he's blessed our defense with the best assistant defensive coordinator Dan Snyder's money could buy, it makes me thankful there's a veterans committee for the Hall of Fame, because if there's a Pro Football Hall of Fame that doesn't get a dude like London in there, then it's a fucking sham of a Hall of Fame. That being said, and since London's only made one Pro Bowl, which was last year after like 19 other dudes dropped out of it, I don't expect he'll even sniff at the HoF until a long time after retirement. But #59 is probably the best LB I've ever seen on this team, ever, and I've been paying attention since the early '80s heyday.
THIRD DEGREE POSITIVE: TE LOGAN PAULSEN - I have liked Paulsen as the long-hair wacky back-up TE, as he has seemed like a cross between Cooley and Fred Davis. And getting a chance to play more due to Cooley's injury was a shot for him today, and when he got a couple of nice catch-and-runs at one point, Logan was fired the fuck up. It was nice to see actual genuine excitement on the field from the offensive side of the ball, and I don't know who the fuck the tight ends coach is in D.C., but he's about the only dude that seems to be coaching motherfuckers up.
On a side note, I love Chris Cooley, I really do. But as a team, you have to prepare for the dudes you love, who play hard like Cooley has, to be gone more suddenly than they grow their star status. This team doesn't seem to understand that usually, thinking that once they have a good something or other, he'll be there forever, and that you can build the other positions one by one, over the years. This shit is a constant process, and I'm starting to see how short-sighted management has been. This is why we didn't have an O-line at the ready, because Chris Samuels and Jon Jansen were already there, so why bother?
And Fred Davis had a big game, but there's no fucking way I'm celebrating that dude as a positive when he caught a 4th quarter TD pass, that brought us within 10 points with less than six minutes left, and he celebrated like he had shut the crowd's mouth down. That showed me Fred is suffering from the same delusion I've heard for years from guys like Santana Moss and Clinton Portis, who are always better than what the scoreboard or standings show they are. Fuck that celebrating a TD bullshit, Fred. Win a goddamned game that you're not supposed to some time.
SECOND DEGREE POSITIVE: DE ADAM CARRIKER - Carriker, as one of a long line of expensive free agent acquisitions that I barely know and don't consider a true Redskin, made the jump today from that to a dude who I'm like, "Oh yeah, Adam Carriker... that guy was really good every now and then. When was he here? Was that with Wilber Marshall? Or was it Andre Carter? Oh no, that's right, it was him and Dana Stubblefield. Yeah... they were really monstrous like two or three times, usually against really shitty teams from the lesser divisions of the NFC." Still though, congrats Adam Carriker. You sacked Cam Newton's fast ass.
FIRST DEGREE POSITIVE: K GRAHAM GANO - I like Gano. He has gotten a little more consistent with his field goals, and constantly boots kickoffs into the stands. I hope he gets drunk and arrested for assaulting somebody in Georgetown at some point in the next month, and then he'll be like we have our own Janikowski.
STAY MEDIUM DEGREE: QB JOHN BECK - Nothing spectacular, but you shouldn't have expected that. He's more mobile than Rex Grossman (in fact, after only one start, John Beck leads this 2011 Redskins team in rushing TDs), and he's less likely to just straight up turn the ball over to the other team. He still turned it over, and he's not the crispest of QBs, but he's better than Rex Grossman, and better than anything else that they could hike the ball to on this roster at this point. Ride him fucking out, behind that shitty broken offensive line, and you either force him to blossom into a scrappy veteran go-getter, or you prove what everybody else already thought when you were kicking his tires - that he's not the answer. Either way, we make it to the end of the year without Rex Grossman throwing 47 interceptions.
FIRST DEGREE NEGATIVE: OLB BRIAN ORAKPO - Nothing lackluster in the performance of Briak Orakpo, but there were a few shots of him on the sideline at the end of the game where he had the look that all promising young Redskins eventually get - that they are tired of this shit, that they are sick of busting their ass to fight upstream only to have the overall current of ineptitude and strong riptide of Failure Demons pull them down with everything else. You draft a guy like Orakpo into Pittsburgh or New England, and he's a league heavyweight right now. Instead, he's stuck here on this team, helping us pretend this defense is actually something special, when actually it's just a barely above-average defense when going well, and mostly mediocre, and this franchise's neglect of building a full roster of quality players weighs Orakpo's effort down to hardly notable. It's sad. I mean, it's sad when you don't actually build a full roster of players, but it's even sadder for those top-quality dudes you do accidentally get in spite of your own track record in such matters, and how all their potential for greatness is eventually squeezed from them as their athletic soul is gradually worn down by the constant Failure Demon grapples. I saw that on his face for the first time today, and it made me sad. We may be losing him.
SECOND DEGREE NEGATIVE: HEAD COACH MIKE SHANAHAN - I didn't like Shanahan before he came here, and wasn't excited about him being hired as the latest savior of this heathen franchise, but have tried to buy into his genius status, because I'm married to this team emotionally, thus am married to Mike Shanahan being their coach. But after two offseasons worth of roster shuffling, from a dude with an offensive bent, I'm not entirely sure I see what's been improved or where the fuck we're even going. Cam Newton was considered a risk as a QB in the NFL, and yet he and the Panthers offense made the Redskins offense look amateur in comparison. It was two completely different teams, where you could see the Panthers growing as well as living off what was already built. The Redskins meanwhile were just a collection of dudes who have no short-term or long-term cohesion. They just all wear the same colored jerseys, so you kinda have to call them a team.
A big reason I am fast losing faith in the Shanahan Era is, as pointed out at the DC Sports Bog, Zorn was 10-22 after 32 games, while Shanahan is 9-23. And watching Hue Jackson in action the past two weeks (today ignored), it made me wonder why we haven't tried to get a young, up-and-coming genius as a coach. Zorn got media hyped as that possibly, but come on, nobody had given Zorny that type of gloss as a QB coach. It was Snyder fucking up into having to have Zorn be his coach because he had no other option, or the fans would revolt, or whatever. So he backed into it and then forced the PR department to manipulate the newspapers into being like, "Zorn could be our Sean Payton!" or some shit like that.
We've got nothing that shows promise, that shows growth. It's more of the same, a whole lot more of the same ol' shit. Shanahan is just the latest dude to cash fat checks off Dan Snyder's hard-on for being able to say, "All I want to do is win."
THIRD DEGREE NEGATIVE: T TRENT WILLIAMS - The Silverback looked a little too glee hobbling around the sidelines, not playing football. Cam Newton as a #1 ain't but a couple spots ahead of what Trent was taken at last year, and Cam Newton's upward influence on his team is a lot more evident than anything I've seen from #71 in his time as a Redskin. Unless something changes or you start to see some improvement in dominance by the end of the year, I think you could start throwing Trent Williams into that same scrap heap as Carlos Rogers.
FOURTH DEGREE NEGATIVE: S REED DOUGHTY - For many years, all the way back to when Sean Taylor was injured before he got shot, when you saw Reed Doughty step onto the field, you knew the Redskins were missing something important on defense, thus were sending out the next dude in line, never good enough to be considered good, but never crappy enough to get outright cut. Reed Doughty is our cockroach, our sweet, half-deaf cockroach, who just won't go away. But if #37 is lined up out there, you can guarantee yourself you'll see him laying in a crumpled pile at some point, or have somebody jump over top of him to make a big catch, or blow past a CB and get stumble-tackled by Reed as he comes over late to help out in coverage over the top. I have come to cringe in anticipation of the worst every time I notice #37 on the field.
FIFTH DEGREE NEGATIVE: T JAMMAL BROWN - You know why they didn't move this guy over to LT to replace Trent Williams? Because he sucks. He is a penalty machine and a blown blocking assignment machine and yet is still like our second or third best offensive lineman. Good lord.
SIXTH DEGREE NEGATIVE: CB DEANGELO HALL - Why the fuck was Hall high-stepping twenty yards over an interception he didn't make when, for the most part, his job today was to be captured in slow motion detail about two steps behind Steve Smith making a huge play? In fact, this game further proved the delusions this team always has, and how we think this is some sort of menacing, gangsta ass defense that can't be stopped. This is an average defense on most days, but dominating for about 42 of 60 minutes on a good day. There is nothing that says this is a Baltimore Ravens or Pittsburgh Steelers defense in the making, especially in the secondary. Especially in the secondary. DeAngelo Hall bills himself as a shutdown corner, a guy who can negate the influence on a game of a star WR. Yet, just as Steve Smith showed again today, any time the Redskins line up against an actual top-flight WR, it's more a matter of how roughshod they want to run over Hall than how much he stifles them. Hall would be a good #2 corner, but he's not a good #1, which I guess means he's a good defensive match for Santana Moss, who is basically the same thing as a WR. I don't know man, I'm kinda sick of this shit, sick of this team, sick of always trying to convince myself that somebody is not what they certainly always seem to be to me, and that I'm supposed to have faith in the team, that somehow I'm obligated to trust that things have changed. I'm fucking sick of making time in my weekend to watch this drizzling mediocre shit parade across a football field, never showing more than chance flashes of improvement, never anything sustainable. Part of what you sustain is the faith of your fanbase, and my faith has long been gone, and all I'm left with is the attachment to the fact I've been emotionally tied to this team my entire life. Basically I am a dude in a loveless marriage whose kids are grown and gone away to college and I'm just too ashamed to admit I don't love my wife anymore to leave her. So I lay here, every Sunday afternoon, staring at the ceiling, thinking back on when I still felt joy.
SEVENTH DEGREE NEGATIVE: OWNER DAN SNYDER - No need to bash Dan Snyder again; we all know the deal. But let me say this - today, watching the Carolina Panthers, some thoughts went through my mind, flashing back to previous thoughts I'd had going fifteen years back. And I had contemplated doing this last offseason where I - as a fan - contacted other NFL teams, explaining my fandom to the Redskins, throughout my life, and inquiring about what they offered me. Today's game, seeing the enthusiasm of the Panthers team, seeing all the Redskins fans in the stadium because the entirety of the south used to be the Redskins geographical region back in the day, knowing there were conflicted people in those stands who lived in Carolina as Redskins fans, knowing my own conflict from southside Virginia - which is as different from the D.C. area as fucking Greenland would be - it all made me realize that I should probably investigate NFL fan free agency at the end of the season. But I'll get more into that with my thing on the Panthers vs. Redskins later this week. But I definitely don't think I'm doing this Redskins team any good any more.
ACCUMULATED INFLUENCES UPON THIS FRANCHISE 2011, BEST TO WORST: MLB London Fletcher (+20), TE Fred Davis (+15), OLB Ryan Kerrigan (+14), OLB Brian Orakpo (+13), S Laron Landry (+9), NT Chris Neild (+8), WR Santana Moss (+7), RB Ryan Torain (+6), TE Chris Cooley (+5), RB Roy Helu (+5), LB Rocky McIntosh (+5), P Sav Rocca (+4), KR/PR Brandon Banks (+4), DC Jim Haslet (+3), TE Logan Paulsen (+3), WR Anthony Armstrong (+2), CB Josh Wilson (+1), DE Adam Carriker (+1), K Graham Gano (even), RB Tim Hightower (even), color commentator Sam Huff (-1), QB John Beck (-2), T Trent Williams (-4), HC Mike Shanahan (-5), S Reed Doughty (-6), QB Rex Grossman (-6), T Jammal Brown (-12), OC Kyle Shanahan (-13), CB DeAngelo Hall (-16), and owner Dan Snyder (-25).