Monday, October 31, 2011
Redskins 3-4 Positives/Negatives Metasciences Week 8 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.]
This was a horrible, horrible game that I enjoyed in the car on the radio, on the television, and finally as background noise while carving pumpkins with my kids. This metasciences recap will be long, tormented, but ultimately exactly what it should be. But before I begin, let me explain that I was ahead of the curve on seeing the failings in this team. That could be attributed to pessimism, but I don't think of myself as such. I can see what's been going on, and like many Skins fans who have to come accept the contrarian nature of this team's character, I fully embraced the notion they could dominate in this game and steal a win and remain relevant for a couple more weeks, as they tend to do the opposite of what they should, and remaining barely relevant has become a hallmark of the Dan Snyder Era in Washington sports. It's painful.
But it was a nice Sunday in the fall, so me and the wife and kids went for a hike down the road, gathered like 30 pounds of acorns for our pigs, who will be going off to slaughter in the next week or two. We got lost following a creek off the beaten path, naturally, so I got back into our vehicle, like four miles from home, right as the Bills scored their first TD. I was bummed we were late, because I had a feeling only the first quarter was going to have the excitement of a possible victory in it, and I missed almost all of it by the time we got home, and I flipped it on to watch the Skins third possession and third punt. I gave up on the TV at halftime to retire to the kitchen table with Sam and Sonny and the other guy on in the background, talking about sacks and INTs and sideline arguments as we cut ominous into orange vegetables. The fact it remained a shutout was sort of lost on me until I remembered I had picked up the Buffalo defense on one of my fantasy teams and was actually benefitting from the death of my favorite franchise. That made me feel happy, ever so slightly, and I really wonder if I'm technically still a Redskins fan at this point. I mean, I know I am - I was wearing a stupid fucking Redskins softball jersey with the three-quarters sleeves and retro stripes while sticking my hands into the brains of ominous vegetable heads. But man, there's no passion anymore, no excitement, and definitely no hope. But I will get into that as we move through the metasciences, of which I could only muster up one positive to ten negatives. I was gonna go 2 and 9, to remain more positive just barely, but I couldn't justify it. There's no way you can have watched and/or listened to this team the past three weeks and feel good about anything. Shit, we even fucked up getting Andrew Luck already. We are like the ultimate losers.
Oh well, here's the metascientifics...
FIRST DEGREE POSITIVE: MLB LONDON FLETCHER - I would be yelling at motherfuckers on the sideline too. Fletcher got 20 tackles in the game, and had a nice INT in the end zone that kept the score from being even worse. I have gone from wishing London would remain on as a coach once he retires, to never leave the Redskins, to feeling really sorry for the guy that the end of his career was such a wasted effort here with the Skins. It might have set his Hall of Fame career possibilities back, and he doesn't deserve that. He is probably the best player other than Darrell Green that I've ever seen in a Redskins uniform, in all my time of wasting time watching them play football. And honestly, being London has been the only positive light on a negative shitstorm for so long, I'm not entirely sure I don't think more highly of #59 than I do #28 at this point. At least Darrell Green had the infrastructure of support around him. London's had to fight a lot of battles without sufficient back-up, and yesterday was the first time I've ever seen him lose his head for a moment, ever. That's pretty fucking amazing.
STAY MEDIUM DEGREE: OLB RYAN KERRIGAN - Kerrigan is really good, and the only reason I regard him more highly than Brian Orakpo is because the past few weeks I've started to see the body language of Redskinsdom setting into Orakpo. It's a combination of frustration because things don't ever work out, but also that feeling of superiority that somehow all this terrible football playing doesn't deserve to be hung on your head. I'm not sure how that has become the Redskins way, but it is. Never has this team been like, "Yeah, we fucking suck, it's time to roll up our sleeves and see what's going on, get back to playing football." It's always how we should've won, or we're a better team than this. When this has been going on for fifteen years, you are not better than it any more. You are it, and by not accepting it, you'll never get out of it.
So I think well of Kerrigan because he's just a rookie and the internal psychological weaknesses have not been fully impaled upon his professional psyche just yet. There was a Hogs Haven column about who they would consider untradeable or would not get rid of, and all the dude put on his list was Kerrigan and Jarvis Jenkins. I can't argue with that. Everybody else - Cooley, Moss, Laron Landry - all of them have nothing to prove they should be considered eternal Redskins. I mean, I love Cooley to death, and his limitations are more physical than psychological, but he's been abused by this league. Not sure how much is left for him in DC, and frankly, I'd rather see him take a reduced veteran role on a contender team, to have a chance to play meaningful games in January, than come back to this shithole for it's 5th rebuilding effort in his 8-year career. But if magically everything could change overnight, I'd say Kerrigan is one of the few dudes who hasn't been poisoned completely just yet.
FIRST DEGREE NEGATIVE: WR LEONARD HANKERSON - Hankerson got a catch in the NFL! It's a sad state of affairs when your first NFL catch comes a week after your first Twitter war with angry fans. But that is Leonard Hankerson's blazing entry into the NFL's 8th week of 2011, as a ballyhooed unmistakable gem that dropped to the Redskins, who were gonna exploit their great rookie scouting into the best collection of young players we'd seen in a decade. Yeah. Maybe Hankerson could be a gem, but being one of the few O-linemen we ever drafted the past decade - Chad Rinehart - was starting for the Bills after being run out of DC as not being good enough, I'm starting to wonder if there's not a good bit of poor coaching involved in this team's continuous suckiness to match the very obvious poor drafting that has gone on. Hankerson could be Jerry Rice in the rough, but I doubt there's anybody in the hallways of Ashburn, VA, right now who's got the coaching abilities to wipe him off, polish him up, and turn Hankerson into Jerry Rice. Therefore, he is fucked. Just like Malcolm Kelly, just like Devin Thomas, just like every fucking body who comes into the burgundy and gold vortex of overvalued self-confidence.
SECOND DEGREE NEGATIVE: QB JOHN BECK - So remind me again how it came to be a John Beck/Rex Grossman QB battle this year? Because that seems super-crazy illogical and like the worst possible thinking possible, ever. That's the type of decision-making made by your 7-year-old halfwit cousin when five of you decide to play franchise mode of Madden together, so you tolerate it then, and whoop his ass when playing head-to-head, and make others feel bad for taking advantage of his diminished intellect otherwise.
After a couple of weeks of John Beck, regardless of the piecemeal offensive line in front of him, I can safely say that John Beck is not so good. And yet somehow, I still feel more comfortable with him than Grossman, probably because of that piecemeal offensive line that got him sacked 9 times yesterday. Because if there's one thing John Beck can do, it's stumble forward for a six-yard gain when the pocket completely collapses on him and there's nobody open anywhere on the field that he can actually throw the ball to, which to be fair to our receivers, is a very limited window of possible throws. Beck apparently is from the Donovan McNabb school of aiming for people's feet on routes, but like I said, he does not have concrete cleats on, and lacks the crazy gunslinger eyes of Grossman, that causes one to think they can thread triple coverage on a dime. We will have far less pick-sixes with John Beck riding out the year. Unfortunately, yesterday's goose egg on the scoreboard may be the first of a handful.
THIRD DEGREE NEGATIVE: CB DEANGELO HALL - Post-game questioning of coaching or the team? Check. No real accountability for why the team is terrible? Check. Blindly assuming it will all get better because he and his team and coaches are better than this? Check. I guess when you really think about it, DeAngelo Hall may be the most Redskins Redskins player we have left at this point. Maybe they can make him D-coordinator when the Shanahans inevitably decide to blame Jim Haslet for why this team sucks in the offseason.
FOURTH DEGREE NEGATIVE: S LARON LANDRY - The celebration of a tackle where the RB got a first down is so ridiculous, I'm not even sure how to make fun of it. Laron is a great physical specimen, and could be a monster on the field, if he wasn't so blatantly ignorant. And he has to be ignorant. Why the fuck would you celebrate tackling a dude who just got a first down? Who the fuck cares if it was a powerful tackle? Who the fuck cares Laron? Sad thing is, he's injury-prone, and obviously ignorant as fuck, so any potential trade possibilities for him are probably gone. I guess we just wait for him to underperform his contract, then sign elsewhere and rejuvenate his career under better tutelage elsewhere, like Carlos Rogers is doing in San Francisco. Remember him, he of the butterfingers? He's got three INTs this year, including one for a TD. I imagine he'll have three more next week against the Redskins. And Laron Landry will celebrate a monster tackle on Frank Gore that stopped him two yards past the first down marker on a 3rd and 7.
FIFTH DEGREE NEGATIVE: KR/PR BRANDON BANKS - Remember when we were all excited about Brandon Banks as a return man because the Redskins had for years relied on the same boring returners who never really broke any plays open, hardly ever? Well the important thing to take away from that time was that when returners are not making explosive returns and consistently putting you at a lesser spot in terms of field position, you need to try somebody new, as soon as possible, to stay ahead of that curve, and not behind it. Might be about time to mix in an Aldrick Robinson or Niles Paul return now and then. It also might be time to wonder how the fuck Danny Smith still has a job. Of the 12 field goal blocks in the NFL this season, 25% of them are against the Redskins. And someone might want to explain to Banks that the 15-yard line is actually not as far down the field as the 20-yard line, which is where the ball would go if he'd just fucking down it.
SIXTH DEGREE NEGATIVE: T JAMMAL BROWN - Ah... the 2011 Redskins offensive line - perhaps the worst collection of scrap heap players and washed-up veterans and rookie free agents ever collected. It's like we have three or four Stephon Heyers, all at once. And the rookie free agents, I can give them a pass, because they are longshots who are supposed to be coached up into NFL-caliber players. They can't help the fact they ended up Redskins, thereby hurting their long-term NFL potential. As for Jammal Brown, this is a dude who was supposed to be a quality veteran. Yet he couldn't switch sides at tackle, even though he played LT for years. That is probably not due to knowledge level and more due to talent. Because as RT, he has consistently been the guy that gets beaten for sacks. There were a couple times yesterday where he looked like a speed bump to slow down how fast John Beck was slammed to the Canadian turf more than an actual functioning part of a collective offensive line. And as the resident veteran, I would expect Jammal to lead by example a little better, to give the rookie free agents a fighting chance to, you know, be competent. But that hasn't happened.
Seriously, this offensive line is horrible, and I understand injuries are a factor in that, but even if they were healthy with the forecasted starters from preseason, this would be an average O-line at best. And every fucking team in the NFL has injuries, and prepares for that fact of the game by having competent second-stringers in place to fill in the voids. That should be a constant effort of every NFL team. Somehow this has been lost on the Redskins, who think that by drafting one offensive lineman in the top three picks of the draft once every ten years, they somehow are building something. You know what you are building? A history of not being so good. Our QB looks terrible (and would look average at best with our best possible O-line in place) and our RBs look terrible (and would look above-average at best with our best possible O-line in place), and they won't look any differently any time soon. And if we did have our best possible O-line in place, it would still be an average offense, still miss the playoffs, and still be missing about 7 pieces come next spring. That is the most frustrating part, that we never get any closer, ever. Which brings me to...
SEVENTH DEGREE NEGATIVE: HEAD COACH MIKE SHANAHAN - Mike Shanahan, at this point, is not any better than Jim Zorn. Read that back to yourself so it fully sinks in. The comedic over-his-head fuck-up of a head coach named Jim Zorn who went HIP HIP HOORAY without irony is actually better, by record alone, than Mike Shanahan, alleged genius of the game of the football. Now, I will admit I did not like Shanahan when he was brought in, because I do not like Shanahan. He has an anus mouth, and you have to be of an ill-internal temper and increased paranoia bordering on mental illness towards the world around you to physically have your mouth take the shape a sphincter. Mike Shanahan is a tormented, mentally ill man, who's one point of self-esteem is his football acumen. Except other than when John Elway had hit his best stride, Mike Shanahan has not been exactly a great head football coach. Me wonder what Shanahan's curriculum vitae would look like in this holographic universe if you erased John Elway's involvement? Any Super Bowl victories? Any playoff appearances even? Did the Broncos go to the playoffs ever without Elway? I don't know, nor do I care. What I do know is this team has not shown sustained improvement since the beginning of last year, and seems to be regressing. Sure, there are injuries, but they are not exactly injuries to Calvin Johnson and Tom Brady. We are not seeing the faces of a successful franchise on the sidelines in league-approved street gear. It's just Trent Williams goofing off or Santana Moss keeping his cornrows tight.
It's easy to play armchair head coach, so I will, but if Shanahan has seen what I've seen, and had any seriousness at all about actually building a winning team, he'd cut somebody big, today, like DeAngelo Hall, or Jammal Brown, as an example, and be like, "Look, this is a terrible terrible team, so the rest of this year is basically pre-season and I'm gonna throw anybody who shows me they want to actually play into the game, and we're gonna see who the fuck has the heart to be on this NFL roster next year. Fuck anybody who feels entitled, and fuck anybody who doesn't play with 100% heart. That's why I am waiving DeAngelo Hall, who I've asked to be here with us during this press conference. DeAngelo? Fuck you. Leave your playbook in your locker, get the fuck out, and I hope the only time I see you again is on the football field so you can make one of our second-rate WRs look like an All-Pro." That's what I'd like to see, to put the fear of football god into our veterans, and give the rookies hope that this isn't the slotted roster it appears to be, where the thickness of your paycheck determines your playing time. That's how it's seemed for a while, and that lack of actual competition at all positions has helped make this one of the shoddiest 55-man rosters in the NFL.
The thing is, I don't think Shanahan will do anything to show this. His kid really needs to be fired, but I don't see that happening either. If anything, I expect that Jim Haslet will be made the sacrificial coaching lamb at the end of the season, and we'll get a third year of offensive offense, and this time next year, I'll probably be writing the same fucking thing, just with more "fucks" and more exclamation points. Or I'll completely no longer care at that point, and I'll be a Panthers fan or a Titans fan or some shit, or follow some off-the-wall Scottish Premier League futbol team via the internet and be good with that, because that's the type of age we live in.
Yesterday was the first shut out in Mike Shanahan's illustrious head coaching career. I don't think it's going to be his last though.
EIGHTH DEGREE NEGATIVE: OC KYLE SHANAHAN - Kyle Shanahan sucks, plain and simple. His play calling has been questionable at best, and he is the reason anybody was tricked into believing Rex Grossman could be a competent starting QB again. He should not have a job here next year, if this was a league where you were rewarded or fired upon the basis of what your on-field performance. But the NFL is not such a league, and often times it's who you know more than what you know, and unfortunately for us as Redskins fans, Kyle Shanahan has an in with the head coach. The head coach also is an alleged genius who the fickle owner will not be willing to terminate upon sight at the end of the year, because obviously if us fans have beaten anything into Dan Snyder's head, it's that he's too impetuous and reactionary and needs to be more patient to let a good team be built, not acquired. Except this time, he'd probably be right to fire the Shanahans.
You know how bad Kyle Shanahan is? I was watching the Eagles/Cowboys game and looking at Rob Ryan and thinking how great it would be if he was the Redskins coach. A fat, slovenly, overbearing second generation alleged coaching genius, who currently coaches for the Cowboys, seemed like a good alternative to me. Now I am a person who has forever thought Norv Turner was a purposeful sabotaging of the Redskins franchise by Jerry Jones, so I'm not one to normally look upon a Cowboys anything as a good alternative to anything positive, anywhere. And yet there I was, thinking just such a thing, even though Rob Ryan is a lot like Kyle Shanahan - full of shit, thinks he knows things he doesn't, and riding on the historical successes of his last name, of which he's added next to nothing. Fuck man. I am watching Cowboys games longing for Cowboys coaches. This might be as bad as it has ever gotten.
NINTH DEGREE NEGATIVE: OWNER DAN SNYDER - Of course, the normally impetuous and reactionary idiot Daniel Jacoby Snyder won't fire the Shanahans, when he probably should. He'll ride them out another year, with Jim Haslet's head on his mantle, and blame injuries, and give the Shanahans one more year, which they will also squander, because we're like five good drafts away from being mediocre it looks like to me. And that's part of the problem - Snyder has been such a terrible owner, it is obvious to everybody, including himself. So he reacts to fan hatred for him, always trying so hard to be liked and accepted as a man who "only wants to win." What he should actually be doing is making sensible decisions in hiring the appropriate people to hand over running the team to. Has he ever done that? Not really, though they've tried to convince us through press releases and properly placed hype articles in local newspapers that Bruce Allen/Mike Shanahan was finally going to be that. The amount of PR Snyder has dedicated to that false notion alone is reason enough to believe he'll give them at least a third year, and probably a fourth, unless it gets really really ugly. It's very frustrating to see such a small-minded man in ownership of this team. This is the guy who was gonna hire Jim Fassel, after hiring Jim Zorn as OC, then reacted to negative fan reaction to Fassel by not hiring him and promoting Zorn to head coach, when he'd never even spent a game as a coordinator in the NFL. That's Dan Snyder ownering right there, in a nutshell. That hasn't changed, and why would he? He has nothing to answer to. He owns the team. Even if every disgruntled fan around stopped going to every game ever, there'd be newbies who'd go to games, and opposing fans buying up tickets, and just on that diminished attendance and the overall value of the franchise, Snyder'd be good. At this point, the best we can hope for is he continue to runs it into the ground, changes the name to the Warriors and moves them to Los Angeles, so he can keep his entertainment industry toys in the same mansion toybox as his football team toy. Then maybe we get an expansion franchise with the burgundy and gold colors and a new politically correct name. Or fuck it, maybe we have all new colors. Maybe we burn FedEx Field to the fucking ground, let native americans have sweat lodges and ghost dances on the rubble for nine months straight, give John Riggins and Dexter Manley peyote and send them on a spirit quest to come back with a new name for a football team, and we start fresh like that. I think that makes the most sense.
TENTH DEGREE NEGATIVE: ME - I am of no use to this team, psychically. I am a battered soul who expects the worst. As I was writing this, I saw a story that said Fred Davis was in a walking boot today. This team - already a bad collection of negative auras and karma-deficient personalities behind the scenes - is a bruised and battered B-level squad, which does not bode well for completing the season. Sure, in the standings we are record equals to the Cowboys and Eagles, but I don't think there's a solitary soul who really feels that way. This is a trainwreck of a team, and I, like many fans, have become trainwrecks of a fanbase. I don't even care. They are playing San Francisco next week, and on one hand I hope we do okay and at least score a touchdown, but on the other hand if we lost like 62 to 7, I'd go, "See? That's what the fuck I'm saying." My whole life I've pulled for this team, excitedly even for the most part, and now I'm reduced to a fucking bag-over-the-head curmudgeon who thinks 5-11 is out of the question when we are 3-4. Maybe I should go ahead and look into those Scottish Premier League teams now. Is it soccer season in Scotland already?
ACCUMULATED INFLUENCES UPON THIS FRANCHISE 2011, BEST TO WORST: MLB London Fletcher (+21), TE Fred Davis (+15), OLB Ryan Kerrigan (+14), OLB Brian Orakpo (+13), NT Chris Neild (+8), WR Santana Moss (+7), RB Ryan Torain (+6), TE Chris Cooley (+5), S Laron Landry (+5), RB Roy Helu (+5), LB Rocky McIntosh (+5), P Sav Rocca (+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), WR Leonard Hankerson (-1), KR/PR Brandon Banks (-1), QB John Beck (-4), T Trent Williams (-4), S Reed Doughty (-6), QB Rex Grossman (-6), fan Raven Mack (-10), HC Mike Shanahan (-12), T Jammal Brown (-18), CB DeAngelo Hall (-19), OC Kyle Shanahan (-21), and owner Dan Snyder (-34).