Wednesday, October 12, 2011
Wait a Goddamned Minute
Absence apparently does make the heart grow fonder, as after an early bye week coming on the heels of a letdown in Dallas and near 4th quarter meltdown in St. Louis, the Redskins are suddenly the favorite to win the NFC East. This is not so much because of anything they have actually accomplished this year - other than not be as bad as expected, but more of a case of one of those Three Stooges bits where they say, "We need a volunteer to win the NFC East," and while the Redskins weren't looking, both the Giants and Eagles stepped backwards. Sure, the Redskins are 3-1, but they dominated the Cowboys but found a way to not win (even though the defense did not allow a TD), and they almost found creative and lackluster ways to blow what should have been easy wins against the Cardinals and the Rams. Really, the only game this season you can thump your chest about as a Skins fan is the season opening beating of an injury-depleted New York Giants team, who are additionally led by a retard named Eli, which helped our cause.
But somehow the same football talking heads that were like, "Lolol Rex Grossman" during the preseason are all kicking it like, "You know, the Redskins look like the best team in the NFC East now." And Redskins fans, yearning for positive feelings in the middle of a decade-long drought of positive vibrations of a burgundy and gold nature, latch onto that like a drunk hand to an exposed feminine breast. I've got otherwise perfectly sensible friends sending me emails talking about playoffs and the exciting prospects of "Yeah, but what if...?" And if that's what they're telling me out loud, you know in the dark unlogical corners of their mind, they might actually thinking it possible to stuff a 4th Lombardi Trophy into the trophy case at Ashburn, to give Danny Boy an extra item to set out on the banquet table in the press room during his next eventual free agent splash signing that will be the final piece necessary to do whatever it is Danny Boy Snyder thinks he can do by wasting money on famous names.
Look, I'm not even going to get into the ridiculousness of even thinking about the Redskins making the playoffs, considering this has been the easiest stretch of their schedule, how November and December look rough, how this team has started 3-1 a number of times over the past decade, even sat at 6-2 and looked to be playoff-bound under Jim Zorn, and yet has delivered next to nothing come time the calendar flips to January. Let's just stick to the game at hand, coming up on Sunday, against the Philadelphia Eagles.
The Eagles were a preseason favorite to go to the Super Bowl, and have pretty much just sucked. Not even a satisfying "We don't have shit" type suck, but the painful and perfectly Philly suck of terrible underachieving far below Dream Team expectations. They come into Jack Kent Cooke Stadium this weekend, reeling at 1-4, with wild stories of Andy Reid calling in secret ninja defensive consultants to help out his non-tackling ass defense, who is being defensively coordinated by a dude who was an O-line coach for years before this one. I mean, I know Andy Reid is a genius and shit, but when that geniusdom is not paying dividends, like it's not, you have to question every little thing, which is what is happening. Philly people are crazy in a normal year, but you have the Phillies gone from the playoffs early, and the Eagles looking like shit, well it's like hyper-cynicism with Philly people. They go to deep, dark, and twisted places so much easier than normal American human beings.
So that is the energy swirling behind this team as they come into this weekend, led by a Michael Vick who should never be trusted as the main QB of a football team, but should also never be underestimated in how much of a chip he can carry on his shoulder. The breakout moment last year where he laid the ground work for Kevin Kolb to be banished to Arizona like a wayward LDS Mormon, and for Vick to become a $100 million dollar man again, was in this very stadium against this very Redskins team. I remember this game well because I was going to ride into town and watch it at the bar, but before I could even get to town, it was seriously already 21 to 0, on the way to a 59 to 28 ass-kicking that featured Michael Vick running rampant all over the place, including one memorable play where Albert Haynesworth laid at his feet waiting for him to decide to get a TD, looking like an early practitioner of planking. Being I didn't have to go to the bar, I turned around and sat in the truck until halftime, listening to Sam Huff and Sonny Jurgensen and That Other Guy call the game, and I sank into a terrible depression along with Huff, and realizing this Redskins team under Mike Shanahan was still a long ways off from being good.
And they still are. Contrary to the never-ending football media's need to say wacky shit each and every week, the Redskins are not a great team. The offense has not yet found an identity, and even though the defense has played tremendously, they've lacked the kill factor needed to put away teams (for example: Cardinals, Cowboys, and Rams) for good.
What I am trying to say is this is the perfect storm - recent Redskins history considered - for the Eagles to storm into town, run roughshod over the Skins, and blow apart any delusions of playoff fantasies for my eternally hopeful Redskins brethren. It seriously is the perfect set up to expose our 3-1 record as the NFL-engineered fraud that it is, complete with scenes of a broken Rex Grossman watching Eagles CBs high-step their way into end zones for pick-sixes, and DeSean Jackson leaving a bewildered Reed Doughty stumbling 20 yards behind him.
No one on this Redskins team should even be thinking about playoffs, or even thinking they are good. They've proven nothing. Honestly, all they've done thus far is put off actually having to answer whether they are any better or not, with the jury still out. I mean, some things look better. Kerrigan/Orakpo is a promising young pair of bloodthirsty beasts eager to eat Quarterbacks. Roy Helu has looked good, and "Rugged" Ryan Torain looked like the real deal Holyfield - albeit an injury-prone one - against the Rams.
But it also looks like the same old Redskins at times. A defense that bends but doesn't break but bends so much that it doesn't really need to break to eke out a loss. An offense that can't control the clock in the 4th quarter, and can't get first downs when most needed, nor TDs when in the red zone. And Rex - old beautifully naive but crazy Rex Grossman, whose Gunslinger Eyes turn dark with madness, to where he thinks he can thread needles in defensive coverages that even great QBs could not thread.
So we go into this game with the Eagles, an allegedly coming apart at the seams team, as an allegedly divisional contender host. But these are all allegations. I need to see the evidence, right there on the field. I need to see Rex Grossman have the sense to not give Nmamdi Asomugha his first contract-justifying highlight clips. I need to see that young and hungry defense converge on a trapped Michael Vick, cornered like a stray pit, and condemned to a crippling crash to the turf. Vick is a dazzling yet brittle little man, and the proper Orakpo crack could smash him out of action for the weeks and months to come. I need to see whatever RB by committee gets his shine on this week to actually shine with long blasts of yardage, not just chip away at the corners to sort of wind down the clock until one 4th quarter rally by the green team can undo it all. I need to see some stepping the fuck up and knocking someone else the fuck down. Because as of now, I have not seen that. 3-1 record be damned, I have seen nothing that makes me fired up like this weekend is going to be a romp. If you want me to believe this is actually a playoff contender Redskins team, one that has markedly improved from last year, one that has actually learned from the mistakes of the past decade and is actually building something that I can get fired up about, then I need to see it on the fucking field. Because dumbasses like Deion Sanders or Tony Dungy talking about it on the TVs don't mean shit to me.