Monday, November 14, 2011
Redskins 3-6 Positives/Negatives Metasciences Week 10 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. Or I will doodle on the Sunday paper's Mark Trail comic strip, sometime Prince Valiant too.]
I have processed this game for a while because, well because it can be hard to care. It's not a very good Redskins team we are watching, and we were playing a pretty bad team in Miami, and I was laying on the couch and things were as comically bad as they could be at times and nothing bounced our way on defense and I was about to finally doze up during the 3rd quarter for my mid-November nap when two of my kids came running into the house, screaming like something terrible had happened. We just got two piglets last week, but the butcher dude couldn't take our old two hogs until next week, so my ol' lady ran some fencing through a corner of a goat pen to put the new little hogs in there. But they keep getting into the goat side, which I fixed with barbed wire on Sunday morning, because nothing makes you feel more like a man than stringing barbed wire at 8 am on a Sunday morning, leather gloves getting ripped to shit, wearing a Willie Nelson t-shirt your friend who runs a screenprinting shop did, arms getting all gouged up - shit is American as fuck, or at least the way America should be, but ain't, which is a huge part of the problem with America, and with these Redskins. But I am digressing before I even start...
So one of the little piglets had gotten out, and the kids were scared it was going to eat them, so I had to coax it back through where it busted out, then do some extra staking down of a couple loose spots in my wife's goat fencing job to try and hold everything tight. Then I spent a while working with my piglets (more on that later too) and by the time I went back inside, my nap was ruined, and the game was no longer on, Fox having switched over to Falcons/Saints already, so I checked the interwebbings inside my house, and sure enough, 20-9, Redskins lost. Last thing I saw was the Cannon of Sex's second INT. Still though, I feel I got a good feel on the overall body of work on this team to put together my positive/negatives, and let me tell you, although there is very little to be positive about, there's really very little that should be shocking to anyone who has followed this team to be negative about. So I actually ended up after this Dolphins loss - our last best chance to get a fourth win this season - feeling better about this team than I did badly. But there's extenuating circumstances involved in that as well, so let's just jump into my jibber-jabber...
SIXTH DEGREE POSITIVE: ME - I have been reading perhaps too much Wilhelm Reich lately, and also dabbling in the natural dimethyltriptamine arts, but you know, it's really hard to be shocked by this team's lack of success. Seriously, at this point, anyone who calls themselves a Redskins fan and is shocked by what has been going on this season, even after the 3-1 start, probably has personal psychological issues that cause bad decision making in most aspects of their life, far beyond team allegiances in pro sports. But I understand how team allegiance is a strange thing, as you grow into it and then are trapped by it, kind of like experiencing sexual abuse as a youth. You can't erase it from who you are. And thus, that is where we are as Redskins fans. This team will not be successful this year, nor will it be successful next year. The infrastructure for success is not only absent, but it has been skewed to where success for this team is more of an uphill climb than other franchises, certainly the three in our division. But hey, let's look at this in terms of who we are, not who they are. Let's look at this game in terms of who has given us something to be hopeful for moving forward, not looking backward. And granted, that forwards thinking may never come into culmination (as will be expressed later as well), but still, with no solid present, all we have is the future. In the past I have compared being a Redskins fan to a medieval people under the oppressive leadership of a demented King. But really it's more like a futuristic sci-fi flick, where we're straight fucked, and there is no lost nephew with claims to the throne who can save us in one swift swing of a heavy sword of righteousness. We are terminally oppressed, and there's no escaping it. (Can you tell I have abandoned my free agency notions of a few weeks back? I was born into this, and will have to bear this sports burden for as deep as the depression goes.) This is who we are, so let's be honest about it, and let's be honestly hopeful about those glimmering diamonds of hope within the murky burgundy and mustard yellow sludge that has become the Washington Redskins.
I will talk more on my personal quest later this week hopefully, as I fondly remember doing acid in RFK Stadium, and talk more of Wilhelm Reich's scientific influence on my life in recent weeks, but for now, I am putting myself at the top, because this is the Redskins and I am their fan, and all I can do is enjoy it and shoot positively charged energy their way. Worst case scenario - I fall asleep on the couch watching another shitty game and catch some extra rest on Sunday afternoons, large brown sofa wrapping around me with a fired up woodstove across the room like grandma's quilt with a fresh re-stuffing of Wal-Mart polyester filling. So cozy and perfect. Best case scenario - they win more than the three games they already have won. Shit man, maybe they actually beat Dallas this week, just out of spite for the Universe.
FIFTH DEGREE POSITIVE: OLB RYAN KERRIGAN - Perhaps an uncomfortable thing to discuss is the inherent racism of your average football fan. There will always be a white TE or white LB or white anything other than QB that becomes a fan favorite due to underlying unadmitted racialisms that becomes a popular jersey throughout the stadiums. This is why Wes Welker sells more jerseys than Calvin Johnson. This is why Brian Urlacher is so beloved to this day, without question. And this, for us Redskins fans, is why there are so many #47 jerseys in the stands, everywhere. Redskins fans, when thinking about what jersey to buy their newborn son in recent years, invariably have gone with a Cooley jersey, because if you are going to waste the money on a kid's jersey, he was the one guy who was probably going to be here for a few years who wasn't a potential embarrassment. With Cooley on bum legs deep into an NFL meat market career, he's probably out before long, perhaps this offseason. And with the way Ryan Kerrigan has been playing, he is almost certainly to be the new fan favorite, because he gets at the QB, crunches motherfuckers, and seemingly overnight learned to try to swipe the ball away from the QB, like he did this past weekend a couple of times. And because he is not a scary black guy like Brian Orakpo, I expect there will be a lot of #91 jerseys starting to show up in the stands and on the streets. I am good with Kerrigan getting love, because there's a lot to love about that guy. I just hope he does not become polluted with Internal Redskins Disease too quickly. I want to enjoy his time of exuberance and high performance.
(Speaking of the meat market nature of the NFL in regards to Chris Cooley, had a talk with one of the kids on my soccer team's dad last Saturday, about his brother who actually played in the NFL in the '80s as an offensive lineman, and how destroyed everybody becomes. He told me about how many of his brother's teammates now have "puddin' brains" and how all them dudes are broken men now, hopeful they make it to 50. All of them have had multiple surgeries, usually every offseason while still playing, and usually yearly afterwards, and have fingers that point the wrong way or knees that no longer work. It's a sick twisted corporate NFL at the top of this thing that is using up people for our entertainment. I don't necessarily have a problem with that, because there's something very primal yet beautiful about the game of football. But you can't pretend to care about the players, and then basically not care about the players. It's a long con the NFL has pulled on the players, and these dudes are happy-go-lucky warriors. I respect that, what with all the viking blood inside my DNA, but it also makes me feel bothered the NFL has become a multi-billion dollar industry while perpetuating that they want to protect these happy-go-lucky warriors. For as much as he makes fines and PR statements to the contrary, Sheriff Goodell is very happy that Ndakumong Suh and James Harrison do what they do because it continues to further polish the shine of American sports' crown jewel.)
FOURTH DEGREE POSITIVE: ILB PERRY RILEY - One of main Redskins fan homeboys - Will the Thrill - had mentioned to me a couple weeks ago about his frustration with Rocky McIntosh and wanting to see what Perry Riley was made of, wishing they'd start the dude. And this past week they did. And it paid off. Perry Riley was all over the field, in the backfield, creating havoc like we haven't seen on the inside from a guy less than 33 years old in a while (all props to London Fletcher - as always... they should just make him defensive coordinator in my opinion). I tried successfully to convince myself McIntosh had turned a corner this season, as he got a one-year deal to stay on, and was doing well at the beginning of the season. But recent weeks he sort of fell back into those standard Rocky McIntosh ways of underperforming. Riley was hungry out there, in fact I'd say he seemed HONGRY to make plays. It was so nice to see. All too often with the Redskins, we get a pair of guys like Orakpo and Kerrigan and we rest on that for six years until they are irrelevant, not trying to add to that because the mentality has been, "Why bother? We have a good player somewhere near there. Let's go sign somebody famous for a lot of money because that's all we really need now." I was very excited by Riley's play, and off that one game, he is now my newest favorite dude ever.
THIRD DEGREE POSITIVE: WR LEONARD HANKERSON - Felt very similarly about Leonard Hankerson, who showed an ability to get open, and seemed to have a good unspoken communication level with Rex Grossman, which is always necessary between a number one receiver and QB, to hopefully eventually replace our standard let-Santana-Moss-run-a-quick-slant-route philosophy towards receiving greatness. Of course, this is the Redskins, so Hankerson tore his labrum during the game yesterday, and is on IR already. But before somebody is all like, "Lol, the new Malcolm Kelly," let me defend Leonard Hankerson's honor by saying he did more in that one game yesterday than Malcolm Kelly did in three years. And if there's somebody that should embody the Redskins ideal philosophy moving forward - one that sure this used to be a great place but it's been pure shit for decades now and we are a laughingstock and nobody respects us so we have to prove - not for a game or two to start the season - but for years, deep into the playoffs, that not only are we actually relevant but also fuck you we will smash you in your face you piece of shit, then it should be Hankerson, who played at Miami after it was no longer The U but simply another mediocre team in the ACC (which itself is a second fiddle, if even second, to the SEC in this part of the country). And Hankerson was a passed over WR on draft day, a second or third choice at best, if that, even though he has the potential. Really, I feel a guy like Leonard Hankerson is as important as to whether this team actually turns a corner as anybody on the roster, because it's going to take guys like him to shake off the notion they somehow deserve to be better, they somehow deserve to win more games just by showing up on Sunday, and actually going out there and taking these things from other teams and other players who are actual human beings who may or may not have the same amount of motivation regardless of physical ability, to actually make this a good football team again. So someone tweet a link of this to Leonard so he can read it and get fired up and brood on the potential darkness of what it means to be a Redskin in 2011, to try and shine a light of redemption upon that in 2013 or 2014 (because I can't see it being much brighter in 2012 to be honest with you, as we are officially rebuilding what has not much to rebuild with, meaning we are building; in fact, the Redskins are a lot like our American economy in that once they finally admitted it was a recession, it had already gone far beyond that, and now even as they say we are turning a corner, there's terribly nasty dirty work to be done just to get back to even; that's the Redskins, once they admitted they were rebuilding there was essentially nothing left to rebuild, as 1992 was a long time ago yall, so we are basically building fresh a franchise in which to be proud, hopefully).
SECOND DEGREE POSITIVE: DE STEPHEN BOWEN - I have yet to accept any of our defensive linemen starters as actual Redskins, being they all came from elsewhere, but this D-line has done a great job this season, in holding their own, and creating room for the linebackers to take care of business. (Our secondary is highly suspect, but hey, you can't have it all, can you?) But out of those dudes on the D-line, Stephen Bowen makes me the happiest, even though he's a former Cowboy and I'll never trust that, ever, after Norv Turner. But he wears the #72 as popularized by our beloved illiterate crackhead Dexter Manley, and he's done the number honor this year. He's not exactly eating QBs, but his presence is known, and he's got a big shit-eating grin on his face when things are going well, and it's hard not to like the guy. Relatedly, fellow free agent first year dude Barry Cofield (who came from the Giants) said after yesterday's game, something to the essence of "unless we change the way we play, this season could be historically ugly" meaning they might not win another game. (I am paraphrasing because I ain't looking that shit up, because I wasn't at the press conference. It's the internet - take my word, he said something along those lines.) Cofield's right, and he's pissed, but not like pissed where you load up a bunch of guns and shoot a hundred motherfuckers, but the type of pissed like working in an American workplace where shit ain't getting done where you are like, "Damn, I can't be every motherfucker up in this place, this shit sucks." Usually, in that situation, you either end up not caring too and just collecting a paycheck until you are gone or you go somewhere else where hopefully there's more people who give a fuck. Very rarely does the giving a fuck spread amongst your peers, unless there's some sort of concerted effort from management above to create an environment where giving a fuck is encouraged. Not sure that's going on right now, but I am hopeful we end up with more Stephen Bowens (and I guess Barry Cofields) and less Albert Haynesworths (and I guess Dana Stubbleworths).
FIRST DEGREE POSITIVE: CB KEVIN BARNES - It was really sweet to see jersey number 22 make a nice pick-off and run it almost all the way back like Barnes did off Matt Moore. After years of Carlos Rogers not making those picks, it's nice to see. Of course, later in the day, I saw Carlos Rogers do it twice, in even better fashion than Kevin Barnes, and towards a better ending. And then Andre Carter got almost five sacks, all by himself, against the Jets on Sunday Night Football. Which makes you wonder, is it the players or the culture here at Redskins Land? Of course, Phillip Daniels said he had encouraged Carlos Rogers to get his eyes checked (not joking, but serious eye exam) and apparently the 49ers made Rogers do that, hence the better INT ability to go along with his steady cover skills. Rogers denied that, but it certainly makes sense, which again points back to a franchise infrastructure that is not able to enable a player reach their full potential. Still though, I thought Barnes was gonna get that thing in the end zone, which would've been nice, because then he would've scored as many TDs as our entire offense has in the past three weeks. And basically unless the defense starts scoring 14 points a game, we ain't gonna win shit this year.
STAY MEDIUM DEGREE: QB REX GROSSMAN - Hard to get mad at Rex Grossman for throwing INTs. That'd be like getting mad at the sun for rising on another shitty Monday morning. It's not the sun's fault. He is able to see far enough downfield to throw the ball farther than where the second orange stick that marks where a first down is obtained is at. That's a plus. And actually, when you really dig at what it means to be a Redskins fan at this point in 2011, after 12 years of Dan Snyder, plus the seven or so years of limbo at the end of the Jack Kent Cooke era, there's not a more perfect QB for us than Rex Grossman. It makes perfect sense, as he once was good (went to the Super Bowl) and came from Florida (like Spurrier) and is allegedly better than he seems (the Redskins mantra!) and yet struggles with his own shortcomings paralyzing the beautiful moments he gives us. There is no more Redskin guy on this roster than Rex Grossman. While that is not good by any means, I am actually in favor of keeping Grossman next year as well, to be our starting QB as whatever rookie we deem most appropriate to throw to the wolves can hold a clipboard, and incubate for a quarter of a season. Pretend Grossman is even better than ever with a fourth year under Kyle Shanahan, and let him be our QB until we are about to be out of playoff range again, and then put in the rookie and let him sink or swim with an extra month or two of time to soak in the full pro experience. The rising stars of Cam Newton and Andy Dalton will not seem so great by the end of the year, and neither Matt Ryan nor Joe Flacco are as impervious as they once seemed. So the starting of the rookie star QB right away is not as smart a philosophy as it might seem. Give me the rest of this year and part of next year with those Gunslinger Eyes staring blankly downfield, indiscriminately throwing the ball at jerseys, regardless of color.
FIRST DEGREE NEGATIVE: OLB BRIAN ORAKPO - Orakpo had some crazy frustrated rants after the game, about how pissed he was about continually losing, about how other seasons that sucked were not like this one because there were distractions those seasons but this one everybody thought they were on the same page with Coach Shanahan and it was supposed to be a focused effort that led to good things, but hasn't. Part of the problem with this is the thinking that one year without distraction is somehow supposed to be better. There needs to be five years without distraction to actually get good again. And though I have no disagreement with anything Orakpo said, and the dude is a straight monster on the field, it's further display to me that the Failure Demons of being a Redskin have finally gotten to #98. That Redskin mantra of "We're better than this, so I don't know why we didn't win" is being replaced by a terrible frustration that you've been fed a line of bullshit your entire professional career, and now you're three, four, five years down the drain on what you hope to be an eight, nine, or ten year career if you're lucky, and you've got nothing to fucking show for it. I feel really bad for Orakpo. By all accounts, he's a great guy, and I wish he hadn't been dealt such a bad professional hand, because he could be a top-tier league superstar like Clay Matthews had positions switched.
SECOND DEGREE NEGATIVE: S LARON LANDRY - Laron, on the other hand, seems to be stuck in that "We're better than this" thinking where he thinks that by being one of the top defenders for part of last season before injury, he is somehow equal to being NFL defensive MVP five years in a row. There was a moment during the Dolphins game, right at the beginning, when the Dolphins were driving in for their first touchdown, when Reggie Bush got a short gain for a first down, but tackled hard by Laron Landry, and you could see Laron doing his vulture hover thing he does over top of somebody he just tackled, as if to intimidate, but Reggie Bush jumped up in his face and you could hear on the field mic, him yelling "FIRST DOWN! FIRST DOWN!" which is pretty much the exact criticism we've had of Landry the past few games - getting all geeked about making a tackle that got a first down for the other team. I don't know what to say about Laron, because I really want to love him and see him blossom like Sean Taylor finally did. And the ultimate failure of Laron Landry as a crushing force of a safety is really the final nail in Sean Taylor still being alive on the field in a sense. And I also know Landry has been hobbled by injuries all last year and all this year. All those apologist caveats said though, something seems to be missing. There's a disconnect between what should be happening and what is happening, and he celebrates like this team has made the playoffs five years in a row and contended for titles, when in reality they are getting straight shown up by a 2-7 Miami Dolphins team. The Reggie Bush/Laron Landry moment was really two guys from the same background (super high profile college superstars at premier programs) in different spots. You get the notion Reggie Bush realizes this may not be his last chance to play, but probably his last shot at getting a big payday. Meanwhile, Laron is still playing like he's about to be drafted in the top ten if teams were to pick again next year. But nobody would pick him in the top ten. At some point there has to be delivery on some of the promise some of this promising players are supposed to have. Which brings me to...
THIRD DEGREE NEGATIVE: T TRENT WILLIAMS - So there were 11 players who allegedly failed weed tests after coming back from the lockout, two of which were on the Redskins (reportedly), one of which was Trent Williams, who has not had the greatest season this year. At this point, he's still getting by at LT with raw athletic talent, which has carried him this far in life in the game of football. But this is also the NFL, where his raw athletic talent makes him a mediocre LT in his prime, and less than that in a couple years when he slows down a step. But he doesn't seem to be interested in dedicating himself, although this past offseason we got the normal Second Year of a Failed High Draft Pick PR job in local papers about how Trent Williams was doing all the right things, realized he needed to apply himself, and how this year was going to be different. I'm not sure how often Redskins PR people using local newspapers like the Washington Post will keep pulling that shenanigan before they realize unless one of those players actually improves, no one will believe it. As for Trent, he's the perfect example of a guy who has lost out because the NFL pays so much higher than professional wrestling, because the Silverback is definitely a pro wrestler type athlete - really great, but limited by self-centered issues, wanting to be seen. That's not the best make-up for an offensive lineman, and when you look back on those infamous Hogs, it was a group of guys working as one, regardless of individual. Thus, the group was elevated. Outside of big ass Joe Jacoby, not sure any of those dudes would be considered elite athletic types by today's standards. But they went all in. I do not see Trent Williams going all in with his teammates. And I think there's some good unmined talent on this Redskins offensive line. Still another draft or two away from being rock solid, but finally seems like the right smaller parts are being looked for. We still need a leader though, and your overall #3 pick from last year should be that leader, but he ain't, unless he's leading the drive to the store for more cherry blunt papers.
Like I said, I have actual hogs, two older ones going to the butcher this week, and two younger ones about 6 weeks old. I've done a lot of reading about assimilating pigs at a young age, and how smart they are, so I've been spending time daily in the pigpen with the little ones, working with them getting used to me. The dark one - named Pagan - is still skittish of humans, which is understandable because they spent their first month in a corn maze petting zoo. The pink one though will come over to me when I squat down and snort at it, and hold its head to my hand, and I scratch it behind the ears and it'll stretch its legs out behind it like yoga walking dog or whatever, then lay down on its stomach, then roll to its side. At first all I could do is pet its head but now I can rub its belly when it lays down, and it just lays there, soaking it in. Outlaw - the pink one - now will come to me when I come in their pen, and chill next to me. As piglets, this is one thing, but when they are like 300 pounds, it will be an amazing spectacle to have a bearded hillbilly degenerate drug addict walk up to these giant beasts, rub them on their head, they lay down submissively, and I curl up next to them, which is the ultimate goal. Well, the ultimate goal will be the pork chops, ham, and sausages that come from them.
That's sort of the same as building an offensive line, getting these large athletic men to become submissive to the unit, and work together as opposed to running in different directions and biting the hands that feed it. The fact we don't have that at a quality level is one of the main reasons no QB has time to really scan the field and no RB really has the gaps to run upfield. The whole thing begins at the line, and somebody needs to be the linchpin of the line, which is what Trent Williams was drafted to be. But he ain't shown he's it at all yet.
FOURTH DEGREE NEGATIVE: HEAD COACH MIKE SHANAHAN - Don't even know what to say about Shanahan at this point. How come when everybody was like, "Joe Gibbs is in over his head!" a few years ago, even though Joe made the playoffs in two of his four years (which is amazing under this ownership), but nobody's saying the same thing about Shanahan, who is proving really quickly that he is useless without an Elway on his team. The fact he went into this season thinking Beck/Grossman was an acceptable set of choices is strike enough against him. And yet because of all the mistakes Dan Snyder has made, we will probably be force to ride out another two years at least of Shanahan's ineptitude, so that Snyder can prove to the naysayers he has given the man enough time. Sigh.
FIFTH DEGREE NEGATIVE: OWNER DAN SNYDER - And herein lies the problem. The funny thing is, part of my newfound positive attitude is realizing that what we are seeing is really just the beginning. As bad as it has seemed, once Snyder gets rid of Shanahan after some more patience, what major coach is going to want to come here? Was Shanahan even in charge last year when Donovan McNabb was gotten? The fanbase is angry and belligerent, so that's been sabotaged. Snyder happened to come along the same time a new stadium was just getting started that is a piece of shit strip mall compared to the ragged glory of RFK Stadium. We are just now seeing the beginning of the death of this franchise. We are just now entering that window of barely relevant, where we can go 3-1 and people think it's something. We will get to the point where rookie superstars don't want to get drafted by us and we're not even barely relevant. We will get to the point where people look back on their Redskins years as laughingstock stops they'd never want to repeat. Those three Super Bowls aren't far enough back yet to really be a laughingstock. Except let me drop some mathematical knowledge on you I just looked up... You know the last time the Redskins won a playoff game when Joe Gibbs wasn't the head coach? December of 1972, about three months before I was born. I AM FUCKING 38 YEARS OLD! And this team has never won a playoff game without Joe Gibbs coaching it in my lifetime. And Dan Snyder is a far worse owner than Jack Kent Cooke was, so I can't imagine him having much success in being able to see a young coaching talent and bringing him to turn this ship around.
So we basically are worse than I thought when I started writing this. And yet I am still positive. Why? Because there's something noble in suffering. Blessed are those that struggle. Dan Snyder will never know this. Rich fucks who own box seats at FedEx and don't go to the games anymore and sell the tickets on stubhub to opposing fans, they won't ever know this. And there's not much glory in it, that's for sure, but on those moments when I get to doze off in frustrated peace on an early Sunday afternoon - it is pure bliss. And I am envisioning a long seven weeks of dozing bliss on Sunday afternoons ahead on the calendar. I'll be well-rested for watching other people's teams play in the playoffs.
ACCUMULATED INFLUENCES UPON THIS FRANCHISE 2011, BEST TO WORST: OLB Ryan Kerrigan (+22), MLB London Fletcher (+21), TE Fred Davis (+15), OLB Brian Orakpo (+12), NT Chris Neild (+8), WR Santana Moss (+7), P Sav Rocca (+6), RB Ryan Torain (+6), TE Chris Cooley (+5), LB Rocky McIntosh (+5), ILB Perry Riley (+4), S Laron Landry (+3), DC Jim Haslet (+3), TE Logan Paulsen (+3), DE Stephen Bowen (+2), RB Roy Helu (+2), WR Anthony Armstrong (+2), CB Josh Wilson (+1), K Graham Gano (+1), DE Adam Carriker (+1), WR Leonard Hankerson (+1), CB Kevin Barnes (+1), RB Tim Hightower (even), color commentator Sam Huff (-1), KR/PR Brandon Banks (-1), fan Raven Mack (-4), QB Rex Grossman (-6), S Reed Doughty (-8), T Trent Williams (-12), QB John Beck (-12), T Jammal Brown (-18), HC Mike Shanahan (-20), CB DeAngelo Hall (-25), OC Kyle Shanahan (-28), and owner Dan Snyder (-39).