Friday, December 18, 2009

I Feel Myself Today

We long to take pride in being Redskins and everything that means - resilience, trust, grit, passion, loyalty to name a few. Championships we strive for but this is only icing on the cake because as a Redskins fan I feel special every day. But one man for a decade has disrupted our collective conscious and only now that he is gone are we ourselves again. For right now, today, tomorrow, there is nothing more to discuss, no hirings to analyze. Doing so only misses the point. Cerrato is gone and I feel myself today.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Unrealism

I haven't watched a game in weeks, and only then after Te surprised me with a text that our local teams were playing each other in the late game leaving a 3 hour void Fox filled with the Redskins succumbing late to the Eagles. Sometimes the voices stream from the 980 broadcast over the web. Other times I wonder what it tells me that the post can't give us at least one legitimate insight into the team per day. Perhaps 2 or 3 on Monday wouldn't be unreasonable.

I wear my down filled vest, logoed and lettered, everyday I leave the courts. Even today. It was 14 degrees. But I lost my hat, the black one, lined. You know modern. I decommissioned my 70's touch with the pom-pom ball and pull down mask.

I didn't tack on a Joe Gibbs book to my order from Amazon this Christmas. But I can't stand the Vinny Cerrato in the way I can't stand the Cowboys. Whether his moves turn out or don't, his being a part of the Redskins organization negatively affects my self-image. I clamor for Schottenheimmer to say more on the subject.

I remember us bludgeoning the Cowboys 35-7 in 2005 in a show of physical presence that carried us to the playoffs. We slapped them around in a game without lore. And I remember Carlos Rogers dropping a sure interception for a touchdown early in the Pittsburgh game in 2008. I see very clearly that moment our season fell from grace. Similar circumstances in a 2005 playoff game I choose to ignore.

An enlarged team photograph of the 1982 World Champions lays propped at my feet. They still used window unit air conditioning. A yellow glare stains the photo. I left my room that day and upon my return it was there. Sun exposure or perhaps a dog's work. I have my suspicions but then I was too young to know and now it was so long ago.

My flight leaves early the Tuesday morning following the Giants game leaving me to quietly interpret the events on the field being played out before me on ESPN. How will promising execution ever marry the composure still remaining eight games into last season? Campbell does not lead us from down 14 as he did against the Eagles with a very long pass. But he looks at ease with a 3 yard slant.

I can't muster the darkness of weeks 2 through 6, so deep I cannot claim to grasp. I did not schedule my vacation dates around the final three games. Instead I scheduled my flight from Texas on the night we meet Dallas, completely unaware. I hope another selection is made for Sunday night. I wish we did not have a first round draft pick in 2010.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Caution to the Wind

This phrase is repeated often amongst the old-timers. The ones who knew Redskins meant champions. And the first step to doing so is admitting those days are past. Our recollections old. It's time to move on.

I've long been one to harp on the past believing this would deliver me the future. Much of my self-perspective today was built from those Sunday afternoons of my childhood when I knew no matter how far down, we were never out. But I'm done.

Tradition didn't deliver Super XVII, XXII, or XXVI. Excellence did. Ownership demanded of management, management of coaches, coaches of players, and players of themselves. Tradition and excellence - right now, we got a whole lot of one and not the other.

As fans, we must stop offering respect for feats unearned. You deserve nothing for being a Redskin. Tradition is out. Deliver us a new one, and you'll have our respect.

How could we tolerate for so long comments from the locker room of having the most talent in the league? A promise of a brighter future, and we ate it up. This only makes the team stink that much more. A lack of urgency should be despised far more than potential adored.

We should blame ourselves for letting our coach off the hook this week for the sake of the less demanding task of blaming a kicker. He botched the plays and play calls that led up to the kick, missing a chance to hit the 2 minute warning after 2nd down with a better play call, and showing no creativity on 3rd once the 2 minute warning was a given. It's the Saints. Nothing was guaranteed with a 10 point lead. We should have gone for 14 when we had the chance.

No doubt Shuisham should have been cut but this should have occurred 2 years ago. Not once during that off-season did I hear a Redskin fan notice that it was his missed kick that likely cost us that game. And no one seemed to remember his pension for choking after the Dallas misses either.

We have a quarteback for all his promise and excuses that cannot lead us to a score in the final minutes of a game, the one aspect that is clearly about gumption and less about coordinators. We are okay with this? Have we really found other promise and potential to focus on in order to dismiss this critical fact?

By accident perhaps, we are stumbling upon a new slew, not defined by years past and willing to do anything possible to get noticed and define themselves. Let's give them some help and recognize successes of the past wont translate into success of the future. Give them some help and let them earn our respect as they are burning to do. Don't hand it to them like we hand fed Lavar and Clinton. And change the logos on our helmets. It's time to move on.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Shelter from the Storm

This has been an angry and frustrating period, the Synder era. It seemed at its lowest point only 7 weeks. But let us not underestimate such undignified moments of the past including the snowballing disaster of Steve Spurrier or the final weeks of '01 with Norv , Robiskie, and even Synder's bud of the times Pepper Rodgers who was going to step on in and lead us to what was the glory of UCLA football in the (initial) era of USC dominance. Sherm Lewis? How about Bill Arnsparger, our 72 year old defensive consultant?

But alas we persevere. A win and two close games is all it takes to lift us at least to our knees, a much cheaper proposition than the first time around when Snyder's only relief was to bring back Joe Gibbs, our savior of yesteryear, to help cleanse him of his sins.

A coach of our own makes us feel like Redskin fans. A people who feel better about themselves because they have been bestowed this gift, not only because we have defeated our competition. I always feel better than a Cowboys fan. Win or lose. I have always presumed they feel bad about themselves.

But are we comfortable with this proposition, particularly after team officials made their good run at this by letting Jim Zorn fall flat on all of our faces? And knowing that with this direction does not intrinsically come the ousting of a very sadly incapable general manager.

There is Cowher. A great coach who plays Steeler football, a brand we admire. And Mike Shanahan, a mastermind of an evil empire that could probably snuggle up coldly with the emperor himself. And maybe too readily dismissed as a willing candidate after his protectionist comments is Mike Holmgren who may have been setting himself up for the GM job all along if only Zorn could play his way back to at least be considered for another season as coach. But his success in the front office never amounted to more than one decent season in a weak NFC.

So where to begin? Maybe an in depth analysis, or maybe just in faith in our past. That time that made us special and made us Redskins. Gibbs was building players and he also built leaders. Maybe we didn't need our savior back and would have been better served by reinstituting his legacy. We've already missed opportunities in our own Mark Murphy and Martin Mayhew among what I'm sure are many others. How can I not mention the name Russ Grimm?