September 5, 2008

One Giant Disappointment

Strange night.

As I’m getting ready to head home from work for the game late yesterday afternoon, I get a call from my daughter in college. Seems the school is being evacuated due to the approach of Hurricane Hanna, and how would I feel about taking a little drive?


The good news, as it turns out (other than getting to see my daughter of course) was that I didn't get to watch the game.

What I did do was listen to the first two possessions on the car radio before arriving at her school. Which as it turned out was more than enough to stir bile and summon demons.

Before the game even starts, we get our first injury, as Khary Campbell manages to hurt himself on the coin toss. I’m not an “omen” kinda guy, but that one has me muttering.

Special teams starts out great, though, as Mike Sellers pins the Giants at their own 14, and I’m thinking “oh yeah.” The defense is solid on 1st and 2nd downs, but that doesn’t excite me, as that’s not our problem. On the first 3rd down opportunity—our Achilles Heel for as long as I can remember—the Giants convert easily.

In a non-descript car rolling down Route 64 somewhere in SE Virgina, a lone driver takes a long swig from his water bottle, wipes his mouth with the back of his hand and says, “shit.”

And as he already kind of expects, the Giants waltz down the field with little resistance. Along the way, they expose Carlos Rogers, Kedrick Golston gets hurt, the Skins can’t get to Manning ... and the NY crowd gets to celebrate way, way too early.

I’m slowly shaking my head. Not exactly what you wait eight months for.

Then it’s our first offensive series, and again it’s hold-your-breath time. So much on the line here, getting the first read on what kind of offense we’re going to have early on.

And, as if scripted, Jason Campbell gets sacked on first down. Stephon Heyer and Randy Thomas apparently get their signals crossed. Two predictable give-up runs, and we punt. Beautiful.

So now I’m at the school, shutting down the car. I sit there for a minute or two listening to a very staticky Larry Michaels, Sam Huff and Sonny already sounding the alarms, and I make the decision not to listen to another play. I’m thinking this one has 35-7 written all over it ... and, worse, the demons the past 15 years of Redskins football have created are already breakdancing in my brain.

Same ones you entertained, I suspect:

We're fatally weak up front on both sides of the ball.

We still don’t have a QB—or if we do, he’s sitting on the bench and won’t be ready to compete at this level for at least a couple of years.

Our coaching is average at best, incapable at worst.

Our skill players never play up to their reps.

It’s going to be another long year.

I click off the radio, take a deep breath, screw on a smile and head off to collect my child.


Home at midnight, I semi-reluctantly flip on the tube. I’m hoping that, by some miracle, the Skins came to life during the game and managed to squeak one out. I’m fully expecting to see they got trampled 35-7.

The ESPN crawl shows 16-7, and god help me, I’m relieved. At least the defense was competitive. I catch a couple highlights of Brandon Jacobs trucking people in our secondary, and kill the TV as Stu Jackson starts in on the Redskins—can’t deal with that guy.

And I hit the sack thinking, "At least we know."

We know the 2008 Redskins are going to be a work in progress, and it ain’t always going to be pretty.


I'll watch the tape tonight and weigh on on the specifics. Maybe even try to put some of them into some kind of short-term perspective.

Meanwhile, I'm definitely not going to partake of or give credence to the invevitable overreaction orgy this one has already triggered ... like from the knuckleheads on the radio this morning (in this case, Legend Riggins, Sheehan and Pollin) spending long, solemn segments discussing why the Redskins didn't play their first string offense more in preseason ... and what a mistake it was to hire Zorn. After one game. His first.

I mean, seriously.

As disappointing as the Redskins clearly were last night, and as natural as it was have an emotional reaction in the heat of the moment, the predictable rush-to-judgment after a night to sleep on it is worse.


Anonymous said...

Hey, at least your daughter is home, hu'on!

Mark "Om" Steven said...

Indeed. Segura, salva y muy dormida.

Here's to perspective.

AstonJay32 said...

While I expected imperfection, nerves, rust, and evidence of a team learning a new offense, I wasn't expecting the team to come out so uninspired, or guys literally jogging after ball carriers after being beat (yes, Mr. Rogers and Mr. Taylor, I'm looking at you). I expected Campbell to make a few bad decisions, but I didn't expect him to illustrate total indecisiveness. Expected a few false starts and misreads from the O-line, but didn't expect us getting repeatedly blown off the ball. Expected a few sacks, but didn't expect seeing our offense have THAT much trouble against the blitz. Didn't expect clock management to be perfect, but where's the urgency when you're down by 9 with 6:30 left?

Bottom line - we looked completely unprepared. And that scares the crap out of me.

The good news is, I think all our issues aren't complicated and very fixable. And as bad as we played, and as much as we deserved to lose (and we most certainly did), we were always one drive (one play!) away from being right back in it.

Mark "Om" Steven said...

That's all fair, Aston. Clearly NY came out playing at a different level, both physically and emotionally. Good news appears to be rather than roll over and get pounded, the team dug in and at least made a game of it.

I think maybe we've all forgotten that just like we expect rookie or first-time QB's to struggle early, it was unreasonable to expect the rookie head coach not to have a learning curve to deal with as well.

No idea what happens next. Ideally they come out next week a little better in all areas ... we'll see. What's crazy is the amount of teeth-gnashing going on today. From year to year, it seems 95% of the NFL watching world forgets how quickly and utterly things change from week to week.

TANGLER said...

I found myself furious that Springs was injured. Just can't depend on him cause he's so injury prone.

Great Blog, I'll be checking back.

Mark "Om" Steven said...

Hey Tangler,

When Larry M. said Springs was out, I have to admit I laughed. Not "haha" but more "ohferchrissake." Then Khary got hurt jogging away from the coin toss. Then NY plowed thru us like a Yugo on the traintracks. Then I was driving through a dead zone and losing the friggin' signal.

Good thing I was alone in the car and could express myself ... unreservedly.

Thanks for the read, and I'll be checking your blog as well. Not a fisherman, but have the same sense of humble awe and wonder outdoors as comes thru in your writing. Love it.


TANGLER said...

"ohferchrissake laugh"

LOL, that's exactly it man. Very glad he's healthy now though, we sure need him.

I forgot your blogger name and it took me forever to find this site again. They won't let me join the cause I don't have a university or ISP email address but I persevered and got your name. I'll add you as a "follow" now.