June 17, 2010

Allen vs Cerrato - A Starke Contrast

If you haven’t already, make sure you check out Dan Steinberg’s latest Sports Bog entry.

Why? Because what we have here, ladies and gentlemen, is as clear a single piece of evidence as we have had all off season that there is in fact a new day in Washington Redskins football.

Among the many things that have driven me to distraction about the Snyder/Cerrato Redskins over the past few years has been their almost bizarre, counter-intuitive effort to break from the organization's past.

For years they have seemed to go out of their way to not celebrate the Glory Years ... to not have former players around, to not tap into the deep rich history of the franchise. Instead, they seemed to have wanted to scrub the record clean and pretend Redskins history started again sometime around, oh, 1999.

That, it would seem, has changed.

But don’t take my word...

"The first thing it means is that the change in the administration from Cerrato to Bruce Allen is a good thing for the Washington Redskins, because Vinny didn't like us around," said legendary Hog George Starke.

"He didn't like former Redskins. He wasn't part of this family. And as a result of that, the Redskins never went anywhere. You know, [most] of these guys out there on that field have never been in the playoffs. On this side, you've got guys here with four rings.

"And so Bruce, when he came in, the first thing he did was he called Brig Owens up, he called me up, he said the Redskins will never be successful as an organization unless we all come together. He's absolutely right. He says 'I want everybody to come out, I want you to come out all the time, I want you to be part of the deal, otherwise this team won't be successful.'

"And that's absolutely right. And that's what he did, so that's why we're here.....Whereas the Vinny guy was the exact opposite. He wanted to do it himself and he didn't know how to do it....

"For the last three years we've been hearing about these second-round draft choice receivers that can't run a route. First of all, running a route's not that hard, but for some reason they can't do it. See, Bruce is the kind of guy, he'd call out Art Monk, because Art lives right down the street, and say 'All right, will you come up here and show the kids how to run a route please?'

"That makes sense. You draw on all this talent you have, which is something the other guy would never do. It's a no-brainer. You never really know what makes one team better than another, but I'll tell you this, there's very little variation in talent from team to team. So the team that won the Super Bowl, New Orleans, they're not a better team than this, talent-wise.

"Number one, it's coaching, and number two, there's a spiritual aspect to it. Trust me on that. There's a magic that comes around a football team that's a winning team, and you want to capture that magic somehow, and I think this is a good way to do it."

You don’t have to agree with everything old George “Holding, Number 74" Starke is saying here. Some may disagree, for instance, that calling Art Monk in to coach up Malcolm Kelly’s wayward route-running skills, while WR coach Keenan McCardell presumably gets a Gatorade, is a great way to run a football team.

But the larger point—that connecting the current team to its storied history, and to its very foundation—is a pretty damn good one.

And the point sure to gets scoffs from the cynics—that there is such a thing as magic, synergy or whatever one chooses to call the X-factor that suddenly turns a roster from a BOG (bunch of guys) into a team—is an even better one.

If you are old enough to remember what being a Redskins fan “felt” like back in the winning days, with what the NFL world generally considered unremarkable talent but recognized as superior chemistry, you may well have the same little smile on your face after reading what Starke had to say as I do.

Thanks, George.

Steinberg says there are more installments coming regarding the gathering of Redskins alumni at Redskins Park.

I’ll be there.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"That Vinny guy..." Love it.