November 4, 2010

Not Dead Yet

The title refers to both the 4-4 Redskins and (with apologies for injecting myself into the mix) yours truly.

On the former ... you may have heard about the Redskins' latest fun and games. They lost again to the Detroit Lions (apparently trying to balance out universal karma since between 1782 and the mid-2000's they beat the Lions 2,113 straight times.

Apparently they also had some drama involving their quarterback.

Me, I've had an interesting year. Separation from spouse of 23 years, losing 40 pounds (unrelated of course) and, over this past weekend, moving into new digs.

Why share the personal stuff? Because those of you kind enough to saunter through here from time to time deserve an explanation when you find it silent for days at a time. Please accept a nod of appreciation for the patronage and consider hanging in there a while longer while Life does its "Yo, deal with me" thing.

So ... the quarterback thing? About as overblown as any local sports story I can remember.

My quick take:

On a day the offense was, shall we say, struggling, at some point during the second half the FOX cameras catch the offensive coordinator (and head coach's son) on the sidelines. He's watching what is about to transpire on the field as his offense comes to the line of scrimmage.

He spreads his hands and gives the classic "WTF?" look. It sends chills up my spine. Truth is I haven't seen anything like that in 40 years of watching pro football.

It was a clear and frightening insight into the clusterf*** that was (is?) the current State of the Offense, a unit being run in some kind of strange brew involving head coach Mike Shanahan, son Kyle and erstwhile Pro Bowl quarterback Donovan McNabb.

Donovan was having a crappy game. The offensive line slept in. The defense got stops except when absolutely necessary. But Brandon Banks and a few timely offensive plays here and there had the Redskins up five, with four minutes to go, and the ball.

One or two more plays--a first down or two, maybe a defensive stop--and they win another game they probably shouldn't. They head into the bye week of the Transition Year 5-3, and we all spend two weeks talking about how sweet it is that the Redskins are changing a generation of losing culture, learning to win on the fly, and heading firmly in the right direction as they reinvent themselves on an organizational level.

On second and ten, though, McNabb makes the apparent conscious decision to throw into triple coverage to Anthony Armstrong. He may or may not get hit enough alter the throw. He may or may not change his mind after his arm starts in motion and pull the string to bring it back.

Doesn't matter really. Only the result matters.  The ball lollipops into triple coverage, Armstrong is unable to wrest it away from the grateful Lions cornerback it happens to flutter to, and the Lions, predictably, accept the karmic gift and go on to win the game.

One play.

By the quarterback.

One really, really, really bad play. A play that conjurs Heath Shuler, not a six time Pro Bowler.

A play that, says here, blows up several thousand synpatic connections in the head coach and son's collective cerebela and ends up translating into McNabb wearing a "are you serious?" look under his ball cap on the sidelines while Rex Grossman takes the field, gets overrun by the Lions defensive line (which did not oversleep) and ends up posterized.

Skins lose.

Coaches aren't about to try explain to the world the million multi-layered reasons they benched McNabb. They spend a couple days offering partial excuses reasons, which they probably regret now but really could care less about now because they've dealt with whatever real fallout there is in the locker room behind closed doors where it should be.

The fans blow gaskets.

The local press, absolved of the need to play nice with the new coach, go back to their comfort zone and run with the most salacious, overblown nonsense they can, finally allowed to rip Snyder and the Redskins again.

It is something they have clearly missed terribly since last January.


The 2010 Redskins are 4-4.

They lost games (St. Louis, Detroit) to two teams we thought in preseason they "should" beat. They won two games (Green Bay, Philly on the road) that in preseason we penciled in as losses.

The defense is coming along about as expected going from 4-3 to 3-4. Sometimes great, sometimes awful, but overall appearing to come along.

McNabb is taking longer to learn and get quick in the offense than anyone had hoped. He may or may not be hurt. Whether or not he's back in 2011 will depend on how he plays the rest of 2010.

The offensive line is in major transition and still 2-3 years from recovering from the neglect of ten years under the previous administration.

Special teams are exciting as hell.

The 2010 Redskins could still make the playoffs, finish 8-8 or fall apart and not win another game.

The press and the fans are in midseason form--lurching between ecstacy and suicide watch depending on each week's final score.

None of that changes the one underlying fundamental truth about the 2010 season. It's a Transistion Year, in which the new regime is figuring out what they have, what they don't, and what direction they want to go.

They 2010 Redskins are not great. In fact sometimes they look downright awful. But at midseason, with two weeks to stew over the latest unhappy scoreboard,they look like exactly what they are ... a team in a Transtion Year with all the questions and weekly mini-dramas attendant to said process--some expected, some not.

They are 4-4. And they are not dead yet. What that means to you depends on what your expectations were eight weeks ago.

Philly II is up next, in what will surely be a very long ten days. On Monday Night. If we don't talk between now and then, please try and remember this is all for fun. You know, entertainment?

Hail, hermanos y hermanas.


Anonymous said...

"...but really could care less about now because they've dealt with whatever real fallout there is in the locker room behind closed doors where it should be."

Thank you thank you thank a million times. Some coaches are media darlings. Shanahan is not one of them, and I love it. He does not answer to the media, he coaches a professional football team.

PS We missed you


Mark "Om" Steven said...

Have to admit, when DMac threw that INT I probably would have benched him too. It was a pass a veteran QB simply cannot throw.

Its impact on the game, and what it suggested about where he is mentally in the offense right now, cannot be overstated.

I can also recall thinking, even as he made the move, that Shanahan had just set himself up for two weeks of serious crap from fans, media and just about everyone else. Fortunately, I really don't think he gives a damn.

Anyway ... thanks for the read and comment my friend.

Anonymous said...

Hu'on: You have more hermanos & hermanas (plural)? Who knew?

Gabe Ortiz said...

I'll admit ... i totally skipped over the "former" and looked straight for the "latter."

Sorry to hear about your separation. Hopefully its the best for all parties.

Glad to have you back on track Om.