I don't get to write very often these days. But there's so much to write it's driving me crazy keeping it bottled up. So I'm going to try the shotgun-style thing for a while. Again.
In no particular order, and definitely not exhaustively ...
DC Jim Haslett
Few doubted Haslett earlier or more pointedly than I when the Redskins brought him in to implement the transition from a 4-3 to 3-4 defense last year. And, through the end of last season I had seen little to change my mind. But fair is fair, and credit where it's due:
Mr. Haslett, the product you have put on the field so far in 2011 has been a revelation. I am happy with the game-planning, happy with the rotation, happy with the halftime adjustments, happy even with almost all the playcalling. My only nitpick is with still too-often telegraphed blitzes that don't get there. Even then, I understand that kind of second-guessing is easy for armchair coordinators. And I recognize that the view from the living room is a little different than the view from the sidelines. In the same way, for instance, as planning to get in shape, and actually getting in shape, are a little different.*
Hell of a job so far. For the record, I would like nothing more than to see you continue to rub it in the faces of doubters like me for a long time to come.
QB Rex Grossman
... is perhaps the only 3-1 quarterback in NFL history to garner a lower approval rating in his own home town than the sitting President. Well, there is nothing like raising the bar on preseason team expectations to make everyone forget that the current trigger man was never going to be more than a placeholder to begin with. Crawl a couple games above .500 and suddenly it's not "rebuilding year," we're talking Super Bowl.
But back to Rex...
At some point, sooner or later, our man is going to throw one too many inexcusable interceptions, or fail to sense the blindside rusher and get strip-sacked (a term which, in practically any other context, sounds distinctly obscene) with a game on the line, and head coach Mike Shanahan's forehead vein is going to explode.
At which point the John Beck Era will summarily begin.
And, at which point, the John Beck Era will immediately find itself on the same frantic countdown clock as the Rex Grossman Era seems to be now. Because unless Beck can, you know, play, the generation-long search the Redskins have suffered for a legitimate, long-term NFL-caliber starting quarterback, will begin anew the moment the final whistle on their 2011 season sounds. So don't blink. When the Rex-to-Beck transition comes—and it will—it's going to happen fast. And there'll be no going back. Just ask Donovan McNabb.
As for the Beck-to-??? transition, we shall simply have to wait and see what the inscrutable gridiron gods have in mind.
QB John Beck
So be ready, brother. Put this indeterminate number of understudy weeks to good use. Study. Work out. Do agility drills. Befriend offensive linemens. And, as a personal favor (because all it's all about me, after all), please set your internal stopwatch to "Get Rid of the Damn Ball." Why? So that once you do get in there you don't become road kill. The big mean ugly guys on the other side of the line are going to come after you, fast and hard (context again), to test the stuff of which you are made.
WR Terrell Owens
Honestly? I have zero doubt they will take down the Buffalo Bills on Sunday, perhaps convincincly, to avoid starting the season 1-4 and being essentially done for the year. That's not a knock on Buffalo. If there is a feel-good-story in the NFL year so far, it's the boys in throwback Bills unis led by a hirsute Harvard grad. But it is a reality check.
The universe just does not grant Washington Redskins fans favors like seeing the prohibitive divisional favorite, national media darling and anointed Dream Team du jour, fall on their collective faces and totally off the face of the earth. I mean really.
Philly will find a way to win Sunday.
However ... when the men in green travel to Washington the following weekend, they may be surprised to find that these Redskins, even with The Punchline at quarterback, have become a rather difficult out. Mike Vick's wheels better be balanced, rotated and ready to roll.
In a league where every week's game is big, and every week a case can be made for a particular game being a "must win," the (2-3) Philadelphia vs (3-1) Washington tilt is going to be big. As in, possible season-defining big for two franchises.
Just a friendly word to the wise, Philly ... don't leave your lunch in Buffalo.
Dallas Cowboys and QB Tony Romo
Schadenfreude, at times like these, is unavoidable.
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* Yes Kyle, that was for you. Love you man.
Giants re-sign LB Mark Herzlich
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