It is the best of times, it is the worst of times, it is the age of wisdom, it is the age of foolishness, it is the epoch of belief, it is the epoch of incredulity, it is the season of Light, it is the season of Darkness, it is the spring of hope, it is the winter of despair, we have everything before us, we have nothing before us ...
Worst? Also easy. RG3 vs Luck, in preseason, being sold as meaning something. When "starters playing three quarters" is interpreted by many as said veteran starters, as a group, taking it even remotely as seriously as they will when the games count. When "game-planning" is being sold as even remotely comparable to the hyper-targeted scheming we will not see until the results matter. The inevitable truth that, even knowing it is but a glorified scrimmage, we will, at some point, find ourselves emotionally caught up in the moment.
Wisdom? Of course. Our higher intellects do still rule the day. Win or lose, look great or look awful, in our heart of hearts we accept that preason is meaningless. Even Joe Gibbs said so ("nothing matters less than preseason").
Foolishness? You think? Skip Bayless. Chris Berman. Handsomely paid television, radio and interweb experts solemnly attesting to the meaning to be found wihtin the meaninglessness, if one is simply willing to accept their genius. Armchair quarterbacks, coaches, and general managers finding interwebbian soapbox opportunites galore from which to share their told-you-so genius.
Belief? You bet. When RG3 sidesteps an unblocked pass rusher and whips a 25-yard laser in the seam to a streaking Pierre Garçon for a touchdown, we cleave to it as portent of much awesomeness to come. When the defense stones the Colts on fourth-and-1 from our own 38-yard line, to turn away a potential scoring drive, it strikes us as sufficient evidence that defensive coordinator Jim Hazlett is, indeed, the right man for the job.
Incredulity? Without a doubt. We are two short weeks from the season opener, on the road against the New Orleans Saints, and our projected starting offensive line has yet to play a down together. Heading into week three of the preaseason, we are looking at the very real possibility that our workhourse featured running back in said season opener will be a sixth round rookie out of Florida Atlantic. And our defense continues to seemingly deal only in extremes—Bills dominance, Bears flatulence—and little in between.
Season of Light? Please. It's Fall. It's the Redskins. Life is Good.
Season of Darkness? Sigh. Summer is almost over. The mind-numbing incompetence that has been Redskins football for the last twenty years casts a long shadow indeed, even over the apparent Redskins Spring that dawned the brisk March morning we learned they had traded up in the draft for the chance to land their first franchise quarterback in a generation. As we have been reminded so many times over that forlorn time, hope can be a dangerous thing.
Spring of hope? Damn straight. After 20 years, we actually have what even stone-cold reason tells us is a legtimate NFL quarterback prospect. We know it's going to take time—probably two or three years—before his tide fully raises all Redskins ships, but we are okay with that. The joy is in the journey, not the destination.
Winter of despair? Wait. Two or three more years? I can't take this anymore.
Everything before us? Four o'clock Saturday afternoon, the Washington Redskins take to their home field for the first time since January 1, 2012. Leading the charge through the fireworks and thundering music will be none other than The Man himself, Robert Griffin, III. He will play up to three quarters of football, with a little systemic support around him finally, perhaps even allowed to run a few plays of the offense we will see in September. We will finally get a glimpse of the magic we believe will be ours to savor for a decade and more. Our house. Our man. Our team.
Nothing before us? Nod. It's preseason. No matter how hard "they" try to sell it otherwise, the truth is that nothing matters less.
Ah, well. Take heart friends. The regular season is but two short weeks away.
It is a far far better thing...