Tag Archives: Joe Gibbs

The Redskins vs. The Cowboys preview: Another win changes things.

Almost every Sunday, I try and meet up with my parents to have dinner with them, especially since I have the good fortune of living close by to them. I’m an only child, and even tough I’m married and have enough things going on to keep me plenty busy, spending a few hours on a Sunday evening hanging out and catching up with my family is the absolute least thing I can do.

After all, the person I am today is almost entirely a reflection of the way I was brought up by parents. And that fact absolutely extends to Football, or more specifically, my/our love for the Redskins. Again, the fact that the blood coursing through my veins runs distinctly runs burgundy and gold is due, in large part, to my parents sharing that same passion and loyalty towards the Redskins, and teaching me those same virtues about being a fan.

My mom always felt that fans of the Dallas Cowboys are less welcome in her home than even door-to-door salesmen, uninvited houseguests, or termites. My dad always believed that the pulse of Washington DC ebbed and flowed with the success of the Redskins. He always joked how people just naturally seemed to be happier, friendlier, and in a better mood overall the Monday morning after a Redskins win.

So over dinner last night, we joked that, with the Redskins being 2-0, and the level of optimism and excitement surrounding this team, if Washington beats Dallas tonight, Redskins fans are going to start figuring out how much Super Bowl tickets will cost, and whether they’ll able to take off a few days from work sometime around the first weekend of February, 2012

As a fan – and as a passionate one, no less – it happens. You start thinking ahead. You start looking at the schedule, and start seeing W’s where you may orginally have seen L’s.Even though the leaves haven’t even started changing colors yet, you start predicting playoff matchups and figuring out the ramifications of home field advantages.

Especially when it’s coming up on four years since your team has been to the postseason.

Yes, the Redskins are 2-0. Yes, they’re the only team in the NFC East with an undefeated record. Yes, they’re one of only four teams in the NFL that are undefeated, period. But the somewhat pessimistic, but masquerading as realistic, part of me realizes that, after all, the season is only two games old. As good as we feel about the two wins this team has racked up, we have to remind ourselves, constantly, that it’s still only two games. There’s 14 games, 10 teams, and three months that this team still has to get through.

And yet, going 3-0 – even if it’s just another early season in in September – feels like it changes everything.

Whether or not we’re still giddy from the euphoria of these first two wins, things just feel different, in a special way, with this team. It’s only September, yet they’ve already beaten the Giants by two touchdowns, something they haven’t done in six years. They’ve already showed you how they’ll play with their backs against the wall, having erased an eight-point fourth quarter deficit to came back to win the game, something they haven’t done in I can’t tell you how long.

The last time we felt this way about the Redskins was probably 2005, the second year of the Gibbs II regime. The team started the first half of the season 5-3 (including 3-0 through their first three games), lost three heartbreakers, and then ran the table to get to their only double-digit win season that decade. Like that team, if the Redskins can start 3-0, we could very well be looking at a team with a 6-2 or even a 7-1 record come midseason

There’s plenty of reasons to believe the Redskins should win tonight, without being biased. They’re playing a Dallas team tonight that’s both struggling and wounded. Four of the Cowboys five best players on offense are either not playing tonight (Miles Austin) or are still struggling with injuries (Tony Romo, Felix Jones, Dez Bryant). Their offensive line has been crap, getting almost no movement along the line of scrimmage. Their defense is giving up over 25 points per game, with a secondary that’s been busy covering no one.

You just know that the Redskins will happily tell the Cowboys: “Make Tony Romo – the guy with cracked ribs and a punctured lung that we’re not really sure has completed healed yet – beat us. We dare you to.” You know Jim Haslett will bring the heat, and tell anyone who hits Romo to make sure Romo felt it. The Cowboys refuse to run the ball anyway (30th in the NFL in rushing yards per game, 32nd in yards per attempt), so there’s little reason to believe the the Redskins defense won’t spend the evening teeing off on Romo’s midsection, hoping he coughs up the football (he’s turned it over three times in two games already).

So, what if the Redskins win tonight? You never want to think ahead, but as a fan, you’re lying to yourself if you say you aren’t.

The Redskins would be 3-0, and would send Dallas to 1-2. The Philadelphia Eagles – the supposed “dream team” – are already at 1-2, with Michael Vick’s body slowly falling apart like it was a piece of IKEA furniture assembled by a bunch of drunken frat boys. The only other team with a winning record in the NFC, the Redskins already beat by two touchdowns.

Next week, the Redskins take on the St. Louis Rams, a team that’s scored a grand total of three offensive touchdowns, and is getting beaten by an average of 20 points per game this season. Steven Jackson is already dealing with a nagging leg injury, Sam Bradford’s receivers can’t catch anything, and their defense is giving up huge plays in the passing game, especially since it’s on the field for most of the game already.

Another win there would put them at 4-0 as they head into the early bye week, with a huge matchup against Philadelphia looming on the other side. The Redskins could very well be getting the Eagles without Michael Vick, who’d be just 22 days removed from an broken right (non-throwing) hand that’s projected to take “three to four weeks” to heal.

And after that? They play at Carolina, a team that’s a lot more dangerous than people gave them credit for – how many people realize Cam Newton ran third in the NFL in passing yardage, as of this morning? – but still very beatable. They’ll then play Buffalo on the road (a game that will take place in Toronto), San Francisco at home (even at 2-1, I still stay they’re one of the five worst teams in the league), and then Miami on the road (another one of the five worst teams in the league; they’re probably in the bottom three, actually).

Even if they somehow lose to a Vick-less Philadelphia, and maybe one more team (odds on favorite, right now, would be Buffalo), that’s still 6-2 by midseason. There can’t be a single fan who wouldn’t gladly take the Redskins having only two losses around the middle of November. How many people around the country believed the Redskins wouldn’t win six games all season?

It starts tonight. Tonight’s game is a fulcrum, a springboard for the rest of the season. Yes, there’s few things better than raining on yet another Cowboys home opener on Monday Night Football (just like in 2005), but it’ll mean more when you look at the bigger picture.

This one can shape the rest of this season. With the entire country watching, let’s see what happens.

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The Monday Night Massacre

I was 9 years old on November 12, 1990, when the Redskins lost 28-14 to the Eagles in one of the most gruesome losses in the team’s history, forever known as the “body bag game.” I still remember watching Jeff Rutledge and Stan Humphries carted off the field, along with seven other Redskins players. I remember seeing Brian Mitchell, a kick returner, having to play as the Redskins emergency quarterback, just so the Redskins could actually have SOMEONE line up under center.

If that game was “the body bag game,” I’m naming the heinous loss last night “the Monday Night Massacre.”

This is a loss that could, and should, go down among the worst losses in Redskins history. The Redskins weren’t embarrassingly bad or laughably bad, they were historically bad. Off the top of my head, in the past decade, here are the five worst Redskins losses (in chronological order):

– Steve Spurrier’s shutout loss to the Cowboys in ’03, when Tim Hasselbeck registered a whopping 0.0 passer rating
– the 52-7 loss to the Patriots in ’07
– The loss to the Bills after Sean Taylor’s passing (also in ’07, when Gibbs called the back-to-back icing the kicker timeouts)
– Jim Zorn’s 45-12 loss to the Giants in ’09 (forever known for the swinging gate incident).
– This game.

Irregardless of the few big plays and touchdowns the Redskins managed to muster up, the Redskins were beaten, abused, obliterated, and humiliated. I don’t think Manny Pacquiao beat Antonio Margarito last Saturday as badly as the Eagles beat the Redskins, and Margarito actually needed surgery after the fight.

By the time the second half began, there were more players and maintenance staff on the field than there were spectators in the seats of FedEx field. Even the Eagles fans were leaving the stadium at halftime; that’s how bad their team was beating down the opponent.

The Redskins allowed an unfathomable performance from the Eagles offense. In 142 previous road games, the Eagles scored 45 points (total) exactly one time. Yet the Eagles had 45 points at the HALF last night. Michael Vick, who looked like the player from Madden 2004 (where even the producers of the game admitted that they made him unrealistically good), had 304 combined yards and 5 TD’s at HALFTIME. He’s an amazing athlete for sure, but Vick has never been anywhere near this dominant at any point in his organized football career, even when he played at Virginia Tech (I would know, I watched every game of his Hokie career).

Defensive coordinator Jim Haslett should be absolutely tarred and feathered in the streets of Washington. The Redskins defense was skewered worse than a shish kabob. Any Redskins fan knows that the Eagles love to run screen and shovel passes time and time and time again when they play the Redskins (or any other opponent), and yet the Redskins defense is still completely taken by surprise when the Eagles run either play. ESPN’s Jon Gruden, sitting up in the press box, was accurately predicting the plays the Eagles would run, yet Haslett, who is supposed to do this for a living, was bamboozled by the Eagles playcalling.

And while I’m almost certainly in the minority on this, Offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan is spared some blame from last night’s disaster, because the personnel he’s supposed to operate with is beyond abysmal. Donovan McNabb, the newly christened $78 million dollar man, hasn’t played a good game since September. But in his defense, he has absolutely nothing to work with on offense. Keiland Williams is the shining definition of mediocrity (I don’t care how many yards or TD’s he had, they were mostly in garbage time anyway). Joey Galloway is the epitome of has-been, and yet he still gets plenty of snaps (for reasons that should defy each and every Redskins fan). Every single offensive lineman has regressed in their play as the season went on. Fred Davis continues to see more bench time than playing time, even though he may be one of the most talented players on the entire offense.

If the team continues to play this way, the Redskins honestly may not win a single game for the rest of the season. Their schedule over the next seven weeks is absolutely savage. They have two games left against the Giants, (who have soundly beaten the Redskins in each of their last four match-ups), a re-match against the Cowboys in Dallas (they looked like a completely different team yesterday), away games against the surprising, never-say die Buccaneers and Jaguars (who have been playing good football over the last few weeks), not to mention games against Tennessee (away) and Minnesota over the next two weeks.  If the Redskins went 0-7 over that stretch, especially after the way they played last night, absolutely nobody would or should be surprised.

But all of that still remains in the future. I’m honestly running out of adjectives to describe how pathetic and infuriating last night’s performance was. Redskins fans showed up in droves last night – FedEx field was as loud and raucous as any point in recent memory – and their team repaid them by being completely undressed on national television.

The Redskins added another chapter to the storied history of this team. Unfortunately, it’s one that we’d much rather forget and never think about again. Even with a different general manager, different head coach, and different quarterback, it’s the same old results.

As Yogi Berra once quipped: “It’s Deja Vu all over again”

This article was written for and cross-posted on RedskinsGab.com