These are the three things the Washington Redskins do well. And all of them are counter-productive to delivering winning football, on a sustained basis.
The hype comes in the off-season, with big free-agent signings and wild swings and misses on QB’s or coaches.
The nostalgia gets layered on all the time now, because it’s all the team has left to sell.
And the excuses never end. “Salary cap penalty! Mike Shanahan’s fault! Injuries!”
This is why the metrics on 21 years of futility are as staggering as they are.
Two playoff wins in 21 years. Two division titles.
0 seasons of 11 wins or more.
Dead fucking last in the division now for 6 of the past 7 years – in a four-team division format that got Spurrier to once cackle: “How hard can it be? You only have to beat 3 teams!”
Only two teams in the conference have not even visited the NFC Championship game since the Skins did last in 1991. The Redskins, and the Lions.
The 8 coaches and 16 starting QB’s in 16 years under Dan Snyder’s ownership speaks for itself. A new coach every other year, a new QB every September.
This year, the Redskins were outscored by 137 points. And that marked an IMPROVEMENT from last year’s franchise record -144.
The 1,130 penalty yards committed by the Redskins was also a team record, breaking a mark set in 1948 when I think “Spitting On The Field” was 10 yards and loss of down.
Team “captain” Trent Williams accumulated a fistful of needless personal fouls, making one wonder what the job requirements are for that position.
There never seemed to be ANY consequences for poor play, or destructive selfishness. Ryan Clark was routinely beaten for game-changing TD’s – yet was never benched. Any other player who did NOT have a warm seat at ESPN waiting for him after the season would have been cut, not just benched. Like Baccari Rambo, who popped up for Buffalo later in the season and picked off Aaron Rodgers twice in a game.
Veteran Santana Moss – who was kept on the roster for seemingly sentimental reasons only, as he was inactive for the first two months of the year – acted like a spoiled child on the floor of the grocery store begging for candy after RG3’s TD run against the Giants was overturned. The penalty resulted in an ejection, plus a cost-free on-sides kick attempt that was recovered and redeemed for 3 easy points.
In a sane world run by focused and no-nonsense football men, that would’ve been Moss’ last official act as a Redskin. Instead, Moss played and was targeted repeatedly at home in the finale against the Cowboys, with the game well out of reach. Why?
There was also no end of things that the head coach seemed to be completely unaware of, all happening right under his nose. Whether it was reports of excessive jocularity in the locker-room following a loss, the infamous RG3 interview that got shouted out into the hallway, or the fact Moss had been ejected from that Giants game – all news to Jay Gruden.
The coach also decided that 1st and goal at the four, was better than 2nd and goal at the 2, even though there were only :17 left in the half.
Somebody get him a laminated card or something.
Special teams were as hilariously bad as last year, despite a new coach and several free agent purchases that were SPECIFICALLY labelled as “FOR SPECIAL TEAMS USE ONLY!”
Opponents filled up the bingo card with big plays:
Punt Return TD – Check
Kick Return TD – Check
Blocked Punt TD – Check
Blocked XP – Check
Onsides Kick Recovery – Check, check
Fake Extra Point – Check
And did our special teams respond with anything similar, ever? No. Just a feeble fake punt that was foiled, late in the lost season.
The QB’s they beat this year were Chad Henne, Charlie Whitehurst, Brandon Weeden + a crippled-back Tony Romo, and Mark Sanchez.
They were eviscerated by any good QB.
Romo (healthy) and Andrew Luck grilled 40-burgers on them, as did Eli Manning, even before the phenom known as OBJ was unleashed.
Russell Wilson toyed with them so mercilessly, it prompted Ryan Clark to declare him: “The best player in football.” (Sorry, but he’s not). That was the “It Was Never In Doubt” 27-17 Seahawk win at FedEx where Percy Harvin had THREE touchdowns called back by penalty. It shoulda been another 40-burger.
Any decent QB’s they faced (Kaepernick, Palmer) looked fantastic. The pedestrian QB’s they faced looked good (Fitzpatrick, Bridgewater) and then amazingly two scrubs in Josh McCown and Shaun Hill posted 27-7 and 24-0 wins respectively against them – at home.
And the junk drawer of QB’s on their OWN roster doesn’t even bear mentioning in this column does it, since we’ve all beaten it to death? (My preference at this point: Keep Cousins and start over).
So what’s the formula? What’s the fix?
There is no fix, and I wish I had a “formula” for turning this around. I don’t. All I know is that doing more of the three things I listed to start this column is the absolute wrong way to go.
Stop making ANY roster moves that have even a “whiff” of marketing attached to them. Severely limit the tired and (frankly) embarrassing “tradition” bullshit about what this franchise used to be back in the 80’s, since it only clouds the team’s judgement about how bad they currently are now.
And for god’s sake, STOP MAKING EXCUSES.
You suck. Own it.
Show me you truly understand this, before I dare to expect anything different in the future.