Hype, Nostalgia and Excuses

14
76

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.

14 COMMENTS

  1. Love the article, and love your radio shows.

    Unfortunately, as long as fans keep buying Redskins memorabilia, season ticket holders continue to pay for seat at the asking price (even if they don’t show up), and luxury box rents keep coming in, there is no reason why Snyder would do anything different.

    Much like Nike became a company that is purely about marketing rather than a company that makes shoes, the Redskins organization has become a ball club that is purely about marketing rather than a ball club that plays football.

    This is so sad given the fact that Jerry Jones and the Cowboys, while being a marketing machine, was still able to churn out better football results than Daniel Snyder.

    Fans have to vote with their wallet. Nothing speaks louder than MONEY, especially to Dan $nyder.

  2. As a Bills fan, I can only sit back and watch as the current management is running the team into the ditch. I’ve seen this before. Bad GM, bad coaches. Signings meant to drive ticket sales. Lack of leadership on the field and in the front office.

    The good news. It will end, unless you are the Browns. A couple of good drafts and an entire new QB platoon. Danny needs to stop meddling. Hire a good coach who is not marquee. Get out of the Gruden business now, he is God-awful.

    Put in the party deck to keep the illusion of a waiting list alive through the elimination of thousands of seats. Stop giving away club seats. Lower the price, but don’t give them away.

    And put the hammer down on stupid players doing stupid things.

  3. hey czabe
    great piece. well articulated…have to correct you on bridgewater though. he is way better than ‘pedestrian’. this year he posted a PFF completion percent under pressure of 75.4%, best in the NFL and highest in the league (for any QB, not just rookies) since 2000.

  4. Great article, Zcabe

    Unfortunately, as long as fans keep buying Redskins memorabilia, season ticket holders continue to pay for seat at the asking price (even if they don’t show up), and luxury box rents keep coming in, there is no reason why Snyder would do anything different.

    Much like Nike became a company that is purely about marketing rather than a company that makes shoes, the Redskins organization has become a ball club that is purely about marketing rather than a ball club that plays football.

    This is so sad given the fact that Jerry Jones and the Cowboys, while being a marketing machine, was still able to churn out better football results than Daniel Snyder.

    Fans have to vote with their wallet. Nothing speaks louder than MONEY, especially to Dan $nyder.

  5. I have to disagree about one thing Colin Kaepernick looked terrible against us in the 49ers game
    he looked good compared to RG3 who was really was struggling in that time.

  6. So brutally honest that by Kool Aid drinkers it will be labeled as hate. The drinkers will also say that you have no knowledge of football and too much free time on your hands. The few of us that have walked away form the Kool Aid appreciate an article like this and wish we had written it ourselves. Must be a McLean thing.

  7. Right on Czabe! The team has been nothing more than a huge marketing effort the last couple of decades. Deion Sanders, Bruce Smith, Dana Stubblefield, and my favorite – Big Al Haynesworth. All you have to do is to go to a game and sit at FedEx in the middle of this big giant commercial where every once in a while, some guys do something with a football.
    Let’s get serious next year! Serious coaches who demand excellence and refuse to tolerate poor performance. Serious players who want to overachieve for the sake of the team. A player personnel specialist who knows how to pick players who are ballers, not marketing tools.
    Sonny Jurgenson once said that when a player made a bonehead mistake on the field or drew a stupid penalty, that Vince Lombardi would send the player to the bench. We need that kind of no BS attitude!
    I’ve been a diehard fan for 54 year, and at this point, I can only say with sadness the only thing needed to make this circus complete is a calliope.

  8. Hand out t-shirts with the phrase “We are Jacksonville” in big bold letters, and make it a mandatory daily uniform item for all employees until the team goes 8-8.

  9. The laundry list is long but here’s just one good place to start: get rid of the chronic arguers/fighters who occasionally turn that nonsense into momentum-crushing personal fouls. Moss and Hall are the worst of them. Good riddance. You don’t see much of it on championship teams. Think Belechick would stand for it? Even the yapping, aggresive Seahawks don’t hurt themselves with that kind of immature stupidity.

  10. Steve-

    You very accurately laid out the abysmal state of the Washington Redskins. But then finish up with: “There is no fix, and I wish I had a “formula” for turning this around.” Well, Christ, Steve. What’s the point, then, of reading your blog or listening to your show? You just admitted to being as clueless as the fan-boy midget who is responsible for creating this mess, and turning the only sports franchise we love into a hopeless embarrassment.

    It’s not that fucking complicated. You hire the best, most qualified, energetic, hungry and brilliant leader irrespective of.likability, and allow him to build the best foundation in the NFL. And you leave him alone (short of the leader’s incapacitation or death) and simply write the checks for the next decade and a half. That’s what the best franchises in pro football do: New England, Pittsburgh, Seattle, Green Bay and Baltimore. That’s what JKC did when he hired Bobby Beathard.

    I’m your age, and my family and I are third-generation season ticket holders. My family has been fans of the team much longer than either Snyder or Allen. And, frankly, I’m tired of this bullshit and ready to check out as a fan and do the once unimaginable thing and cancel our season tickets because things will never change short of ownership seeing the light. But it’s now been 16 years, and he has yet to do the one thing that nearly guarantees success: hire the best personnel man on the planet money can buy and leave him the hell alone.

    How could someone who claims to be a lifelong, die hard fan of the team not recognize the instrumental role that Beathard played in building one of the great, successful dynasties in North American pro sports history? So, the guy is either not really a fan or just not smart. There are plenty of dumb rich people. Or perhaps more egregious- he simply likes to do the fan boy, jock-sniffing thing hanging out with Tom Cruise and Matthew McConaughey because he was an unathletic dork as a kid. Either way, we’re fucked.

    The fans in the section where we sit are a close bunch. We get to know their parents, kids and grandkids. And there are so many fans in my section of the stadium that feel the same way and are tired of subsidizing the owner’s therapy sessions- getting to play cool guy because he was probably an undersized nerd for much of his life.

    Lastly, it’s interesting that your afternoon radio show co-host recently started referring to Griffin as all that is wrong with the Redskins. Although there may be some degree of truth to that, what a hypocrite. Your co-host is one of the first players with whom the owner had a special fan-boy relationship and continues to do so. Griffin, Portis, Cooley, Sonny, Allen etc., etc. are all symptoms of the problem: the owner.

    Farewell, Redskins. It was a great run. You were family to me and my family for several generations.

  11. until danny boy lets go of the puppet strings for this traveling circus you guys will have a lifetime of futility ahead of you.
    i never realized the depth of how bad the skins have been in 20 years.
    you guys make the raiders look competent.
    that spurrier quote is awesome!!
    salma all day long.

  12. I am a lifelong Redskins fan, since 1983. I have grown increasingly tired of the Snyder led Redskins. Until Snyder decides that winning is more important than marketing the Skins will forever be mired in mediocrity & suckitude. Skins have a great fanbase as evidenced by the continuing rise in value of the franchise despite the losing & dysfunction. Snyder has built an environment at Redskins Park that is toxic, drama filled & not conducive to winning. Winning on the field is not priority one. At what point do fans begin to look elsewhere for their football fix? I love my Skins. I watch every game via Sunday Ticket. It has become a one way beaten down relationship. Perhaps as Redskins fans we need to send a strong message to Snyder & turn our love of football focus some place else. Czabe, I know as a kid you followed the Chargers. I like the Bears. If the fanbase leaves Dan, will Dan listen? Drastic measures need to be taken. I dont think Skins ownership has a pulse on the fanbase. Snyder & Allen are dillusional. Skins fans are angry. Time to make our voices heard

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here