Fool's Gold, Gold, or a Load?

I don’t know if they’re good guys or bad guys, because they won’t take off their masks. It’s almost half way through the season, and there are no distinguishable characteristics about this team. There are some individuals distinguishing themselves, but collectively they are somewhat featureless.
I hear everybody talk about how much better the team is this year than last, and I’m not denying that’s so; however, if you want to do a true litmus test, forget last year and take a look at 2008. Last year was an abomination, precipitated by maniacal forces, but ’08 is a truer test, because it was Zorn’s first  year and the withering influence of his boss had not been applied.
If I recall, Clinton Portis was an MVP candidate midway through the season, and the defense was crushing everybody they faced up until the half way point. And, in fact, most people thought Jim Zorn was going to be the next Joe Gibbs, based on who and how they played. 
It started with a humiliating loss in NY, then came the unlikely victory over the Saints, and everybody thought the bomb to Moss had finally ignited the dormant Jason Campbell.  A squeaky win over Arizona set the stage for what everyone thought would be a tough loss in Dallas. But, instead Washington dominated, as Portis ran for 121 yards. Philly was next, and after they jumped to an early lead it was all Washington as they won 23 to 17, and again it was Portis for 145 yards.  They had dominated the Eagles, too. St. Louis came to town and walked away with a victory that went down to the wire. They beat Cleveland in a game they could have lost and the same was true for Detroit.
Detroit is next week, game number eight same as two years ago, and when I think about the 2008 season, it seems it was eerily similar to what we’ve witnessed so far this season. This season has the same feel with the close calls and down to the gun endings. And, there’s the inconsistent quarterback play, and an offense that can’t score. Actually, in the early part of the ’08 season, unlike now, the team seemed to have an identity; it was Portis and a hard nosed defense. And until they got to the back half of the schedule, it was “Zippity do dah, Zippity aye, My oh my what a wonderful day.”
The main difference between these two teams is the coaching. In ’08 it was a promising rookie that was upbeat and talkative, but not a recognizable brand. Now you have a  taciturn big brand coach who for whatever reason had gone stale in Denver and was terminated.
Are we dealing with iron pyrite or fool’s gold, or are we looking at a Sutter’s Creek in 1849. It would probably be a good idea to let this team be assayed before anyone goes yelling that the Burgundy and Gold have hit a rich vein of ore. It could be the Mother Lode, of course, it could be Another Load.


  1. I think we've turned the corner Riggo. For me that day came, not when Shanahan was hired, but the day Cerrato was let go. Championships, I believe, are largely won in the front office. Cerrato was a really good NFL scout, but a terrible GM. Teamed up with "boy wonder," it was a disaster.

    Bruce Allen and Shanahan now seem to have pretty good control of what is needed to reach the next level, and Danny boy seems to be keeping his hand out of the cookie jar. I like that combination. It's good for every Redskins fan.

    Hey, how 'bout that Steelers "touchdown?" lol.....Did you know that the ref, Gene Steratore, grew up and lives in the Pittsburgh area? How does the NFL let that happen?


    The Dolphins clearly won that game.

    Steve in Frederick

  2. I think the upcoming game against Detroit will define our season. If we win, we should be able to take that momentum into the second half, and hopefully, with minimal injuries, make a strong run for the playoffs. However, like 2008, we face a team with a really poor record, but is scoring a lot of points. A loss here will be totally demoralizing and will likely lead to a spiral downward. WATCH OUT FOR DETROIT BOYS!

  3. I disagree with the bit in the above comment that Cerrato was a good scout. He knew nothing about talent. He was even worse at running a team. He was just a yes man to Danny Snyder who was one of these fantasy football nerds who think that means you know football. Its not the same thing. I DO, however, agree that we turned the corner when Cerrato was fired, Danny stepped back, hired a GM and Shanahan. Already the differences are apparent. Special teams are much improved. The roster is getting full of guys who want to win, and earn their jobs. Armstrong is the biggest example of that. As to Riggo's point about the "down to the gun:" games... Was it not true that during Gibb's first run to the Superbowl that the "real" MVP of the team was Mark Mosely, because that season was ful of nailbiters too. He won many games with clutch kicking. Our offensive and defensive units are playing better, and they are STILL learning their systems, This team is on its way back, but there is more work to do. At least they have heart, and fight. Something they have lacked, or in one word.. PRIDE. I guess that is what happens when you let PROFESSIONALS run things.

  4. Good thoughts there Riggo as always. Your football insight and analysis are always right on the money. Enjoyed you and Dexter yesterday on Comcast after the game. As a major Skins fan, my take is (1) they are winning a lot of close games they used to lose, (2) they seem to have found a true leader in McNabb, (3) the coach is imposing discipline on a team that really needed it, and (4) anything is better than Snyder and Cerrato calling the shots. Go Skins!!

  5. Team reminds me a lot of 2005 and 2007. And of 2004 and 2006 and 2008. They are competetive. Not cellar dwellars. Not dominant.

    It is what it is. We need to play smart ball and do what it takes to win. Steal a few games. Etc.

    We don't have the talent to dictate playing a certain style of play to establish a trend (for instance pushing the run or the pass, to get consistent at it). Same is true on defense.

    My bigger concern is defense as I feel we could have an improved defense with a more traditional scheme. But we are still keeping it together.

  6. 1:37PM.....

    I think you misunderstood, or perhaps I didn't state my case correctly,

    I didn't mean to imply that Cerrato was a good scout for the Redskins. I believe that is the way you took it. But that would be his level of competency, in my humble opinion. I don't think there is any argument that he could do basic talent evaluations. But run a team's front office? No way.

    At least we agree on my major point, that the tide turned when Cerrato was fired and Allen came in.

    Steve in Frederick

  7. You're probably right about everything you say, but at least they are fighters and that's a characteristic I want from my team. If that keep that attitude when they have better talent; watch out!