I have a confession to make.
Sometimes, I hate watching the Washington Redskins play football. But it’s only because I care about them so much. Probably too much, since I’m in an honest mood. The background on my Macbook Pro is an action shot of Robert Griffin III, along with the 2013 schedule. I have a whole Twitter list of Redskins players, reporters, fans, etc., set as my home page. During games, I pace around the room, yell at the television screen, feel butterflies in my stomach, jump for joy, and generally just act like my life depends on the outcome of the events I’m watching unfold. My whole demeanor and headspace brightens when the team wins; when they don’t, it’s best to avoid me for at least a few hours, if not the rest of the day.
Which is why, at least thus far in 2013, the last three Sundays (well, two Sundays and a Monday) have been three three worst days of the month. Watching the ‘Skins struggle as badly as they have early on has been tough, and I don’t have it in me to write (or read) yet another article exclaiming Washington dead in the water.
So this one is going to focus on the positives, of which, there are . . . well, few, but still probably more than you think (a.k.a. more than zero).
RGIII steadily getting better
Was he perfect? No. Not even close. His interception in the second quarter was brutal (although further examination of the play shows that it may have been mostly Pierre Garcon’s fault). He fumbled away a golden opportunity when the team was driving for the lead. But Griffin also threw for 326 yards and generally looked much more confident in his footwork and his decision-making. He appeared to have a little more quickness in him as well, although he lacked the exact electricity that make him the most exciting player in football last season.
It’s easy to pin the loss on Griffin, but if Aldrick Robinson doesn’t drop a 57-yard TD bomb, and the defense actually decides to wrap-up a ballcarrier once in a while, the ‘Skins win the game. The important thing to remember is this, folks: Griffin is getting there. He’s not there yet, no, but he will be. And soon. Go back and watch the first half of the Philly game (actually, no, don’t do that. Never do that ever again). He has improved immeasurably since then, in a short span of time, and will continue to do so until he (and the team) are back on their A-game.
The running game is proving to still be a threat . . .
. . . when given an opportunity. The Redskins ran the ball 22 times against Detroit on Sunday, and averaged 5.5 yards per carry as a team. That’s actually competent! The problem is that they decided to throw the ball 50 times, the exact opposite formula that won them 8 games in a row, and a division title, in 2012. I’m not sure what’s going on with the play-calling, but it’s nice to know that when the Redskins get back to running the ball (and they will; this is a Mike Shanahan-coached team, don’t forget), Alfred Morris and Griffin are capable of carrying the team on their backs like we’ve seen in the past.
The front seven recovered from a bad week 2
After playing abysmally against Green Bay, the defensive front seven held the Lions to only 62 yards rushing and 3.2 YPC. London Fletcher recorded another sack, and was given some much-needed respite by Nick Barnett, who performed admirably in his first real game action of the season. Ryan Kerrigan and Brian Orakpo continued their stellar campaigns with solid games each, and Barry Cofield was a disruptive force in his first game with a cast on his hand, dominating the Lions’ interior lineman and getting consistent pressure on Matthew Stafford all game. Unfortunately, the Redskins secondary, uh, didn’t perform up to par. That’s the most positive thing I can say about them, so let’s move right along to the biggest positive I took away from week 3.
The Redskins could, potentially, be playing for first place in the NFC East in week 6. No, seriously. Stop laughing.
Alright, bear with me here. This DC Sports Bog column pretty much says it all, but take a look at the following games:
– Washington at Oakland
– Dallas at San Diego
– Philadelphia at Denver
– NY Giants at Kansas City
If the ‘Skins beat Oakland to move to 1-3 (admittedly not a sure thing at all), I would venture to guess that each of the three remaining NFC East teams lose next week. The Chargers are much improved under HC Mike McCoy, Denver is, well, Denver, and Kansas City has a legitimate shutdown defense taking on a team that was just held off the scoresheet by Carolina. Yeah, it’s definitely possible, maybe even likely, that the ‘Boys, Eagles, and Giants all lose, which would take their respective records to 2-2, 1-3, and 0-4.
And then take a gander at the week 5 slate . . .
– Washington – Bye
– Dallas vs. Denver
– Philadelphia at NY Giants
One would assume Dallas will fall at the hands of Peyton Manning and the Broncos. The other matchup could go either way, but if the Giants were to win, the week 6 matchup between Washington and Dallas would be for first place.
It’s also entirely possible that all 3 teams win next week, and this all becomes a moot point. But this was supposed to be an optimistic piece, and really, it’s not that crazy of a notion.
At the very least, it beats thinking about the previous three weeks, right?