Ahh, the late off-season. Every Redskin fan’s favorite part of the year. Smell the baseless optimism! Wallow in the unrealistic expectations! Look at that softball schedule, 11-5, minimum, we say!
Surely this will be the year…RG3 will spring forth from Dan Snyder’s forehead, in full uniform, a veritable QB god of intelligence and wisdom, well versed in playing from the pocket, as well as remaining uninjured when scrambling. Brandon Scherff will provide a long term solution at right tackle, and Trent Williams will be healthy and have a pro-bowl year at left. This glorious O-line will lead to a resurgence of the Hogs nickname and allow both the pass game and the run game to dominate! On the other side of the ball, the pass rush leads the league, and second year OLB Trent Murphy ends up making an Eastern Motors commercial with Trent Williams. Did I say 11-5? MINIMUM! We’re just getting started!
Dan Snyder will sue the company Snyder’s of Hanover over improper use of his name. In a surprise decision the court awards ownership of the Redskins to the snack food giant. The secondary, inspired by free pretzels in the locker room, really comes together in the second half of the season. Duke Ihenacho has a career season, leading to some sort of pretzel/nacho promotional food item that takes the US by storm.
Jay Gruden will turn into the second coming of Joe Gibbs (not like the actual second coming of Joe Gibbs, which we don’t talk about). All the mid-round draft picks turn out to be pure gold, which means the team has solved the draft and will be dominant for years to come. All opponents forfeit, and the Redskins are named Super Bowl champions for the next five years. To celebrate, Congress passes a law officially changing the definition of the word “Redskin” to refer only to the team, totally making it inoffensive to all. That’s how that works, right?
Ok. And now for the preview for anyone who lives outside the DC area and hasn’t drank the Chris Cooley-aid. (Full disclosure, I do own a Chris Cooley jersey, but I bought it when it was on clearance and I only wore it 3 times.) So, the people who are paid to have opinions on this sort of thing all agree that the Skins have had a good off-season. This is mainly due to hiring a GM to run the draft and generally spreading responsibility around a bit more in the front office. There haven’t really been any flashy roster moves, just some low key efforts to shore up areas of need. Not too hard to do on a 4-12 team. I could go into detail about promising draft picks (Jamison Crowder might turn out to be the first competent punt returner the Skins have had in a while, though there’s a shadow in the form of domestic abuse allegations) and improvements in the secondary, but those aren’t going to be the dominant factors in the team’s performance this year. The team’s record is going to come down to two things : coaching and RG3.
I’m not going to waste a lot of words on Jay Gruden. I don’t think he was prepared to work for Dan Snyder and that contributed a lot to last year’s shart of a season. As far as his overall viability as an NFL coach, who knows? I don’t think we’ll find out this year, or the next, if he lasts that long.
So the most interesting question. RG3. The Skins actually have a pretty decent collection of receivers, and Alfred Morris now heads up a pretty good set of RBs as well. However, receivers need someone to throw to them, and the running game is much more successful when defenders have to contend with the possibility of a QB rush. At this point, there are huge doubts about Griffin’s ability to get anything done, and many a hastily bought pair of super-hero knee socks has been shoved to the back of the dresser. These doubts are fair. Between injuries and politics, Mr. Bobbie G the Third might as well have been playing baseball these last two seasons. Clearly the best way to develop your young QB is to sit him at the end of the season, so he’ll be healthy in the off season, right? Franchise QB for the Skins is essentially a Faustian bargain. You get one good year, but you pledge your soul to Lil’ Danny Boy, and it’s all downhill from there. Just ask Jason Campbell.
I think RG3 will stay healthy this year, mostly through lack-luster play calling combined with the desire to play just well enough to get traded. There are a lot of losing teams in the first half of the schedule, but those teams are probably just as happy to be playing the Skins as the Skins are to be playing them. The first couple games will probably be close losses, with the team’s first win coming in an ugly Thursday division game against the Giants. A loss to the Eagles, then they’ll win 2 out of 3 going into their bye week. They’ll only pick up a couple more wins entering the harder part of their schedule. They’ve played weirdly well against the Bears in the past few years, so I’ll say they win that one (plus I plan on going to that game, and yelling a lot, that’ll probably help), and win against the Cowboys at home because I’ll pretend that happens no matter how that game actually turns out. Just say everyone who predicted an 11-5 season for the Skins is dyslexic and call it 5-11.
Really, the best thing the team has going for them this year is schedule related. Since the league started back-loading division games in 2009, either the Cowboys or whoever plays the Cowboys in week 17 has won the division. The Skins play the Cowboys in week 17 this season….So guess I just predicted that Dallas wins the NFC East this year. Damn. I’m gonna go mix together some Burgundy and Goldschlager and pretend that color themed drinking will somehow improve the team’s chances.
An expert at time travel*, Doktor Zymm also has the ability to move objects with her mind** and can breath underwater***.
*Forward only, at a preset rate
**Via her hands, usually
***When the water is contained in a glass