After that turkey the Washington Redskins threw up (no pun intended) in Toronto, I just needed a day. And so did you. You can read recaps of the shutout loss to the Buffalo Bills in The Post, or The Times or on CSNWashington. Here are a few Hog Heaven side notes:
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: The Tashard Choice "solution" means that Evan Royster and Ryan Torain are not; 'Skins fans give up too easily; if the Bills can win, so can the Redskins; 'John Beck's Tebow moment; Skins fans may not remember it, but we've seen Fred Jackson before; didn't like it then, either; team owners and coaches should read more blogs.
The Redskins signed Dallas Cowboys cast off running back Tashard Choice yesterday. I do not like the implications of what that means. Joe Gibbs gave up draft picks for T.J. Duckett a few years ago, as an "insurance policy" after Clinton Portis was lost for the season. It was a useless transaction. Gibbs hardly ever used Ducket, who last no more than the season. The Draft picks he gave up were not available to restock the team.
The Redskins had no idea what they had in Ladell Betts whose 1,154 yards that season led some fans to speculate that Washington did not need Portis. Silly Redskins fans.
Choice, who is nursing shoulder and hamstring injuries, could hardly be an insurance policy to backfill for Tim Hightower, now in Injured Reserve. ESPN is reported that the Cowboys would have placed Choice on the Injured Reserve list if he cleared waivers.
The Redskins added several players to the roster since Hightower's injury, none of them are named Evan Royster. Washington can develop Royster who can practice with the active roster as a practice squad member. I want to know what it is about Royster that keeps them from promotion to the real team?
It doesn't say much for you when your coaches sign a guy who is a banana peel away from the IR list rather than give you a promotion. Royster gets the Marcus Mason Award for the local boy who can't make good with the home team.
Bad as that is for Royster, I think it is worse for Ryan Torain. Something about the Choice signing smacks of no confidence in Torain. I just cannot put my finger on why. It's a gut feeling.
The race for the NFC East is week to week. Teams that are down for a two or three week period are up for the next and vice versa, as Redskins fans well know. I get the frustration 'Skins fans feel after the poor performance against Buffalo, but not the "season over" mentality. It is how losers think. The champion of the Beast could win as few as nine games, maybe even eight. The Redskins have nine games to find five or six more wins. That is the only attitude that everyone, even fans, should bring to the table.
Does that sound daunting? Look no further than last Sunday's opponent Buffalo Bills who finished 4-12 last season. Except for running back Fred Jackson, the Bills are no more talented than the Redskins are. Ryan Fitzpatrick profiled as a Rex Grossman talent at the start of the season. Ex-Redskin Chad Rinehart starts on the Bills O-line. The Bills defense ranks 28th in the league under ex-Redskins defensive coordinator George Edwards whose 2003 Washington defensive unit ranked 25th. Is Chan Gailey that much better at coaching than Mike Shanahan? No.
Winning titles are not just about hiring stars. It is also about gathering strength to overcoming adversity. It's football. It's sports. There are always injuries, adversity, and uneven play within the season, sometimes within games. The Redskins overcame the Sean Taylor tragedy to achieve the playoffs in 2007.
Maybe Redskins fans give up so easily on the team because they buy in so quickly on the Redskins as contenders after a few early wins. Optimism is one thing. Expectations of a franchise that averages sevens a season since 1993 is something else. Perspective, people!
Most of the media and close observers of the Redskins projected six or seven wins and a division third or fourth-place finish for the team. Nothing has happened that changed that. Lets see if the front office put the right players and coaches in place to make something of the season and cheer if they do. The season ain't over until the fat lady quits.
Shanahan dipped in Buffalo sauce
Buffalo fans saw Mick Shanahan's interview for the Bills head coach vacancy as a charade. Team owner Ralph Wilson may not feel that way, but fans took particular delight in the Bills dealing shanahan the first shutout of his career.
It's your moment, John Beck. Don't Tebow it.
Losses to the Eagles and Bills have silenced the silly notion that John Beck was the next Tom Brady waiting for his shot. That was never, ever true. If Beck, or Todd Collins or Tashard Choice were starter-caliber players, they would have started before joing the Redskins. (See Fletcher, London)
That doesn't mean that Beck and Choice cannot be useful role players. Beck has to do better in his last shot as a NFL starter. I don't have a coach's cam, but nine sacks in one game is not just an offensive line issue. Half of that has to be on Beck. He has to be better at feeling defensive pressure to get rid of the ball. (See this excellent breakdown on Hogs Haven.)
The world laughed at the notion of Beck starting for the Redskins and clammered for Tebow start for Denver. How did they do last Sunday?
|Beck vs Bills||60.6||208||6.3||0||2||53.6||9|
|Tebow vs Lions||46.2||172||4.4||1||1||56.8||7|
It took me awhile to figure out that my disdain for Tebow was not about the player. It's about Tebow's backers and their sense that he is God's gift to football. Tebow must start, they think, because his social conservative beliefs make him more worthy than John Beck and the many other deeply devout, sincere, God-fearing players in the NFL. Every Tebow win is a victory for their point of view. (I mean for these comments to apply to non-Broncos Tebow followers.)
That same crowd may have a problem with Beck's Mormonism. They have a suspected antipathy to Mormon leaders sitting in Washington because that crowd makes judgements on what a person is rather than what they can do. Athletics is all about what person can do, not what they are. The two ideas clash. Derision for Beck and adulation for Tebow annoyed me.
Beck and Tebow have the same issue; Both are trying to stake their claim with suspect talent. God help them. Since I'm a Redskins fan, may He help Beck a little more.
We meet again, Fred Jackson
Speaking of the '07 season, Joe Pinzone of the Buffalo Wins blog reminded me that Redskins fans were the first to see Fred Jackson in action. Jackson made his first NFL start replacing Marshawn Lynch that November night at FedEx Field.
The defense lined up in the "missing man" formation against the Bills opening possession. Jackson ripped a 22-yard run on that play. Buffalo would later punt, but Jackson's performance propelled the Bills to a 17-16 win. At least the 'Skins scored 16 points on the Bills that night. (Snarky sarcasm)
Redskins' lore has it that the move cost Gregg Williams a shot at head coach when Joe Gibbs abruptly resigned at the end of the season. Daniel Snyder supposedly was incensed that Williams, who cooked the scheme up, hadn't bothered to inform Gibbs, who had no clue about it.
Bills coach Dick Jauron said he wasn't aware that Washington had 10 men on the field until afterwards. News accounts in The Post and pre-games questions I was asked about it by blogging colleague Dan Benton suggests that players on both teams knew it was going to happen. (I thought the idea was preposterous and said so to Benton. Meh.)
People who need to read blogs probably do not
The incident just shows the value of blogs to team owners and head coaches. Neither will take advantage of it. That was a thought that Riggs Rag blogger Frederick Brown (no relation) and I shared on Twitter during the Bills game.
If the Redskins chiefs, or you, want to know the "must follow" Redskins blogs, check our blogroll.