The Sky Is Falling For 'Skins Fans
By Ed Sheahin
As Washington Redskins fans frantically watched the Green Bay Packers (1-1) jump to a 21-point lead early in the first half last Sunday — following a 19-point halftime deficit at home the prior week against the Eagles — the Redskins twitter feed reeked of panic. The sky is falling … the sky is falling!
Typically, you’ll always read a few doomsday tweets by fans who can never be satisfied even if the ‘Skins are victorious. But yesterday’s tweets by the majority of fans indicated sheer panic and surrender.
“Fire Shanahan”; “Bench RG3”; “Our defensive line sucks”; “Our DBs couldn’t cover a turtle”; “Haslett has no idea how to call a defensive game plan”; “The receivers can’t even catch a cold.” These were just some of the white-flag waving statements posted on twitter in the first quarter during the Packers romp.
Ironically, some of the same exact comments were uttered last November following a horrendous performance against the Carolina Panthers during the 2012 season. The Panthers loss resulted in a 3-6 record for the team and the end of the world for ‘Skins fans.
Of course, we all know the ‘Skins went on to win seven consecutive games and the NFC East title. All was well in the nation’s capital.
Expectations were high for 2013. Why not? The team has its franchise quarterback. They didn’t lose any key players to free agency. All while adding a load of young, hard-hitting defensive backs via the NFL Draft.
‘Skins fans have every right to be concerned after two hideous performances resulting in an 0-2 start — only 12 teams in the NFL have made the playoffs after starting the season with two defeats — don’t they?
Within minutes of the Packers taking a knee in the final seconds against the ‘Skins, the Cowboys (1-1) would lose to the Chiefs and the Eagles (1-1) lost at home to the Chargers. And a few short hours later, the Giants (0-2) were hammered at home by both Mannings — Eli’s four interceptions and Peyton’s 300-yards passing — and the Broncos.
Despite Washington’s lackluster start, they are only one game out of first place in a division where the winner may just finish 8-8. Don’t push the panic button yet ‘Skins fans. The NFL season is a marathon, not a sprint.
Help is on the way! The ‘Skins will host the Detroit Lions (1-1) next Sunday as they try to right the ship. Not an automatic win at first glance, but history tells us it doesn’t get any easier than the Lions visiting Washington, D.C. To say the ‘Skins own the Lions may be an understatement. With fourteen consecutive victories versus the Lions at home (19-1 lifetime record in DC), there are no guarantees in the NFL, but this one is close.
Following the Lions game, the ‘Skins will travel to Oakland (1-1) to play a young but emerging Raiders football team. Although the Raiders appear to have found their future quarterback in Terrelle Pryor, they have so many other pieces missing.
If the ‘Skins can somehow limp into the bye week at 2-2 in preparation for their meeting with the Cowboys on Sunday Night Football in Week 6, they’ll likely be playing for first place.
Like former Washington area sports talk radio host Ken Beatrice used to say, “If, ifs and buts were candy and nuts, oh what a party we’d have.”
The 2013 ‘Skins have shown very little to give their fans hope for the remainder of the season. Skepticism is understandable, but surrender is unacceptable.
Head coach Mike Shanahan and GM/Vice President Bruce Allen have had their hands tied from the start of the year. Hit with an $18 million salary cap penalty for the second consecutive season as result of owner lockout agreements ignored by the team, the ‘Skins could do very little in the free agent market to enhance the team with veteran players.
The team’s franchise quarterback, Robert Griffin lll, suffered a torn ACL and LCL in early January in a home playoff game against the Seattle Seahawks. An injury that takes mortal humans 10 months to a year to recover from, Griffin is back after seven months.
Although Griffin is back on the field, he may not perform at the high level ’Skins fans are accustomed to seeing. As of now, he is one dimensional. The threat of the read-option running attack is no longer part of his arsenal.
As Griffin learns to develop into a drop-back passer with each passing week, the team will welcome back two key players on the defensive side of the ball following the bye week. OLB Rob Jackson and DT Jarvis Jenkins will return for the Dallas game following four game suspensions for PEDs.
The return of Jackson and Jenkins will add depth to a defense struggling to keep the oppositions' offense off the field. The ‘Skins defense has yielded the second highest total amount of yards (1,023) in NFL history after the first two games. Folks, it can only get better!
So ‘Skins fans, slowly remove your finger from the panic button. Pull it back ever so slightly, but not all the way. Should they lose to Detroit at home, you may quickly reapply firmly and prepare for a long 2013 season.