Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The mess that is the Washington Redskins (or business as usual)...

Growing up in Indiana, I was always indifferent about the Redskins. The Colts and the AFC were of primary interest, while the NFC... not so much. Sure, I'd watch their great rivalry with Dallas and I enjoyed it. Those were always compelling games. And I watched their two Super Bowl wins in the 80's, as well as their third in the early 90's. Throughout all of that, I found that I remained completely disinterested in them. I neither liked nor disliked them.

Then in the late 90's, I moved east to the greater Washington D.C. area. In short time, a hatred was born. We did not have DirecTV and therefore no Sunday Ticket. And so we were subjected to the Redskins every Sunday, a particularly painful prospect when the local market blackout of other games applied. They were terrible that first year I lived there. It was 1998, and they finished a fortunate 6-10.

The games were brutal, but it wasn't the terrible play that turned me against them... after all I'm a Colts fan and I remember how terrible they had been throughout the 80's and much of the 90's. No, it was the local media. They were insufferable. With each loss, they'd bemoan the end of days... truly this must be Armageddon! And with each win, they'd breathlessly gush about playoffs, even if there remained only distant mathematical chances by week 10.

"Surely this team has turned the corner this very week! They just may win out, and get some help!"

Alas, the following week, back to doom and gloom. And so, my list of enemies grew.

Along comes Daniel Snyder in 1999, buying the team with what was then an obscene purchase price of $800 million.

Napolean? No, it's Danny Boy!

That same year, they turned it around and won the NFC East. The glory of the old franchise was restored. He brought immediate buzz (which of course brought the previously unbearable media coverage to a new level of hell that only Dante, Hitler, and perhaps Belichick knew existed.) In 2000, he courts Deion Sanders and a great host of big name, big money busts. Irving Fryar didn't know how prophetic he was:

"We're definitely the "Who's Who' of the NFL now," receiver Irving Fryar said after a morning practice. "We've got a lot of great names who carry a lot of great talent with them. Yeah, on paper, we're the team."

They were the pre-season pick for the Super Bowl, but Brad Johnson was hurt in the second half of the season. They struggled to 7-6, fired Norv Turner, promptly lost their last two games and missed the playoffs.

This is hell...

Along comes Marty Schottenheimer, who takes them to 8-8... and is promptly canned.

I deserved more!!!

Why not add more flux to the franchise? Let's bring in Steve Spurrier... the 'ol ball coach. Spurrier plays his starters longer in the preseaon, runs more complex plays than the typical "show nothing" vanilla you typically see, and runs up the score. Good times. The media suggests this could be a breath of fresh air to the NFL, after all he's an offensive genius. Then the real season starts. The genius takes them to an "offensive" 7-9.

Pure Genius!

How can Snyder restore the Redskins to greatness? Why look back to the glory days, of course! It's working for Al Davis and the Raiders, right? Let's bring back Joe Gibbs. He's a god to Redskins fans. Now, I won't pile on Joe Gibbs. I find him a class act. However, he should have known better to work under a meddling owner. Sadly, for them, he was also a bust.

I miss NASCAR!

And so here we are... looking for a new coach. Synder is keen to get this franchise pointed in the right direction. This is a terrific opportunity to meddle. The team finished strong, was 9-7 overall, and seemed to have really come together in the wake of the tragic slaying of Sean Taylor. Of course there will be some transition after Gibbs goes, but Synder takes this to the extreme.

The natural play would have been to turn it over to Greg Williams, but Snyder botches that hire. We also hear that Pete Carroll had interviewed. Does Snyder not remember the Spurrier Experiment? Jim Mora was a candidate before withdrawing his name. Tennessee Titans defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz is a candidate. Jim Fassel interviews twice and is still a candidate. Ron Meeks is coming back for a second interview. Steve Spagnuolo is oft-mentioned as a likely interview. And perhaps Josh McDaniels, the wunderkind of the Patriots, might be a possibility. And for good measure, let's hype a rumor about Bill Cowher being the next head coach.

These would all be fine hires, but for this problem. Snyder has proceed to hire assistant coaches already. Already waiting are newly-hired offensive coordinatior Jim Zorn, newly-hired defensive line coach Larry Brooks, and Greg Blache who was promoted to defensive coordinator. Snyder has effectively handcuffed whatever candidate he hires to work with a staff they've had no voice in hiring. How successful can you be in that situation? Ron Meeks, pass on this. Josh McDaniels, stay with the Patriots and wait for a better opportunity. Follow the lead of Jason Garrett. Your time is not now... not here anyway.

I found this on the Redskins home page. Where are the choices for Owner and Coach?

I feel for Redskins fans. It must be brutal to see the ship sinking and knowing you can't avoid being pulled down with it. And yet, it gives me great glee to see it happen. I'm sorry... but, as always, blame the media!

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