Barring major injuries to their starters, the Washington Redskins are on the verge of surprising their critics. They may not silence them, but they should surprise them. Even with a significant injury to one or two starters, they could still defy the pundits. How can that be, you ask? Is this just the wistful musings of a homee?
To be sure, I am a die-hard fan. I’ve had season tickets for 5 years, and have been a fan since the doctor who delivered me slapped me on the butt and I said ‘I hate Dallas’. But guess what? There’s logic behind my assertion. I can actually tell you how it can be that the Redskins will make it to the playoffs and even win a playoff game, when the mainstream press has pegged them as cellar dwellers in the tough NFC East.
I can, but I won’t. True believers don’t need logic. They just need hope and maybe a little early season affirmation. Those who wait for sufficient empirical evidence probably won’t jump on the bandwagon until mid-season anyway. They’ll lean, they’ll take steps toward the bandwagon, and they’ll get up on their toes as the bandwagon pulls near. But, they won’t let themselves jump due to fear of being oh so disappointed. And, like Zorn with the red flag in his back pocket, they’ll keep their “I knew it!” exclaimers handy for the first sign of a misstep by the Skins after they do jump on the wagon. Come to think of it, for those tortured souls, I will present my reasons.
The offensive line is slowly coming together. It isn’t there yet, but it is gradually getting there. The run blocking actually needs to catch up with the pass blocking, which is surprising but is probably a better problem to have than the other way around. The latter is tougher to fix, and a West Coast offense can always use short passes in place of runs as the Eagles have done for years.
Jason Campbell is getting there too. Step by step, he’s getting his timing with the receivers down. And, what a group of receivers this will be. It could very well be the deepest and most talented Redskins group since Art Monk, Gary Clark, and Ricky Sanders. Wouldn’t that be heaven on earth?
The defense isn’t as tight as it needs to be yet, but the parts are clearly there. So is the depth. Quarterbacks will often find themselves running around. Only the very best with the quickest releases are likely to hit their marks with enough consistency to force the Redskins to score more than 19 points in a game.
Hunter Smith – can he punt or what? This guy’s leg is still strong; that’s obvious. Look for 40-yard net averages or better when he isn’t kicking coffin corners. We’re talkin’ field position folks.
I saved my best for last – it’s the first game of the season. Sure, the Giants will be tough at home. But, they haven’t found their rhythm yet either. Several of their second-tier defensive linemen have barely gotten on the field due to injuries. Their receiving corps has been showing it’s youth. So, the recipe for winning is to slow down the Giants’ run game and pressure Eli. That won’t be easy, but the Redskins have the talent to step up and do it. Starting out 1 – 0 within the division would almost be as sweet as it comes. Sweeping Dallas would be even better.
There ya go. You either see the possibilities or you don’t. I definitely do. Go Skins!