By now you probably are all aware of what went down near the end of the Redskins-Rams matchup on Sunday. It was no doubt the stupidest decision an NFL player has made in quite some time. It not only cost the Redskins fifteen yards, but essentially a chance at tying the game. Josh Morgan’s ill-fated intentions to hurl the pigskin at Cortland (“The Instigator”) Finnegan after being tackled resulted in a fifteen yard penalty that turned a 47 yard field goal attempt for Billy Cundiff into a 62 yard one.
Whether the rumors are true that Finnegan provoked Morgan by poking his eye, this is something that cannot happen, especially at the end of the game. Mike Shanahan indicated earlier this week that he would not discipline Morgan, but in larger terms, this is an extraordinary lesson he must use now for the entire team. The lesson being that no individual can have lapses in judgment during any course of the game that could potentially prove devastating.
The question that lingers now though, is whether Morgan’s boneheaded decision should have deserved some sort of team suspension.
Tempers do flare in the NFL and as inexplicable a play that Morgan’s was, the Redskins still have to let it pass. Shanahan’s job as a coach is to put the best options on the field that give his team the best shot at winning. If Morgan is one of them, he should continue to remain there, regardless if his selfish endeavor cost them the game.
If it were high school, I’d urge Shanahan to run out on the field with Morgan after practice this week, act the part of Herb Brooks in the movie Miracle, and tirelessly blow his whistle. The NFL is not a league that works like that however. The only thing Shanahan can do now is to make certain those intentions never reoccur from any player on his team. There are way too many issues involving their actual play in Sunday’s game that must be fixed before they face the Cincinnati Bengals in their home opener.
It is a league where a common phrase repeated is “move on to the next play.” Shanahan and his team must move on from Morgan’s mistake (to put it mildly) and be poised enough to withstand adversity. Each week is too valuable to hand over potential wins because of selfish actions.