Insanity Spreads Through Redskin Nation

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Insanity Spreads Through Redskin Nation
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This article is dedicated to Washington Post columnist Mike Wise and the other card-carrying members of Redskin Nation who believe that Washington is somehow better than their 3-9 record .

Just stop.

If the Washington Redskins were a better team, then they would have a better record.  Who are the Redskins?  Let’s allow Dennis Green to answer this question:

"They are who we thought they are."

You don’t get to be 3-9 unless you are an incompetent team.  

The Redskins are the NFL version of The Jay Leno Show .  Last year NBC decided to hand over the 10 p.m. timeslot to Jay Leno as a sort of olive branch in order to keep Leno. By virtue of this deal, NBC said goodbye to its slate of 10 p.m. shows like Law & Order , Medium , and Southland .  After much fanfare, Leno’s new show (which looked suspiciously like his old show) is now performing terribly.  In fact, it’s performing so badly that local NBC affiliates across the country are losing viewers for their 11 o’clock newscast because Leno is such an awful lead-in.

If Jeff Zucker, the head honcho at NBC, is Dan Snyder, and Leno is the Redskins, then the local NBC affiliates are the Redskin fans.

Can you imagine your local NBC affiliate saying to themselves:

"I know The Jay Leno Show just lost in the ratings to a rerun of Tyler Perry’s House of Payne , but it isn’t that bad.  In fact, it’s better than what everybody else thinks.  It’ll get better."

This is the sort of silliness that is creeping through far corners of Redskin Nation.  There are a lot of folks in the D.C. metro that agree with Mike Wise and this is what they’re telling themselves after last Sunday’s improbable loss to the 12-0 New Orleans Saints.

"We’re almost there.  We are getting better.  We’ve lost three straight by a total of seven points.  Our offense is better.  Maybe we should bring everybody back next year.  We are so, so close.  We aren’t that bad.  We’re getting better.  We aren’t that bad."

Now, allow me to quote one of my favorite songs from my teenage years.  It’s from a group called Soul II Soul and it says:

"Back to life.  Back to reality. "

If you’re a Redskin fan and you’re in the Mike Wise camp, you are delusional.  The Redskins are only good at one thing.  And that’s covering.  For the third straight week, they covered the spread, so if you bet the Vegas line you probably feel great about that.

That’s right.  It’s easier to bet against the spread than it is to actually root for the Washington Redskins.

That’s because this is a bad team.  Don’t confuse their competitiveness with competence because it ain’t the same thing. 

First of all, the great thing about this team is that they have not thrown in the towel on this miserable season.  They play hard every week and for that, I commend them. 

But they aren’t good enough to win. 

After Sunday’s epic meltdown against Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints, I wrote this on Twitter:

"The Redskins are a bad team.  They are competitive but bad and like all bad teams, they find new and creative ways to lose."

Case in point:

Three weeks ago in Dallas, the 'Skins held the hated Cowboys scoreless for 58 minutes before surrendering a late touchdown pass to Tony Romo.  Final score: Cowboys 7, Redskins 6.

Two weeks ago in Philly, the 'Skins outplayed the hated Eagles for three quarters before their defense finally cracked under pressure.  Final score: Eagles 27, Redskins 24

On Sunday in Landover, Washington outplayed the vaunted (and unbeaten) New Orleans Saints.  They twice held a second half lead of 10 points before Shaun Suisham (who also missed a crucial field goal in the Dallas loss) missed a 23-yarder to force a 10-point lead with two minutes to play.  The Saints forced overtime and eventually won it on a field goal.  Saints 33, Redskins 30.

Ultimately, it didn’t matter that the Redskin offense racked up a season-high 455 yards of offense.  It didn’t matter that Jason Campbell had his best game as a pro.  It didn’t matter that the defense stymied the highest scoring team in the NFL.

What mattered was the final score. It was the same outcome as it was against the Giants, Panthers, Chiefs, Lions, Falcons, Eagles (twice), and Cowboys.

Moral victories won’t save jobs, ladies and gentlemen.

Jim Zorn is still gone at the end of the season and so is Jason Campbell.  Their fates were intertwined the second Zorn was hired.  They both already have one foot out the door and I only wish LaRon Landry could follow them.

If they had won these last three games, you could make a case for either of them staying (especially Campbell, who has been really good).  But they cannot win close games.  This is not a three-game virus we’re talking about.  This is a sickness that has afflicted this team all season.  They simply cannot win close games.  

They are the Houston Texans of the NFC.  If there’s a new and inventive way to blow a game, these Redskins are going to find it. Look no further than Sunday’s game:

Gaffe #1: Drew Brees throws an interception.  The interceptor, Kareem Moore, hits the ground, bounces up, and runs about seven yards before he is stripped by Saints receiver Robert Meachem, who then returns it (untouched) for a 44-yard touchdown.  I’ve been watching football for almost 30 years.  I can guarantee you that I have never seen anything like that ever happen on a football field.  I have never seen the momentum shift so fast like that.

Gaffe #2: There’s about two minutes left in the fourth quarter and the 'Skins lead by seven.  They have the ball on the Saints' six-yard line.  In comes (former) kicker Shaun Suisham.  All he has to do is make the kick, which at a total distance of 23 yards is more-or-less like kicking an extra point.  The Saints are out of timeouts.  That means that if Suisham makes the kick, the lead jumps to 10 and in all likelihood the Saints suffer their first defeat.

Did he make it?  Of course he didn’t.

Gaffe #3: And in a final, cruel twist of fate, Mike Sellers catches a pass from Campbell, is upended, the ball pops out, and the Saints recover and drive down for the winning score.

Good teams don’t make that many crucial mistakes.

The Washington Redskins are like the real cute girl that you had a crush on in high school.  She would always talk to you.  She laughed at your jokes.  Sometimes she would allow you to take her out to a movie.  But when it came time for a commitment, when it came time for her to choose a boyfriend or someone to go the prom with, she always chose another guy.  And it would break your heart.

That’s the 2009 Redskins.  They will keep it close.  They will keep you hoping, wishing, and believing that they just might pull this one out.

But in the end, they snatch the rug right from under you and it breaks your heart.

The defense is good, until they absolutely need a stop.  After Suisham’s miss, Brees marched the Saints down for the game-tying touchdown in a preposterous 33 seconds. The offense is good, until they absolutely need a score.  79 seconds were left on the clock for Campbell to drive them down for the winning score.  The drive ended in an interception.

They are in the midst of one of the toughest stretch of games you can possibly imagine.  Next up is Oakland, who has inconceivably won their last three games against playoff teams.  Six weeks ago this game looked like a shoo-in. 

Not anymore.

This is what you can expect from the Washington Redskins for these final four games.  Expect them to be competitive.  Expect them to keep it close.  And expect them to break your heart.

One of the more popular definitions of the word "insanity" is to experience the same thing over and over and expect different results.

The Washington Redskins are a bad team.  To think otherwise would be the very definition of insanity. 

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