Jim Zorn's Doom and Gloom Begins with Redskins, or Does It?

Craig Garrison SrSenior Analyst ISeptember 5, 2008

I must admit that I am shocked.

Not shocked at the NFL regular season opener's struggles for the Washington Redskins.

Not shocked that Redskins' quarterback Jason Campbell looked confused, particularly in the first half, of Thursday night's game against the defending Super Bowl Champion New York Giants.

Not shocked, per se, over the incredible amount of negative coverage of Jim Zorn's poor debut as rookie Redskins' head coach.

Not over the Washington media using the struggles of the "new look" Redskins against the Super Bowl Champion New York Giants to further vilify owner Daniel Snyder and his right-hand man Vinny Cerrato.

Not shocked at the calls for Colt Brennan, the Redskins' rookie (and third string) quarterback who looked like a real player in the preseason.

Not shocked that the Giants took an early lead, riding high on the emotions of their pre-game ceremonies, in which they hoisted their brand spanking new Super Bowl banner.

Not shocked that the game didn't continue the way it started, with a dominant showing from the Giants being slowed by Redskins' defensive adjustments.

And certainly not shocked that the Giants won the game, despite an underwhelming performance from their Super Bowl MVP quarterback Eli Manning.

No, I am not shocked at any of that. All of that was very much expected.

What I am shocked about is the level headedness being shown by so many Redskins fans. As I trolled the internet, looking for quotes to use in a "Doom and Gloom for the Redskins" article, what I found was a pleasant surprise.

Reality. From the fans? Yup!

The reality is that this was one game. As is so often said, the NFL regular season is "a marathon, not a sprint." And despite the poor performance from the Redskins' offense, and the occasional look of "unpreparedness" by the rookie head coach's team, all is not lost.

The media surrounding the Redskins has enjoyed the antics of the "meddling" owner Daniel Snyder for years, using him for headlines and articles that seem quite "personal" rather than unbiased journalism.

Recently, reporters from the Washington Post used quotes from Punter Derrick Frost, who lost his job to a rookie by the way, in an apparent effort to prove just how terrible the Redskins' front office is.

A punter! Yeah, reliable personnel guy there.

During post-game coverage on local TV and radio following last night's game, this type of coverage was also on display.

"Jim Zorn is in over his head," "Campbell needs to go, he can't run this offense," "the Redskins' secondary was terrible" (really? the entire secondary?). These are just a few of the quotes that paint the picture for fans: doom and gloom.

Plaxico Burress had a career night, but Eli couldn't find anybody else open, finishing 19 of 35 with one interception and no passing touchdowns. He also should have thrown three more interceptions.

All this came with the Redskins' top corner, Shawn Springs, inactive and another corner in his first start since suffering a devastating knee injury last season. A third corner was also injured and had to leave the game in the second half.

But Redskins' fans are smart enough not believe the doom and gloom from reporters. They understand that the Redskins, under new coach Jim Zorn, are a work in progress.

They understand that while Snyder and Cerrato have made many mistakes in the past, they seem to have learned from them as well.

This offseason, the Redskins' front office avoided free agency and embraced the draft wholeheartedly for the first time in many years. A direction many of the same reporters I mentioned earlier have been espousing for years (and, unbelievably, have criticized harshly since).

Redskins fans understand that with the hiring of Jim Zorn, Snyder and Cerrato took a chance.

They didn't "go get the biggest name" they could find, an action that was sarcastically (very hatefully) predicted to be the next step following the retirement of Joe Gibbs.

They didn't "recycle" an older, so-called "proven" coach.

They understand that hiring Zorn may show that they intend to begin the "rebuilding process" with a bright young coach. They added to that appearance with the way they handled free agency and then the draft.

Redskins fans also seemed to understand that despite the very slow start last night, the Redskins' defense played very well. Well enough in fact, that the game stayed within reach all the way to the final two possessions.

They understand that despite the appearances, Zorn's offense actually showed that they are close to making the plays they need to make. They just aren't quite there yet. They need a step here or there, a quicker throw, a quicker release, and/or an extra "half second" on the block.

And most importantly, Redskins fans seemed to understand that losing this one game, especially the first game of the regular season, against the defending Super Bowl Champions is not the end of the Redskins' world.

And so the regular season has begun, and the "Redskins' disastrous season under a new head coach is underway."

Or is it?

Redskins fans see things a bit differently than the media covering the team, and only time will tell who has the more accurate view.

Personally? No, not doom and gloom. This is nothing more than a beginning.


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