As the Washington Redskins prepare for the disappointing Seattle Seahawks, I find myself looking across the NFL landscape. Of course, I am actually trying to look at the reality of what this season may mean for the Redskins.
As a Redskins fan, it has been a remarkable season. Perhaps over-achieving during a four-game winning streak following the season opening loss to the defending Super Bowl Champion New York Giants, followed by a difficult five-game stretch in which they have gone 2-3, it's hard to know what to make of this team.
The only singularly specific thing I can point to definitively is that the offensive line has not played well during the past five games. Many suggest that defenses have "caught up" to rookie head coach and play caller Jim Zorn.
Others say quarterback Jason Campbell just isn't capable of "making" plays, that he is a "game manager" and unless other players step up to "make" things happen, Campbell can't get it done.
My concern is one that was a significant point of discussion during the "offseason".
The age of the offensive line.
With every current starter over 30 years old, I wonder if they simply haven't worn down. Coming out of a very long training camp and five preseason games, perhaps they just don't have much left in the tank.
As evidence, I would point towards the fact that Campbell has been sacked 10 times in the last two games. The league's second leading rusher, Clinton Portis, suffered a partially torn MCL in his left knee against the Pittsburgh Steelers, but the holes he once exploited so well have been much smaller.
Defenses have certainly settled into a "crowd the box" strategy. They have challenged the Redskins passing game to make plays, and the Redskins have not responded well. Campbell has shown some indecision (and inaccuracy under pressure), dangerous wide receiver Santana Moss hasn't been so dangerous, and Pro-Bowl tight end Chris Cooley hasn't been able to get "down field" to help either.
Obviously, the question is: Can they put it back together and "get on a roll?"
I don't really have an "answer" to that question. I know that they are capable. There is talent. There is "fire". There is "desire". There is "character" in the locker room. I once thought there was enough "leadership" to pull out of something like this.
At this point however, I am not so sure anymore.
I will be watching though. Watching and hoping.
Hoping to see a rookie make a play on offense.
Hoping to see a quarterback take another BIG step toward being the quarterback this franchise hasn't seen since Joe Theismann.
Hoping to see the quarterback stay clean for MOST of a game...or three...or five.
Hoping to see Clinton Portis get back to gashing defenses.
Hoping to see Santana Moss run by a defensive back, actually make a catch, and keep on running.
The Boys in Blue come to town in 10 days, and they won't go down easily.
The only real shot the Redskins have at turning around this season is to go on a significant winning streak.
That means winning in Seattle, something the 'Skins have done with consistency, as long as it's the regular season.
That means finding a way to beat the best team in the NFL, the Giants.
Hmmmm...doesn't sound promising, does it?