2013 Redskins: Burgundy and Fools Gold?

by Devin McMillan

Dev Blog






It was a rough return for Robert Griffin III on Monday night. (Photo via WashingtonPost.com)

It was a rough return for Robert Griffin III on Monday night.
(Photo via WashingtonPost.com)


Having lived in the Washington, DC area for the past 18 years and interacting with droves of fans, radio personalities, and other folks that cover the Washington Redskins, I would say that I have a pretty good finger on the pulse of this franchise and its fan base.  Monday night’s season-opening 33-27 loss to the rival Philadelphia Eagles has raised some questions amongst the optimism that has surrounded this team since their 7-game winning streak to end the 2012 regular season with the team’s first division title in the new millennium and first playoff appearance since 2007.  But for some, the second half performance of the team on Monday night, especially by its young, stud quarterback, eased the blow from an unexpected loss and has allowed them to remain confident and retain their optimistic views about what this season may yield for the burgundy and gold.

Personally, I wouldn’t place too much stock into the second half of Monday’s game if I were a Redskins fan.  It is no different than what we often see in the NFL.  One of the oldest sports clichés in the book lends that “the hardest thing to do is play with a big lead”.  Teams fall behind, then begin running a desperate, pass-heavy offense against soft nickel coverage, with the defense’s main objective being to keep everything in front of them and the offense’s main objective being to milk the clock; usually by running conservative rushing plays.  More times than not, a team trailing big and facing these conservative methods of offense and defense suddenly look like world-beaters in the passing game and brick walls on defense, and this is usually fools gold.  Fools gold reminiscent of the aforementioned SPECTACULAR 7-game winning streak that earned the Redskins a rare playoff berth last season.  These are the types of things you cannot hang your hat on as a fan of an organization because they are fluke occurrences.  In my experiences with Redskins Nation, many folks seem to only dwell on the positive and choose to carry on as if the negative never took place.  It is the age-old battle of norms vs exceptions.  Because they finished the way they did last season, all of Redskins Nation now KNOW without a shadow of a doubt that a run like that couldn’t possibly mean anything less than the Skins are a great team and NFC East foes should settle in for burgundy & gold dominance for the foreseeable future.  In their minds, there’s nothing more to it.

The only problem however, is that NO ONE has stopped to wonder why they started Monday’s game down 33-7 or why they began last season 3-6 in the first place.  Most fans assume that the 2013 Redskins are more representative of the team that went 7-0 down the stretch in 2012 more so than the team who started 3-6.  Many pundits outside of the DC area believe they may fall somewhere in between.  Since NONE of us REALLY know, wouldn’t this season be the proving ground for whichever of those teams they really are?  Judging by my interactions with one of the most loyal fan bases in sports, I’d say the answer to that question is a resounding NO.  They certainly saw enough last year, and because of it, many think this season will feature the Super Bowl run that has alluded them since the early 90’s.

The Skins had no first round pick in this year’s draft due to the RG3 deal.  Considering they weren’t able to snag any perceived “franchise-changing” talent as they did in the first round last year, I would say that they had a fair to pretty good draft.  They also couldn’t add much in the way of free agency due to the penalties levied upon them and the Cowboys by the NFL.  So besides getting some injured players back, how did this team improve itself over the offseason?  Despite the issues mentioned above, along with shaky depth along the offensive line, a fairly weak secondary, and uncertainty about the franchise quarterback’s knee and/or mental health surrounding that knee, the team has garnered the confidence of its fans that it has stepped into the realm of the NFL’s elite.  I’m glad they see it.  I may need to clean off my eyeglasses to get a better view.

In my preseason predictions, I had the Washington Redskins fighting it out with the Philadelphia Eagles to stay out of the NFC East basement this season.  Nothing about the opener has told me that my prediction will turn out wrong.  However, it has only been one game and even I think the Redskins are a better team than they showed on Monday night.  “How much better” is the question.  I guess we’ll all have to sit back and wait for that answer.


Devin McMillan of The War Room, for War Room Sports


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