Russell: What to be thankful for with Redskins

Breaking Burgundy senior writer Chris Russell says fans should get past the Carolina loss and focus on the positives after 11 weeks.

The 4-6 Washington Redskins are off a blowout loss against a really good, undefeated Carolina Panthers team this past Sunday.

That’s the reality and also the bad way to look at things.

If you are being optimistic and thankful, you will look up at the calendar and notice Thanksgiving is this Thursday. Three days later the Redskins host the Giants and are playing for first place. Yes, by the end of Week 12 Washington could be tied atop the division.

Sure it’s the NFC East, you say. I’m thankful the Redskins play in the NFC East. It gives them a great chance to make the playoffs.

You might say they don’t deserve to be playing for anything. I say you are probably right, but I’m thankful that they are. There’s nothing worse than playing meaningless games in December and it’s even worse when any game in November is meaningless.

You might not be looking forward to driving to FedExField on Sunday when game day traffic mixes with one of the worst travel days of the year. I say that you should be thankful that the Redskins don’t have to play anywhere but FedExField for the next two weeks.

As you are having your Thanksgiving dinner, the Chip Kelly era in Philadelphia could be in complete melt down mode as the Eagles visit the rejuvenated Detroit Lions. The Cowboys then host the Panthers as the troubled Greg Hardy faces his former team for his new team. That’s assuming he doesn’t screw up and get cut before then.

I’m very thankful that I do not have to cover Mr. Hardy or Dez Bryant and I can just be amused from miles away.

You should be thankful that you don’t wear a star on your chest and instead you might be able to have a good laugh at the expense of somebody else Thursday.

You think to yourself that the NFC East could be tightening up if the Eagles (4-6) and the Cowboys (3-7) win their respective Thanksgiving games. That part is very true. We should all be thankful if the Lions and Panthers bury these two teams because the Redskins visit Philadelphia and Dallas in the final two weeks of the season.

It stands to reason that with losses – the Eagles and the Cowboys might be thankful their seasons will be almost over in those final two games and that might make the Redskins path a lot easier. 

You might be saying ‘But Chris, we can’t win on the road’ and I would say I realize that but this whole home-road thing is way overrated.

Raise your right hands at this moment if you can tell me which road loss this year was to an inferior opponent.

Sure I know the Redskins are 0-5 this year away from FedEx Field and 1-12 in the Jay Gruden era. Most teams that have been complete disasters for as long as the Redskins have been are going to struggle on the road. That's especially true against three undefeated teams at the time they played (Falcons, Patriots, Panthers), a one-loss team (Jets) and a desperate team (Giants) to deal with.

The Redskins weren’t supposed to win any of those games. Be thankful that they haven’t lost to any teams they were supposed to beat.

While some of you might be secretly hoping that a certain quarterback gets another shot in the burgundy and gold, I say be thankful that for the first time since 2011 the Redskins really don’t have any drama at the most important singular position on the gridiron.

Not sure about you, but I’m thankful that the offense at least has a chance in every game. I didn’t feel that way with Robert Griffin III. Sorry. That’s the truth.

I’m thankful and you should be too that tough guys like Trent Williams are on the Redskins. There are others. At times, believe it or not, Jordan Reed is tough. Pierre Garcon is. Even Chris Thompson is for a smaller guy.

Chris Baker, Will Compton, Kirk Cousins, Jamison Crowder, Dustin Hopkins, and even the injured Duke Ihenacho are all guys and situations that should give us pause to think the best is yet to come. Those guys were promoted and are either starting or playing an expanded role because they were better than others they were battling with. That’s how teams get better. That’s how you start to layer talent and depth. That’s what real organizations do. Let’s all say thanks!

I’m thankful that Jay Gruden wasn’t fired after one year when it was very possible that he could be. Some of you dislike him very much, and for that I say …Why?  Nobody is saying he’s the best coach in the NFL but what did you expect?

.He took over a team that was ravaged by the salary cap and a terrible fear of actually investing in the draft the correct way. It takes years to unbury from the kind of terrible mismanagement that occurred during the Bruce Allen-Mike Shanahan regime and of course from even before that.

Many will point to other first time head coaches around the NFL and their success right away and I say I hear you. It certainly makes my argument tougher. I would also say that every team and organization is not the same.

When John Harbaugh replaced Brian Billick many years ago, he walked into a fertile, functional, smooth running paradise.

Jay Gruden walked into “Survivor Island” and there weren’t many pretty things awaiting him.

I hope you are thankful that the Redskins did the reasonable, smart thing and allowed Gruden a chance to grow on the job.

We should all be thankful for Scot McCloughan. Hopefully the Redskins executive branch allows him to fully do his thing this off-season, because he certainly was influenced if not asked to do something in his first off-season that had no staying power and that he, nor anybody else on the football side truly believed.

Finally, I’m thankful that I get to talk about football for a living and you get to consume many choices in the way you do. For that, we are thankful here at that you have chosen us to be a part of your world.

Thank you! 

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