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Rich Tandler is the author of Gut Check, The Complete History of Coach Joe Gibbs' Washington Redskins. Get details and order at http://GutCheckBook.com
What Redskins Fans Have to be Thankful For
Yes, in the grand scheme of things what we might be thankful for regarding a football team pales in comparison to what's really important in our lives. So, with perspective fully in place and wearing Redskins hat, here's what Skins fans can be thankful for:
- Antonio Pierce—He wasn't supposed to see the field except on special teams, but he's stepped in for the injured Michael Barrow and gotten the job done. From his middle linebacker spot he calls the defensive signals, gives his all on every snap and is rarely out of position. Pierce is a joy to watch.
- Heritage—Here's one for you: of the teams who have won at least three Super Bowls only the Redskins and the Packers also won more than one NFL title in the pre-Super era. There's the more distant past to celebrate with the championships in '37 and '42 earned by Battles, Baugh, Farkas, coach Ray Flaherty, and others. Then there are the recent champs with Riggins, coach Gibbs, Theismann, and the Hogs. In between, Sonny and Billy, Larry Brown, Hanburger, Houston, C. Taylor, Mitchell and many, many more. The legacy of this team is second to none.
- Gregg Williams—As good a defensive mind as there is in the NFL, a man who has done a worst-to-first job on the
defense. Of course, as an aside to this, we're all thankful actually to have a defense that's worth talking about at all. Without the performance of this unit, playing without perhaps its best player in Lavar Arrington, this season would be much uglier than it is right now (which isn't too pretty). Washington
- Redskins fans—That's right, be thankful for each other. It's a great bunch of folks to talk football with, as classy and knowledgeable as any group of fans in the NFL. Add in the fact that no seat at FedEx Field ever goes unsold, guaranteeing that every game every year will be on local TV.
- Fred Smoot—He's gone from being a brash, cocky kid who talked just to hear himself talk to being a team leader who speaks for the players. Smoot has still managed to maintain that brashness, a refreshing quality among today's players. Oh, yeah, almost forgot the on-field aspect of Smoot; he's a tough as nails player who can lock down any receiver in the league.
- Tom Tupa—The first Redskins punter in years who doesn't automatically boom every punt from the opponent's territory through the end zone on the fly. He hits pitching wedges that die inside the five where they get down by. . .
- James Thrash—It's become cliché to talk about this guy, what a team guy he is, how he's willing to do anything asked of him, how he just wants to win. Well, it's become that because it's true.
- Joe Gibbs—He's back home where he belongs. Give him time, he'll get it done and he'll get it done the right way.
On a personal note, I'd like to thank all of you who check out this space to read what I have to say about the Skins. This is a lot of fun to write, but it's a heck of a lot more fun knowing that so many of you get some small bit of enjoyment out of it. Hail to the Redskins and Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!
November 23, 2004
Unfortunately, Buckets of Buckets As always in this apace, here is a look back at my predictions for the previous game. I've rarely been more dead on than I was this week.
After going through some reasons why many thought the Redskins could win, I got to the heart of it:
All of this adds up to, well, not much. I don't buy the trap and peaking too soon theories or, more specifically, I don't think that they're factors. Even if they are off of their top game considerably, the Eagles will have more than enough to beat the Redskins. Portis should rack up some decent yardage, but I don't see Ramsey being consistently sharp enough to take full advantage. That means that the Eagles won't have to execute their one trick very often to score enough.The "one trick" I referred to was McNabb to Owens. And that one TD connection was enough to win the game. I was off on Portis' production as 37 yards can't be considered "decent" but right on about Ramsey. He had some drops by receivers, but his performance could by no means be defined as "sharp". I rate how much water my predictions held by giving each from one to five buckets. A one-bucket prediction was way off base. One that held five buckets was crystal-ball material. That amalgam of omniscience gets four buckets, losing the one for thinking that Portis would do better than he did.
Following that up, however, is a five-bucket call. While I didn't get the score exactly right, the game went exactly as I thought it would.
The Redskins should be able to hang on into the third quarter, but a big play by Philly will break it open in the second half.
Eagles 24, Redskins 10
Daly Nails It
Dan Daly hits the nail on the head more often than any columnist out there who covers the Redskins. I like Wilbon and Boswell OK, but the former is a TV star with an agenda and Bears fan to boot, and the latter is one of the best baseball writers in the business who occasionally scores some good points about football. (And I don't say that because Daly has said nice things about my books and occasionally throws me a plug in his Sunday columns.)
Daly is a football guy, he's written a book or two about the history of the game and he just gets it. He's not a self-promoter; you don't find him putting his name out to be on this or that radio call in show. And he's probably been to more Redskins games over the past decade or so than any other beat writer or columnist covering the team. Others have come and gone, and the "stars" like Wilbon cover other events like the World Series during the football season. But there's Daly, game after game, building an encyclopedic knowledge of the team.
The only problem with his column on Monday was that it left me with nothing to amplify, clarify, or expound upon. If it's live, follow the link above. If not, go to http://washingtontimes.com/sports and click on the Dan Daly link. Here's the conclusion:
They're such a study in contrasts, the Redskins are. The defense attacks, attacks, attacks, and the offense assumes the fetal position almost from the first snap. But at least the right quarterback is on the field now. We have that to be thankful for this week.To leave comments and view archives, go to this blog's mirror site at http://redskinsblog.blogspot.com