Don't Expect Miracles

The schedules are out and when I look at the Washington Redskins road to glory, I see a lot of obstacles. Spurrier's inaugural season won't be an easy one.

Miracles don't happen overnight and in the NFL they surely don't happen in just one off-season. Yet if one were to spend a little time talking to Washington's new head coach Steve Spurrier, one just might be convinced that they can. Spurrier is cocky and speaks his mind rather freely for an NFL. One is normally cautious of "bulletin board" material but Spurrier is a vast wealth of such.

Apparently the powers that be recognize the marketing potential of Spurrier and rewarded the Redskins with a nationally televised Thanksgiving Day game against the Dallas Cowboys and hopes to cash in on a renewed version of an old rivalry. Spurrier played the rivalry card early on when he proclaimed Dallas to be his version of what Georgia was to his University of Florida, an instant "W" in the win column.

The Redskins haven't won against the Cowboys in years and in fact lost the last time they played on Thanksgiving Day back in 1996 and to add insult to injury, it was against the Cowboys. So if Spurrier can change that, well that may be his only accomplishment in 2002.

Speaking of the Redskins schedule and with regards to this year's success, Spurrier had better focus more on the entire schedule than just Dallas.

The Redskins' schedule is by no means a light schedule that will be friendly to a first year coach trying to build a new team with big needs and little cap room. The schedule does start off with the newly relocated Arizona Cardinals at Fed Ex Field and that should be the game the Redskins need to start off on the right foot with a win.

But from then on, Spurrier will be welcomed to the NFL with a constant onslaught of playoff capable teams and the Redskins could very easily finish the 2002 season at a dismal 3-13 if Spurrier's Dallas predictions coupled with a win against the Cardinals hold true. With this kind of schedule, .500 would be an accomplishment and anything more just might be a miracle.

In that scenario, will Redskins' owner Dan Snyder have patience and confidence to stick with his new coach? First year coaches just don't do that well in the NFL and I suspect that Spurrier is no different. The keys are if the team is competitive, shows improvement, respects their leadership and plays hard.

Spurrier has a lot on his plate in 2002 and many of the things being said might be similar to what was once said about a former unknown named Gibbs. Let's just hope Spurrier's success follows the Hall of Fame path that Gibbs did and not the walk of shame that another much talked about hopeful by the name of Turner.

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