Sunday, January 10, 2010

THE WASHINGTON REDSKINS: An Indictment of My beloved TEAM

This was written after a loss against a winless Detroit Lions Team that had lost 19 games in a row and was predicted(by myself and others) to defeat the Washington Redskins:

(A little perspective: let me start by stating that I was fortunate enough and retrospectively grateful for having my introduction to the game of Football and the Washington Redskins occur during the 1987 season and my first start to finish viewing of a complete game turning into the Washington Redskins' majestic and record breaking triumph that was Super Bowl XXII

Having followed the team through another championship triumph in 1991, it seemed that everything would be alright in the world no matter what hardship one had to face the week after a victory by the Redskins.

In the extremely diverse melting pot that is the Washington Metropolitan Area, the team was the one common thread that linked almost everybody no matter their color, creed or nationality.

A person could hold their head up high and get charged up with goose bumps at the mere mention of the name of such a marvelous team to support. There were Championship parades and visits to the White House Rose Garden for a little game of pitch and catch with the President.

Alas, those days are now only a faint memory that will live on in the heart of the fans as a reminder to themselves and others of what it means to be a fan of the Washington Redskins.

It seems everything started to fall apart with the franchise after the controversy of the name of the team reached the US court system.

Whether we like it or not, all true Redskins fans know deep down that the name of the team is offensive to many if not most of the Native American population, regardless of whether or not it is portrayed as the Conquering Native Warrior motif that should bring pride instead of shame and whether or not the team got the name as a cross promotional marketing gimmick for Boston beans.

With a nation whose history is tainted by violent racial bigotry, controversy surely follows and justice and the truth become victims, especially when a lot of money via merchandising rights is involved.

Long term Redskins fans are familiar with experiencing the heartache that became known as the Post Gibbs era: seasons filled with futility throughout the mid to latter parts of the 90's and earlier this decade where an ex assistant coach of our team's Arch-Rivals inexplicably became the longest tenured coach since Gibbs and whose firing was the first step in a absurd and hasty fantasy football like coaching carousel that left no coach worth his salt wanting to ever take part in such a dysfunctional organization unless his name was the aforementioned Joe Gibbs.

Let us phrase the current atmosphere of utter fan disgust as clearly as possible and follow up in detail:

To the current owners, managers, coaches and players of the Washington Redskins Organization:

You have tarnished the legacy of our beloved team and disgraced its name.

The mere mention of our team is now synonymous with catastrophic failure and the yearly accomplishment of very little tangible result from the abundant start of highly compensated talent.

You are fired as our team.

We want our team back since we reject the current impostor in its stead.

The Washington Redskins organization is now reaping what it has sowed and it has sowed plenty of what can be quantified as unjust all across the board.

When Joe Gibbs came back for his second tour, he pointed to his chest and made it clear what the most important elements to success are: Heart and Good people.

Even Director of Player Personnel Vinny Ceratto picked up on Gibb's statement and said the formula for success starts with getting enough good people.

Good Organization start with good people at the top of the pyramid structure and all the way down to the least compensated employees.

The ownership should reflect the value and the goodness of the team.

Good people do not parade around the stadium they own and give a stern look to a security guard after looking at a stain on the ground only to return later and fire the security guard for failing to make the connection that it was his implicitly unstated duty to remove the stain.

Vain and quick to anger people play with a person’s livelihood in such a way.

Vain people should look to remove the stain that is in their heart that would make them make such a heartless move.

Good people instruct their security guard that the area they occupy should be clean and let the security guard figure out that he needs to get someone to clean it up or do it himself if there are no custodians around.

Good people are patient and slow to anger but are there to rebuke their brother if they see their brother making choices that are to their detriment.

Let us ask ourselves what good people do and why it requires heart to be a good person:

Good people do not showboat trivial accomplishments.

Good people do not let disrespect easily offend them to make them lose their cool.

Good people stay disciplined and use the disrespect to motivate themselves and put in more effort to become better people and correct perceived transgressions that they are accused of.

Since Sunday’s loss has been analyzed as a complete catastrophe by fans and media members alike, we must dissect what went wrong with the game in order to provide the Washington Redskins organization an external perspective it is sorely lacking and failing to listen to:

What Jason Campbell termed as a weird atmosphere is correct. (Credit him with being one of a few people in this organization who has the right kind of dignified character that is needed to succeed amongst abject failure and constant distrust of his natural abilities.

But being dignified and humble is not enough. In order to succeed in leading the Washington Redskins out of their current state of chaotic failure, he needs to impose his will more often since many around him including his coach are showing that they are totally lost at the basics of football like when to call time out, take or decline a penalty, go for it on 4th down, what play to call at what time, when not to run out of bounds or not hitting an opponent when you are clearly out of bounds)

These are symptoms of the systemic lack of discipline that has plagued the franchise since the last Super Bowl Title.

There is no attention to detail and it is self evident by the weekly gaffes that are committed on the field.

Everything starts with attention to details. The Redskins do not seem to be detailed enough in their efforts for they are missing basic football 101 details and hence are a lost franchise.

Why are they lost? There is no plan B to many things they do. Why is there no plan B? No attention to detail.

A coach should not think that every play he comes up with is designed to work especially after seeing it fail so miserably and insisting that it is either run or the QB is benched for daring to audible out of it.

This shameful display of false pride is arrogance.

Arrogance is the opposite of humility. Coach Gibbs displayed humility even if he sometimes used it as a tactic of communication with the media.

When Coach Gibbs was questioned about his job security during his team’s 0-5 start and how he might be fired without even getting his first victory, he did not deflect the question with a completely empty response such was stated by Coach Jim Zorn when he dismissed the legitimate question with a clearly dishonest “no”

Coach Gibbs stated the obvious. It was up to the owner to decide: a simple yet honest and dignified statement.

Unless someone has a better job waiting in the wings, they are going to be concerned about their job security, especially if they like what they are doing.

Lying is a telling sign of distress and fear over one’s livelihood. So is the arrogance in telling the lie in the first place and believing that the media and the fans are not going to see right through it.

Lying and arrogance are not the traits of good people. They are the traits of self deluded people who think they are good or good enough when they may not be. There’s a reason why your mother told you to always tell the truth no matter what.

Here’s a perspective as to why the plays designed to work don’t seem to work for the Washington Redskins and why the telling deed is an insufficient attention to detail and the discipline that is instilled by full attention to detail.

A fade does not work without a properly executed route by the receiver and practiced timing with the Quarterback: A fake of the slant to the inside to create separation to allow a player to then go back towards the sideline and get the separation and positioning needed for an easy catch. Practice and execute the fake well enough and the fade works but only if going inside can also burn the other team for a Touchdown otherwise the defense ignores the slant when they know the fade is coming.

Why can the defense ignore the slant fake move to the inside? If their linebacker is in the way of the pass, the cornerback only needs to worry about getting beat by the fade and when he only has to worry about one way to get beat, he can defend it very well. The fade should be attempted only when there is enough room for the Quarterback to throw over the tight spot of the Linebacker to make the defense think twice at not respecting going inside the post area.

The QB should practice finding his sweet spot and throwing over the Linebacker and when he cannot so the fade does not get attempted without the ability and actual realization of slanting inside.

Physically gifted athletes need to perfect their route running and pass catching properly or their talent attributes and their careers go to waste.

The coach says that he designs all his plays to work and expects them to thereby not allowing his QB to call an audible on such an obvious passing down as 3rd and goal from the 5.

The defense expects the pass and plays the pass of a 3rd and long close to the goal line. Therefore is it wise to have the running back fire a woeful pass on an obvious passing down when the defense is not fooled and has the play properly defended?

The same exact play has a higher chance of working as a misdirection play when tried on 1st and goal when running the ball is an expected tendency based on the percentages.

Trying the play on 3rd down demonstrates a coach who has let the anxiety from the rush of blood of being unprepared get to his head. He does not state that his team was out coached and outplayed because his ego gets in the way when admitting the truth is more honorable and respected.

A QB draw from the 5 yard line out of a spread 4-5 receiver formation would have put the defense at a disadvantage but we must suffer with a futile play that is expected to work by its "designer".

Well then, if even the supposed average fan can predict the failure of the play, then chances are that its designer is full of himself in thinking that it's going to work since his QB would be benched if he called an audible out of the play into something that has a better chance of working.

Maybe Randle-El, an actual college QB, could have motioned from the slot and gotten the hand off and either ran with it within a spread offense base or thrown a spiral ball instead of a duck thrown by a "running back".

Has the coach asked his QB what would he have done in the same situation? Joe Gibbs, a Hall of Fame coach with 3 Super Bowl rings has shown more humility than Jim Zorn has, even after having won those titles.

Just because the current coach was named NFC rookie of the year back when he played does not mean he gets a free pass for pathetically predictable play calling.

Has he ever wondered why the successful plays that were called when he was Quarterback of the Seattle Seahawks worked or does that thought never cross his mind while he's busy being so full of himself that he questions the judgment of an actual Hall of Fame QB in Sonny Jurgenson?

Who does Jim Zorn think he is and why hasn't his self confidence and high thought of himself shown itself in astute and successful TD scoring plays and on the field where it counts.

We know that the Washington Redskins Players can "score", but the question is:

Can they do it on the Football Field where it counts to the fans instead of where it doesn't really count on the "Player's" Field or in their own minds?

Everybody knows that fear of being fired has added to the anxiety of the coach and the whole staff and instead of using it as a motivator and throwing the kitchen sink out there in terms of preparation and a true gun slinging mentality in execution of a game plan and dedicated follow through, we are getting the fearful output of an unprepared team in siege.

Why do the players continue to be allowed to celebrate ultimately meaningless plays such as getting first downs on failed drives and boasting of their tackles on drives that end in touchdowns for their opponents?

The players are not supposed to celebrate a basic requirement of their job: getting first downs and performing tackles.

They are supposed to celebrate game turning touchdowns and turnover causing tackles.

It is the responsibility of the Coach to instill discipline in his own players so that they do not celebrate every basic requirement that they have fulfilled.

That is not to detract from having fun on the football field. There is nothing wrong with having the spirit of the old fun bunch before their celebrations were outlawed but celebrating every meaningless play is very unsatisfying in the end and it gives your opponent fuel to stoke the fire that they will use to defeat you.

You are giving an incentive to your opponent when you perform such a thoughtless display of selfishness.

You do not see players on championship teams celebrate every tackle and every first down they accomplished like it is something special.

The team suffers from a lack of attention to the multitude of little details that whose sum leads to what we call success.

The coach must be anal retentive about these little things in order to instill discipline in his team. This is not to suggest that he goes overboard and micro manages the discipline to the point of suffocating his players with trivial things such as fining them for $1701 for forgetting to pay for a $3 water bottle at a Hotel on their away game road trip as the likes of Eric Mangini have done. You alienate your team that way.

Players must maintain discipline on the field and especially off the field for they can cause more trouble for themselves off the field even if it is sometimes through no fault of their own.

The players must be able to take criticism, not just the constructive kind, and use it to as motivation to improve upon falling short or prove their critics wrong but showing via their play that it is unjust criticism.

If their feelings get hurt at every slight from a coach or teammate or a member of the media or the fans, how are they expected to overcome opponents who know that it is easy to get them rattled because they do not like criticism and being humiliated?

Do they lack intestinal fortitude and self motivation? Are they men or mere children occupying the bodies of men?

Maybe they need to be put down and humiliated and have the whole sports world including their own fans think that they are the laughing stock of the NFL.

There is a reason why this phrase is uttered: When the going gets tough, the tough get going....

The Tough excel in situations that separate the wheat from the chaff:

Who was tough last Sunday? Other than the Detroit Lions playing their hearts out,
Jason Campbell (albeit his and his center's nervousness was obvious in the multitude of messed up snap exchanges and resulting fumbles) and Santana Moss were the tough players to get going since they were the only ones to outperform significantly amidst the abject futility on display at Ford Field.

What Campbell described as weirdness during the game was the inflection point where many sickened long time fans saw this organization for what it truly was and said they had enough of this team and its current state of futility from top to bottom and that these disgusted fans would actively root for our beloved team to not only lose but to be humiliated in order for most of these cretins that are part of our team to feel with the fans that are being abused and humiliated by their team in the following ways:

1) Lawsuits by the team against season ticket holders experiencing financial hardships due to the collapse of our economy, something that these overpaid owners and athletes know little about based on the way they relate to their fans.

2) Unending price increases in everything related to being at the game.

3) Ignorant statements coming out of players calling the people who pay their wages "dim wits" and belittling the people that make the world go round by calling their work insignificant.

4) Blaming boorish behavior on a fan base that has been conditioned into becoming inebriated via the constant Beer advert brainwashing by the primary advertisers of the National Football League.

Why not allow fans the option to consume 100% natural fruit drinks instead of drinking their brain cells into perdition?

At least it leaves them sober enough to possibly tone down their boorish behavior.

How about introducing healthy food choice alternatives?

What? you say? You won't make any money on these items since not many people want them? How do you know? Have you done surveys or had trial runs? You never know until you try.

Besides aren't you making enough money already? What's a million or two mean to you when you are making hundreds?

4) You don't want the fans to boo bad performances but you want them to pay to enjoy your awful performances.

The fans come to the game to have a good time and see their team play entertaining and tough hard nosed football and hopefully win doing so.

The fans do not come to the games to get depressed, get put down by players who constantly celebrate the littlest of their insignificant personal achievements like making a first down and making a proper technique tackle.

Are the players celebrating their measly accomplishments or are they celebrating the racking up of bonus incentive accomplishments built into their contracts?

The preceding statements were not made lightly since they comes after years of suffering experienced by actually following this team week in week out win, lose or draw (Who can forget 1997’s 7-7 overtime draw with the New York Giants that kept the team out of the playoffs by half a game.

You know, the game where our near do well QB gave himself a neck injury by smashing his head into the padded concrete wall while celebrating the team’s first and only touchdown and our #1 wideout ended our chances at salvaging a victory by drawing a penalty flag in the act of throwing his helmet and knocking the team out of legitimate field goal range near the end when 3 points would win the game all the while a perplexed Norvell Turner had no clue what was going on forgetting that the resulting mess was due to his failure to recognize that it is up to him to instill discipline in his own team if they refuse to display self discipline like real self reliant and responsible grown ups do.

Has being slighted at an officiating mistake become more important than putting your team in position to win the game?

If winning a game against your divisional rival is not as important as the validation of your reception then you don’t need your opponent to defeat you when you have willingly done it for them.

Should you run out of bounds late in the game helping your desperate opponent conserve time to leave enough time to mount a drive to beat you?

Should you go into a game thinking that every play you designed is going to work to the point that calling an audible out of that play deserves a benching?

There is a reason why they call Football a game of attrition. That particular fateful Sunday night nationally televised 7-7 draw has become what is now known as Redskins Football.

Other teams think the following: Wait for them to self destruct. They always do. They’re the Redskins after all. It’s what they do. They lack self discipline and always allow their emotional outbursts to get the best of them.

You don’t have to beat them. They will beat themselves and all you have to do is snicker and mock them for defeating themselves before you had the chance to defeat them.

This is how our team has been viewed since Coach Gibbs ended his first tenure.


Do the owners, executives, coaches and players think that any fans will care a lick about how important they are to humanity when faced with economic collapse and catastrophic earth changes that affect our lives to the point that we no longer
care about going to the games or watching them or buying their merchandize for we have more important things to do like putting food on the table and making sure we have shelter over the heads of ourselves and our loved ones?

The Washington Redskins organization needs to put this in perspective. This is a game and life is more important but people have to enjoy their life which is why they turn to sports to escape from the problems they live with.

They don't want to have more problems put upon them by selfish and ungrateful individuals masquerading around like they're the heroes when in fact they are the a part of the greater societal menace that is destroying the world that we live in for
the simple fact that they think that they are more important than the rest of the inhabitants of this planet because they are part of an elite fraternity that entertains the masses for a living.

What about the fraternity that wants to save this planet and do so for free without publicity, empty hero worship and the accolades behind it?

Care to guess who is more important to the survival of the human species?

People flaunting their vanity at every opportunity? Or the ones who are quietly going about making a difference in the real world so that humanity can survive the difficult times that lay ahead and continue to enjoy its football Sundays?

There are noble ideals that are more important than money, fast cars, flashy clothes, tattoos and jewelry and without the active effort to uphold such ideals, nothing else is possible.

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