Last year: 10-6, NFC East champs, lost in Wild Card round
Acquisitions: Nick Barnett, Donte Stallworth, David Amerson, Darryl Tapp, Jeremy Trueblood
Departures: Cedric Griffin, Madieu Williams, Chris Cooley, Lorenzo Alexander, Brandon Banks
Vegas win total over/under: 8 1/2 wins
Five proposed new names for the Redskins:
– Red Pandas
– D.C. Cupcakes
Fan forecast, by Eric Sollenberger:
The 2012 Washington Redskins were a pleasant surprise. After pulling a classic ‘Skins move and mortgaging their future by trading away years of draft picks, they emerged with a decidedly un-Redskins outcome by going 10-6 and winning their first division title since 1999. And then Shanahan leaves Griffin in a game he had no business playing in, and here we are back at square one.
The Redskins were seemingly down for the count at the bye week sitting at 3-6, but managed to finish the season on an unexpected hot streak that has actually become standard operating procedure in the District. This is a team that has needed winning streaks of four, five, and seven games to get their only three playoff trips in the past decade. In perhaps the wortst postseason rivalry in NFL history, the Skins have been bounced by the Seahawks in all three appearances, rubbing salt in the wound of D.C. natives by getting beat by a Washington team with actual statehood. In fact the only playoff victory of the past 15 years has came against Chris Simms during a game in which the Redskins set an all-time record for most inept offense in a playoff victory and securing a spot just below “outdueling Rex Grossman in the Super Bowl” on the scale of postseason asterisks.
Considering our franchise QB is coming off of a postseason injury that might have been considered career-ending 25 years ago, there’s so much hope around the District these days. By all accounts RG3’s knee is ahead of schedule, there has been remarkable consistency in the coaching staff, and our division seems to be as open as its been in recent memory. Our defense is not bad, Alfred Morris is a great running back and one of the easiest athletes to cheer for, and when he’s healthy Robert Griffin might be the most electrifying player in the league.
But even the most optimistic of Redskins fans can’t help but think we’re playing on borrowed time. The Vinny Cerrato Super Volcano under FedEx field is long overdue for an eruption of a return where he will sign LaDanian Tomlinson to a 4-year contract and give Ndamukong Suh $200 million and a NOS-equipped Spyder 3-wheeler co-leased with Delonte West. Words can not describe the damage Vinny Cerrato did to this franchise because the Japanese haven’t invented a character combining bukkake, tsunami, and kamikaze yet. All it takes is for Bruce Allen to finish one spot ahead of Dan Snyder in the Ashburn racquetball ladder to send Danny Boy off the deep-end and launch the franchise into another full-fledged Cerracolypse.
And then there’s the name. I am a die-hard Redskins fan and I acknowledge that the name is unquestionably a racial slur but at the same time I, personally, don’t want the name to change because (I swear to God this is my rationale) it would be inconvenient for me. I’ve grown up rooting for the Redskins, it’s what I know. I own jerseys and have been to countless training camps with my dad, and cheered, cried, and attended Redskins games the day after my wedding for God’s sake. I don’t understand why most Redskins fans who don’t want the name changed have to become University of Phoenix-level history professors to convince themselves that the name was actually given to honor a certain group of Native Americans who wore red face paint on leap years. Or they bring out the tired argument that the name was created to honor their Native American coach (who was in fact a draft dodger who claimed the identity of a dead Native American in order to get out of serving in World War I) when he had only been the coach of the Redskins for months at the time. This is what happens when you get a group of people who are reluctant to change anything based exclusively on tradition, and they work backwards from their conclusion to find justification. All that said, if the name was changed, I would shrug and accept that this is a good thing, but for now I’m in the “passive dismissal of disrupting the status quo” realm of intellectual honesty and in true American fashion, I’m just waiting for whoever has the loudest rhyming catchphrase of an argument to convince me otherwise, but at least I’m honest about it.
Dan Snyder. Sweet Christ on a bike, Dan Snyder. There are usually at least three degrees of separation between the colossalness of the assholery of a NFL owner and on-field success during any given game, but you can get a true sense for how brainf*cked an owner is during a coaching search, and you would be hard-pressed to find any more vaudevillian hiring process than Dan Snyder’s typical January-March itinerary consisting of he and Cerrato drunkenly screaming “Who’s On First?” at each other in its entirety, in Pig Latin, cracking up and towel-whipping while Greg Blache looks for the nearest exit. Things got off to a promising start under Snyder’s tenure when he fired Norv Turner, but then Snyder discovered that Marty Schottenheimer was exactly as much of an asshole as he was, and from that point on it was just Danny being Danny.
I have a theory that Dan Snyder is trapped in a mental 1990-1998 time warp. He’s hired Marty Schottenheimer, Steve Spurrier, Joe Gibbs, and Mike Shanahan who have all accomplished jack shit since the third wave of ska, he’s the only person in the world who still has a Top Gun-era obsession with Tom Cruise, and the gameday sound buffet at FedEx features the Spin Doctors and Hum. I think it’s fair to point out that it’s during this mid-90’s era that Snyder enjoyed the only professional success of his life and in all likelihood he’s just trying to recapture his own glory years as much as he is the Redskins.
Least-talked about glaring issue in D.C.: PED suspensions. Five defensive players from the Redskins have been suspended for violating the league’s policy on performance enhancing drugs in the last two years alone. Once-promising pass rusher Brian Orakpo has had two consecutive season-ending pectoral tears which is precisely the type of injury you see from muscle-bound competitive bodybuilders who have grown their muscles far too big to be supported by their frame. There was the ominous Inside the NFL report years ago with Jon Jansen, former Redskins OT and noted broken-thumbed shover-of-people, where he speculated that 20% of NFL players used HGH when Jansen had only played for the Redskins. Maybe it’s indicative of the NFL as a whole, but the Redskins are clearly at the forefront of the NFL’s steroid problem. No superstars have been caught though, and even though there is no evidence whatsoever to suggest RG3 has taken anything to speed his ACL recovery, the progress that he and Adrian Peterson have made in back-to-back years is unprecedented. I can think of only a handful of people in the history of organized sports who would create a bigger PED media frenzy than RG3:
-Cal Ripken, Jr.
Obviously the Redskins outlook is directly intertwined with the stitches holding RG3’s knee together, with the mathematical consensus between my dog and me predicting that the Redskins will win .75 games for every game RG3 starts, and .38 games for every game Kirk Cousins starts, giving them a wide range between 6-12 wins this season. Rex Grossman will find a way to throw an interception this year. He just will. At this point there’s no more “good Rex” there is just “bad Rex” and “Mark Sanchez trying to hold a ball greased with all the sunscreen that Mike Shanahan has ever not-worn Rex.”
Oh, and it doesn’t exactly inspire confidence that their offensive coordinator has a Chris Simms tattoo on his leg. HTTR.