Sunday, January 13, 2013

Redskins Season Ends on a Frustrating, Sad Note.

With 7 minutes left in the game, I left my seat at FedEx, found my wife who was on the the concourse and said "I'm leaving". I refused to look back only hearing my wife jokingly saying "Can I come along too?".

I had made up my mind that it just wasn't the Redskins day. I can live with that. The Redskins exceeded any expectations I had of them. I guessed a 7-9 season and hoped for a 9-7 season. They went 10-6, swept the Eagles and Cowboys beat the Giants at home (SCREW YOU JOHN MARA and ROGER GOODELL) and won the NFCE. Anything in the playoffs beyond what they had already done in the regular season was just gravy for me.

What left me so volatile to the point of my wife taking the car keys away from me to prevent me getting road rage on the way out of FedEx was seeing the face of the franchise in a crumpled heap on the dirt. I've seen it before, hell I've been there before as an athlete. It's not good.

What made it infuriating was that I saw the 2013 season flash before my eyes and it felt that everything the Redskins accomplished in 2012 just was flushed down the drain.

And yes, Mike Shanahan in the end is at fault for the mistake of leaving a injured player in the game. I'm not going to even suggest the idiotic notion of firing Shanahan but that doesn't mean that I'm not pissed for playing a QB who clearly seemed to not be right and eventually blew out his knee.

The first paragraphs that I wrote above was the night post game or the next day after. I've had almost a week to think, hear about the ACL/LCL surgery and hear every prognosis from every doctor, every fan and every media head. In the end I'm torn (NOT TRYING A PUN HERE) on what was the right call. I can see it from both sides although with what happened, the right call would have been to pull RGIII and hope Kirk Cousins could put some points up to save the game.

Of course Mike Shanahan was hoping for some RGIII magic and RGIII was not going to leave the field. Most athletes can relate to this situation. You are competitive, you're in a one and done scenario in front of the home crowd and you don't want to lose or let anybody down. You're full of adrenaline and at the moment you believe that you are the best option for your team at that position. In a sense I can relate to RGIII's mindset, because something similar happened to me during my senior year playing football.

(CUE THE AL BUNDY IMAGE!!!!)
(Sadly, every time I talk about my HS football days, I think of Al Bundy)
I hurt my knee in my last season (thanks to some bastard safety cheap shoting me in my knee with his helmet on purpose while I was blocking a DE on a play. Everytime my knee gets sore and I limp I think of you you a-hole.). I kept playing on it despite it swelling up and my dad making makeshift braces to try and help it. It got so bad that I couldn't explode off the ball when I came out of my three point stance. More or less I was playing on one leg. In our final game, the coaches tried to sub me out for another OT and and I told the guy to get off the field. Finally, they benched me. It wasn't until then that I realized that I couldn't help the team. That was my last game of "real" football.

So I know RGIII wasn't going to come out. Shanahan and co. may  have had to physically put him on the bench when he initially re-injured the knee to get Cousins in the game. Robert would have been pissed just like Strasburg was when Mike Rizzo and Davey Johnson shut him down but as a coach you have to deal with that.

I'm not a Shanahan hater as some of the Redskin fans would call the anti-Shanny contingent of our fan base. Matter of fact, I was dead set on Shanahan given the full five years or I was going to take a long break from the Redskins tired of seeing another coach leaving and another one coming in. That said, I think he made a critical error that at best will cost our franchise the off-season and possibly training camp and some of the regular season. Griffin was limping, he couldn't plant on the bad leg and his throws were way off the mark (which for RGIII is not common when he's healthy).

Still, it's a tough call for Shanahan. If he puts in Cousins and Kirk fails, then the media bashes him for not leaving RGIII in. RGIII meanwhile is called a coward and soft by the same media, the fans and even some of his peers. Griffin stays in and blows out his knee and yet the same people now go after Shanahan for keeping him in and Griffin for not being honest about his struggles with the knee.

It's not easy being a head coach in the NFL and guys like Mike Shanahan have a much tougher skin than I could ever have (which explains why he makes $7 million a year coaching the 'Skins and while I type a fan blog that maybe 12 people will read). It's a tough call and I think would have been an even tougher choice to make when you're trying to win a playoff game at home.

In the end, what's happened has happened and instead of blaming, I am dreading this off-season with every update giving me either a sense of hope or a deep sense of dread. Where last off-season I was optimistic about the future, this year I am concerned.

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