I really don’t understand some of the backwards logic that Redskin fans tend to use some of the time… actually, make that a lot of the time. Here are some of the biggest fallacies that I see being repeated lately:
If the Redskins really suck, then Daniel Snyder will be forced to make a front office move…
What part of Snyder’s tenure leads you to believe this? Vinny Cerrato is and will always be, nothing more than a whipping boy; why would a fan assume that for some reason now, Cerrato is suddenly going to be held accountable for the team’s performance? Has he been held accountable yet?
When will fans see that Snyder has Vinny in place, as a convenient scapegoat. Snyder tells Cerrato what to do – but Vinny is the one that everyone points to, because he is the de facto general manager. In reality, the Redskins’ general manager is, and always has been, Daniel Snyder. The reason that Cerrato has a job is because he will stand idly by and collect a big pay cheque, in exchange for this false accountability.
And it is false accountability, because with such a dismal track record in Washington, anyone truly accountable, would have been fired ages ago.
Which leads to the next fallacy which is that if Snyder fires Cerrato, that he will somehow give up this stranglehold and actually let another GM run the team as they see fit. I find this one hard to swallow when for all intents and purposes, not even Joe Gibbs seemed to be able to earn that right. Marty Schottenheimer was fired for insisting on that kind of stroke; Steve Spurrier was hired for being oblivious to it.
Another huge fallacy is that this team is good on paper… why? About the only roster spots where we have a ‘top 5’ player are defensive tackle, tight end, and middle linebacker; if you throw on a slightly burgundy tinted pair of glasses, you could maybe add running back and left tackle. Our offensive line might have been okay with a healthy Randy Thomas, but without him, they’re average at best, and their depth is below average. Our secondary hasn’t shown any ability to shut down the pass, in fact, one could argue that their continued practice of lining up 10-15 yards from the line of scrimmage, is evidence of either their mediocrity, their lack of confidence, or both. There are 3 or 4 (often crucial) plays a game that the other team just takes advantage of way too big a cushion, and hits a receiver for 5 easy yards.
The defensive line is pretty good, and Haynesworth is as advertised when he’s in there – but they’re still not producing a lot of sacks. Brian Orakpo is the real deal, but just isn’t lining up with one hand on the ground often enough. He’s a decent enough linebacker, but he shows top 5 ability as a DE; it’d be nice to see him utilized as such, on more than third and long.
Our receivers aren’t bad, but they’re not scaring anyone enough to garner double coverage, and rarely stretch the field. It was great to see Moss bust out of a slump and put up a huge game against the Lions, but he doesn’t do it with enough consistency to be considered a top flight primary receiver. Malcolm Kelly and Devin Thomas give us potential, but as of yet, its just potential. There are dozens of receivers that are currently doing a better job week in and week out.
So if the stars aligned, and everything was right in the universe, then we COULD be a competitive team that could do some things.
But we aren’t.
And if you look at the team on paper, its actually pretty easy to see why we are a mediocre team year in and year out; because that’s what we are on paper.
On to another fallacy – that somehow this is Jim Zorn’s cross to bear. Well it is, but is that fair to him? There just aren’t many head coaches that could come in and make a Super Bowl contender out of an average corps of guys, let alone a team that is the oldest team in the league. Zorn didn’t get the job because of dazzling them at an interview – that’s why he got the co-ordinator job – he got the head coaching job when some of the other candidates preferred to not come to the Washington circus. You don’t hire co-ordinators before you hire head coaches either… somehow, there are fans that see only what they want to see. The truth of the matter is, Jim Zorn wasn’t ready to be a head coach and it’s showing. That isn’t an indictment of the guy, because it’s actually a tragedy that he was thrust into the fire like he has been. It could affect the longevity of his coaching career, and I think that in time, Jim Zorn could make a very good NFL head coach.
But he isn’t right now.
This laundry list is what fans of other teams, point to and guffaw at.
Which brings us to another huge point, that this team is hardly ‘respected’ amongst their peers. Fans point to things like Snyder ‘opening his pocket book’ as proof of his abilities, or merit as an owner. How many of them have been money well spent? How many more of them have been sexy, headline-grabbing signings that did little to ever warrant the gobs of cash that was thrown at them? The Redskins front office have now firmly established Washington as a place that players can come and get OVERPAID for their services. There are massive issues that arise from this type of environment… players come for the wrong reasons, teams use the Redskins’ desperation to write one-sided deals, and teams wait like vultures, to take advantage of the Redskins’ need to purge salary money every year.
The one thing that the Redskins ARE the absolute best team in the league at, is producing positive propaganda. The media’s slant is deplorable to the fan base, but I wonder if they’re really giving much thought as to why the relationships are all so tenuous? The Redskins limit access to a very select few, and yet, have an entire system in place to dictate what Joe Q. RedskinFan can get access to in terms of information.
This isn’t to rationalize or justify the callous way with which many of the news outlets seek out sexy paper-selling headlines, it serves only to provide the fan with a backdrop as to why they behave the way they do. In Washington, it seems the team hate the press, and the press hate the team, and the person who pays the price for the relationship, is the average fan. You get nothing but polar opposite biases, from both absolute ends of the spectrum. The news outlets are so ravenous and venomous that their slant is decidedly negative, and the team always has nothing but the most positive of outlooks. That leaves the average reader choosing a black or white scenario, in a very gray business.
And to bring me back to the point, the polar opposite reporting is what creates so many fallacies. The fan gets their fix from one place or the other and due to a human being’s natural instincts of ego and proving themselves right, they easily find a ‘source’ to back up their views. It is easier to fit into a select category, than go through the arduous procedure of actually taking EVERY news item to task.
In my opinion, the reality is that nothing being reported is any more than a sensationalized statement; none of which should be taken as ‘gospel’ so to speak. The fan now has the unenviable task of trying to find the gray in the black and white, or runs the risk of continuing to proliferate these existing fallacies.
It would seem from the results, that the average fan ISN’T capable of doing so.
I challenge you, nay I beg you, try to understand that it is difficult to point to any one news source, and view it as any more than ‘one side of the argument.’ While it is definitely easier to keep pointing to the side that you like better and claiming victory, it doesn’t make you right.
So I’ve laid out a few of the fallacies that I see… and they’re just personal opinions… the structure of the front office, the accountability of the front office, how good this team is or isn’t on paper… Jim Zorn’s accountability in it all… and the accountability of the media in it all.
Perhaps if Redskin fans start looking at some of these fallacies, and seeing them to be just that, then as a community we can at least start to see that the problems with this team are not singular. At least then there will be less senseless in-fighting and bickering about finding the ‘one thing wrong with the Redskins.’
There’s a lot wrong with the Redskins…
… and there aren’t any quick fixes.
More By Mark Solway
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