What follows is an answer to the chorus of complaints from the legions of fans tired of being distracted by “sensible” analysis, backed by “facts” and “knowledge.” If you seek shelter from the twin storms that are “reality” and “logic,” then this is your port of call.
1) Sooooooo ... yeah ... about last Sunday. We suppose the only thing to ask at this point is whether we were the first Redskins fan to observe, sardonically, "well, this will make the fourth quarter comeback all that more impressive."
OK, it's far from the only thing left to ask.
2) We've read and heard and thought and hoped that a shellacking of that nature will be a wake-up call for the Redskins. That would be terrific save that we feel the Redskins, collectively, suffer from something that we personally experience each morning. When we need to set an alarm to wake up at a specified time, we always, 100% of the time have to use the annoying actual alarm rather than rising to the safe sounds of NPR.
The reason for this is that the shrill and unending beep-beep-beep-beep of the alarm is jarring enough to force us to heed its call. We hate it, but it is effective. NPR, which we love dearly, is comforting and is perfectly suited to our drive to and home from work. But we need the alarm to kick our lazy but out of bed. We wonder who on the Redskins is that alarm, or whether he exists.
3) We are conscious of avoiding any overly dramatic conclusions on the basis of A game or half of a season and we know the Pats are something of a statistical outlier. What we find worrisome is that the refrain of "well, THAT will be a wake-up call" is a familiar one. We said it here and we said it here, and we definitely thought it this time, and we were CERTAIN this would do the trick and so on and so forth.
4) The problem, as we see it, is that the wake-up calls never seem to last beyond the saying-the-right-things phase. We recognize that there are variables which are inherent to different seasons and different casts of characters, coaching shifts and quarterback changes, injuries and mismanagement. We fully appreciate how those things can adversely impact a season. It's just that the issue seems to be thematic rather than specific.
It just seems as if one of the few things we, as Redskins fans, are consistently doing is explaining or justifying or next-year-ing or this and
that and the other. We worry because we have a body of work to analyze at this point and, slice it however we like, it isn't successful.
Or, at least, it isn't consistently successful. We want to be clear that we are not calling this second reign of Joe Gibbs disastrous but, given the track record, it can not objectively be called triumphant either. Granted, that's a tough standard to reach but we are too lazy to look up a more fitting adjective.
5) We get the general impression that Joe Gibbs is a bit like NPR. He's been successful and players can rely on him and sometimes he says something that motivates them to do stuff. But what makes him valuable to his players is also what makes him relatively easy to ignore.
We're NOT suggesting players lack respect for the head coach, we just question whether, at this stage in his life and his career, he WANTS to be the alarm. We see that type of respect as something more befitting a grandfather and less an NFL head coach.
We do not for a second think he is being facetious or disingenuous when he talks about how much he loves his players and how much the losses hurt him. We question whether that bond is preventing him from, for lack of a better phrase, becoming a pain in the ass when it is necessary.
We experienced a range of emotions during the loss to the Pats but a (seeming) indifference was not one of them. We know Joe isn't a fire and brimstone guy but surely SOMETHING was going on there, some type of fire had to be lit while watching that, even a pilot light would have been nice.
But, we looked, and we didn't see that in his eyes. We saw resignation. We don't think Gibbs is a bad coach per se, we just question whether he still wants to be a coach period.
Getting beaten is one thing, taking a beating is something else entirely.
That's not to say we've given up on the team or any of that nonsense. However, we think it is time for Gibbs to strongly consider stepping into a role that allows him to build relationships with players without the stress inherent in coaching.
6) We would love, very much, for the team to roll through the rest of the season like men possessed. We would love to look back on this piece and chide ourselves for getting overly caught up in a loss. But we've adopted a new approach to being a fan this year, we make a concerted effort to stay detatched from the situation and force ourselves to swallow a dose of realism. And, thus far, reality doesn't taste very good.
Again, we'd be pleased to see everything work out for the best and for the good ship Redskins to right itself. But, as much as it pains us to say this, we're not certain we have the right captain.