The Six Pack: Panic Attack
By: Stephen Zorio
Category: Washington Redskins News
1) The annual Washington Redskins Fans Panic & Picnic has come a bit early this season. The picnic was tremendous, even if I was the only one there. Again ... except for the kids who stopped to throw rocks ... again. Well, guess who has a whole room full of rocks now suckers? As for the panic, typically Redskins fans have the good sense to wait until week 3 (a.k.a. the week that reveals everything we need to know*) to call for change.
Not this year. No, a solid contingent of Redskins fans have gone the Mother Superior route and jumped the gun. Well, to be fair many of them picked up the gun and formed a firing squad with a variety of targets. Snyder, Cerrato, Zorn, Campbell, all found themselves in the not-actually-real cross hairs of many frustrated fans.
2) Here's the thing. I understand that frustration. I completely, totally and thoroughly understand that frustration. I didn't get to start watching the Redskins on TV until 1994, which, if you will recall (with a shudder) was the year Norval Turner arrived. I don't need to recap the interceding 17 seasons for you, save to say that "wow, that sucks [plus profanity]" far outweighed "hooray" in my vocabulary. Not only do I understand the frustration, it's pretty much all I know.
3) I am, often, accused of being a homer or irrationally optimistic or not invited to this party. WELL THEN DON'T LEAVE THE BACK WINDOW UNLOCKED. Sorry, got sidetracked. Here's the thing about me, I'm actually a pragmatic guy. I like to stay grounded in a certain degree of realism. I'm not an idiot (mostly), nor am I operating under some illusion that the Redskins have had some successes that were hidden from the rest of the league or that they are a model franchise. But what my pragmatism does allow me to see is some semblance of progress by this organization.
4) Many fans, my father included, believe the team will never achieve any measure of consistent success so long as Snyder is the owner. And there are legitimate concerns with Snyder but some of those concerns are, if not wrong, at least not currently accurate. He gets ripped for free agent splashes but, the Lloyd and Archuletta signings aside, the team has avoided disastrous free agency ventures for the better part of three seasons now. And, it's worth noting; free agent disasters are a league-wide phenomenon.
That isn't meant to excuse mistakes so much as it's meant to put them in context. He's made Cerrato the de facto (if not de jure) GM and while neither the name nor the arrangement is ideal to many of you, it's certainly better. Yes, I understand that you may be thinking, "Sure, it's better in the same way that losing a finger is better than losing an arm."
5) Fine, that's valid. I've come to recognize that where Snyder is concerned, some people are not going to be happy until he's gone. But given the very small likelihood of that, I prefer to see signs of growth from him as an owner rather than constantly railing against his almost inevitable reign as owner. This should not be taken as a defense of the man; I made that mistake once already.
There is a part of me that is fearful that Snyder will grow impatient with Zorn and blow this staff up as soon as he can get Cowher to start salivating with dollar signs. But it's also unfair to act as if this newest staff was Snyder's doing in that it came from a resignation. I would have opted for a greater degree of continuity with Gregg Williams, and I advocated for it, but he's gone. Jim Zorn strikes me as a savvy and bright coach. And, since he is the coach, I'd prefer to believe he can have some success than assume his failure is all but written in stone.
6) I think it's important to have perspective, to have the proper expectations for this team. It isn't the end of the world to lose a close game to the defending Super Bowl champions. It's stupid to suggest that nothing can work or people should be fired or benched based on that game. It isn't horrible if the team goes 7-9 or 6-10 and we get to see signs of progress on the field. It's just not realistic to expect this team to win a Super Bowl every season and especially this season**.
What I want most from this franchise is some stability. And it doesn't mean I have blinders on for me to see some evidence of that stability. It's not outside the realm of possibility to think that Snyder has learned from his mistakes as an owner. But it grows so tiresome to read and listen to the constant moaning and whining and anger.
I'm not suggesting that Snyder won't do something rash with this team. Trust me, it's not that I don't hate seeing the same stupid mistakes, the offense that plays like it's stuck in cement, the bad clock management, etc. But the team has played a grand total of ONE game. It doesn't suggest an inability on my part to see the larger picture or some ingrained naiveté. It's fair to say that unadulterated optimism is not equivalent to objectivity. However, that coin has two sides: unrelenting negativity is a sign of nothing more than a bias... and a decidedly boring one at that.
*That's why the Lions won the championship last year
**I would be exceedingly happy to be proven wrong here
PS I just saw an awesome commercial whose central theme, and I'm quoting here, was "Rat Free DC." It's one thing to have a rat problem; it is another thing entirely to spend money on a campaign to remind your residents that rats aren't exactly a selling point. I look forward to the "Crime: Knock That Off!" campaign.
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