The Six Pack: The Road Ahead
By: Stephen Zorio 
Posted: 2008-09-24
Category: Washington Redskins News
1) I have a confession: I cheat at minesweeper. I find even the easy version is too much for someone of my limited patience/intellect. I like to play the "custom" version wherein I make a huge board but I have only 10 mines ... it takes me about two clicks to win. Sometimes I still lose, which is pathetic. But here's why I am revealing that: when I play with the Redskins on video games, I rarely lose. Or at least I didn't before Madden required that I have 13 arms and nothing else to do for the next six months. But even when I did face the prospect of losing, I simply hit reset and started over ... or convinced a friend to leave the room and used their controller to my advantage. The point (yes, I have one) is that we, as fans, have to draw a line between the ideal and reality. Granted my basic refusal to adhere to that has crippled my dating life but, when it comes to sports, it really is the best way to approach things.

2) Ideally, the Redskins would be 3-0 right now with an offense that piled up points, a stifling defense that struck fear into the hearts of opposing quarterbacks and a special teams unit that pinned every returner on the one-yard line and never missed a kick. The reality falls short of that but I don't think it falls quite as short as some people might believe. Let's look at the facts: the Redskins are 2-1 having lost a road game to the now 3-0 defending champs and having managed home wins against some decent NFC teams. Jason Campbell has completed 65% of his passes, thrown four touchdowns, no picks and has a QB rating of 100.1. That rating, for the record, is a hair below Donovan McNabb and better than Brett Favre, Ben Roethlisberger and Eli Manning.

3) Does that mean things will stay that way? Probably not but it's a reason to be encouraged. The theme I keep returning to is one of progress, that's what we have with Campbell. Clinton Portis is 10th in the league in yards per carry and is tied for third, with a slew of other backs (including Brian Westbrook, Frank Gore and Willie Parker) with three rushing touchdowns. Santana Moss is tied for fourth in the league with 19 catches, ahead of the (freshly suspended) Plaxico Buress as well as Anquan Boldin, Larry Fitzgerald and Hines Ward. He's tied for third, with Terrell Owens, in receiving touchdowns and fourth in yards per game.

4) Folks, those are all stats from a brand-new offense, three games into the season. I know, as well as any of you do, that those numbers are probably going to take a hit. The team faces two very tough road games against the number four (Philly) and nine (Dallas) ranked defenses, in terms of yards allowed. But does anyone -- honestly -- believe this team would be facing anything less than an 0-5 hole under Joe Gibbs version 2 right now?

5) Regarding the next two opponents, it is worth noting that the Eagles defense has the second most penalties in the league and Dallas has surrendered 63 points in three games, albeit most of those in a certain Monday night game. It is also worth noting that on a purely amateur, gut instinct/probably wrong level I have told more than one person that I am "not sold" on the Eagles. In other words, bet everything you have on Philly. Make no mistake about it, these are two tough games against two good teams, my misgivings about Philly not withstanding. But, as opposed to last season, I don't see these as hopeless contests where the Redskins are doomed to play the role of whipping post.

6) On a somewhat unrelated note, it appears the Lions have finally realized that a 31-84 record is actually quite bad and have parted ways with Matt Millen. This is actually somewhat bad news since it means Millen will likely return to the broadcast booth. I take some pleasure in his failure because he always ripped the Redskins as a broadcaster and said unbelievably stupid things. When the Lions hired him, my father called me laughing and asked, "Did you see your favorite guy got a new job? Any predictions?" My reply: "Unmitigated disaster." But whenever you start to think the Redskins have it bad, look back over the past decade plus and ask yourself: Would I rather follow the Lions?
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