Down but not out...yet.
By: Les Barnhart
Category: Washington Redskins News
Whispers of this team quitting in that game became louder when Coach Spurrier went off after the game about the heart (or lack thereof) of this team. They then became shouts as Lavar Arrington sounded off as he questioned the determination and commitment of his teammates. While Spurrier later recanted his statements and played them off as comments made in the heat of the moment, Arrington stepped up and fired off once against about his teammate's lack of enthusiasm and intensity, something that Lavar thrives on.
All of this at a time when Redskin Park is embroiled in more controversy over bringing in consultants to help a team that with a roster packed full of (thus far) underachieving talent. The rap on last year's squad was that there wasn't the 'right personnel' on offense to fully implement the high-powered Spurrier offense, an offense dubbed "The Fun-n-Gun". So during the off-season, we raided the Jets like a band of pirates and played the free agent market with such prowess that even ESPN was lauding our performance. The team went into training camp with the slight swagger that is characteristic of Spurrier led teams. We heard stories about how this team was a closely-knit unit, a "must have" for a successful team. Arrington was quoted as saying that this squad was closer than any other unit he had played with, including his days at Penn State. Team unity just wasn't a question. Level of talent just wasn't a question. Oh how the times they are a changing....
The Redskins rolled into October with a 3-1 record and were living proof of the football adage that a team doesn't know how bad it is when they are winning. They were fortunate to catch the Jets without Chad Pennington and the fact that several of the Jets key players were sporting burgundy instead of green. The Falcons without Michael Vick are like soda left uncapped and the Redskins still struggled to dispatch them. They played a much better game against the Giants and showed great heart in battling back only to drop the game in overtime without even getting a sniff of the ball. This game should have been a Redskin win but they continued to dig themselves a hole with mindless penalties and lack of focus. The Redskins rebounded by beating the Patriots in another close game. Then the Redskins went calling in Philadelphia against a team that is inferior to the Redskins, but Washington proved to be their own worst enemy again as they gave the Eagles the victory and that is when the wheels started coming off this Redskin unit. They followed up the Eagles loss with a beat down at the hands of a Bucs team that was coming off of a demoralizing defeat of their own. This game wasn't pretty as Tampa Bay showed why they are still contenders for a Super Bowl repeat. Then came the debacle at Buffalo. So many things went wrong that it would be easier to say what was good about it. The only thing good about that game was that it ended.
The Redskins are in trouble. It sounds more and more like there is growing dissension in the front office and perhaps now the coaching staff. That will happen when you lose three in a row, not to mention the manner in which they have lost those games. They currently sit at 3-4 and are staring at a tough stretch coming out of the bye week. They face the Cowboys in Dallas next and if the Redskins don't start getting their house in order, they will be embarrassed by their archrival for the tenth time in eleven tries. That, my friends, just can't happen.
There is little that can be done to get players to play with intensity if they don't want to play. Benching only works if the players care and calling them out only works if the players respond. To this fan, neither seems to apply to this squad. A season and a team that at one time looked like it could be something special now stands at the crossroads without a map. If the team doesn't find a way to come together, we will again be spending the post-season talking about whom we should draft and go after in the free agent market to finally build the team we need to return to the "glory days". I don't know about the rest of you but I would rather leave that discussion to Bruce Springsteen.
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