Final Preseason Game
1. New Look Redskins .... LOOK GREAT!
The past several years have been difficult for Die Hard Redskin Fans. We have almost been conditioned to 'not get our hopes up too high.' Year after year of disappointing seasons, we've grown crusty and tired of losing. We've become Draft experts, personnel directors and capologists, searching for any way we could help our team to win again. When Joe Gibbs led the Redskins to Championships, he lead us to believe that the Redskins belonged at the top. Last Saturday night, the new-look Redskins looked good. So good, in fact, that the Redskin faithful have been granted a pardon from our gloom. This fan feels we have found our way back into the position of being legitimate contenders, back at the top... where we belong. After two incomplete passes and an interception, this season had the makings of seasons past. But something happened in Japan that night. Something we all saw and felt. Like your dog finding it's way home after being lost for what seemed like far too long. Redskin Fans have been given a gift, a new lease on life, a fresh start and perhaps most importantly...hope. Fun is back, and so are our Washington Redskins!
Watching the faces of Steve Spurrier and Marvin Lewis on the sidelines was remarkable. Both men, in their own ways, showed great intensity. I'm sure they knew this was "only" a preseason game. Still, there was a real sense of urgency, a sense of rhythm and a raw poise in every person on the Redskins' sideline. It all starts with those two fearless leaders. There is a passion for winning and a sparkle in each man's eye. It became contagious and spilled over onto the field. Confidence was flowing like... well, like Gatorade. It looked like the players could feel the confidence their coaches had in them. This is more than some new coaches, some new players, new uniforms and new helmets. This is a new Redskins' sideline.
3. It Starts With Dubya
Excuse me Mr. President, there is a "new" dubya in town. Danny Wuerffel has been called any number of things in his six years in the NFL. After winning the Heisman Trophy as a member of the Florida Gators, Wuerffel hasn't experienced success in the NFL...until one Saturday night in Japan. Wuerffel had a wonderful night. He threw the ball extremely well. Long, short, dump offs, side-armed - you name it, Danny Wuerffel did it. Wuerffel marched the team down the field and into the endzone with ease. Then he did it again, and again, and again. Now, President George W. Bush certainly has the title Dubya - for now. But if Wuerffel continues to roll, you may be seeing Wuerffel for President signs in November.
4. WR's : How many can we keep?
Those worried we didn't have enough talent at wide receiver are now asking, "How many can we keep on the roster? Jaquez Green and Rod Gardner look to be the starters at this point. But a herd of players are vying for playing time and roster spots. Perhaps most impressive so far, are a pair of receivers who had been relatively unimpressive in seasons past. Derrius Thompson showed good hands, good speed and playmaking ability in Japan. Darnerian McCants certainly made the most of his opportunities too. Kevin Lockett and Reidel Anthony have more experience in the NFL but they will be pushed for playing time by the youngsters. Add Chris Doering and Justin Skaggs to the list of contenders and you have eight players trying to fit into six roster spots.
5. Carpe Diem
A few more young players chose to seize the opportunity to showcase their talents on defense. Del Cowsette looked like a man among boys against the 49'ers reserves. A former wrestler, Cowsette has exceptional speed and quickness, combined with leverage and determination. Cowsette has certainly heard and read about concerns for lack of depth at the DT spot for the past several months. I think he made his case to be at least a backup, maybe even working his way into the rotation at DT. Until Saturday, I must admit I'd never heard of Ladarius Jackson, but I'm pretty sure we haven't heard the last of him. Jackson showed excellent quickness and an explosive first step from the DE position. They say timing is everything, and Jackson seems to be an able bodied DE at the right time. Last, but not least is Tim Engelhardt. Engelhardt can play at either the DT, or the DE position. He recorded a sack late in the game after hustling around the end. His versatility may earn him a roster spot. Also, linebacker, Donte Curry showed excellent speed around the ball. While the LB corps is stacked, he could find his way on to the roster as well.
6. Winners and Losers
We're not supposed to make too much out of a preseason game victory. Then again, there is a scoreboard. At the end of the night, it read: Redskins 38 49'ers 7. While it may be a stretch to declare a winner in a meaningless game, there was most certainly a loser and his name is: Steve Mariucci. The head coach of the 49'ers was fuming after the game, feeling the Redskins had "run up the score" on his team. Starters or reserves, preseason or not preseason, the 49'ers were trounced. Mariucci's club seemed ill-prepared for the game and embarrassed by the loss. Whining about a team "running up the score" in a preseason game is like calling the manager over to complain that a video game "cheated" and you want your money back. Mariucci snipped, "We'll see you in six weeks," to Redskin players and coaches after the game. The Redskins may become the most 'circled' team on NFL calendars before the year is out.
This article was released on 2002-08-06.
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