When this season started, the Redskins were not expected to win the Super Bowl. Nor were they expected to even make a run deep into the playoffs. They weren't considered among the favorites to win the NFC East. Hell, they were considered by many to have had a successful season if they went 8-8. This was accepted for several reasons, mainly because the Redskins have a coach and a starting quarterback in just their second NFL season.
The NFL pundits had it right from the start. This team with all the free agent acquisitions would go through their growing pains and they would struggle under the current coaching regime because they lacked the experience necessary to carry the players through the grueling seventeen week NFL season. The Redskins coaching staff is the most inexperienced coaching staff in the NFL. The margin between them and the next staff is frightening. But then again, it does explain the team's current situation.
Steve Spurrier was brought into Washington with all the pomp and circumstance that could be mustered. He said all the right things and promised to return the Redskins to the playoffs. He said that if in three years he couldn't turn this team around the way he thought it should be, he would turn over the reigns to someone else and he would head back to his beloved golf courses. He promised to bring the famed "Fun-N-Gun" to the NFL and make Redskins football exciting once again. Well, a funny thing happened on the way to the end his second season at the helm of the Redskins. Spurrier was given a team in his first season that was full of leftovers and dead weight from previous regimes and salary cap mistakes. After plodding through that season without the weapons needed to implement the prolific "Fun-N-Gun", the off-season was filled with so many free agent signings and roster moves that Redskins fans were constantly watching the sports tickers to see the next move made by the front office. The team that would be fielded in 2003 had the makings of a good ball club. Here is where the coaching staff behind Spurrier has failed him.
When Spurrier left the sunny beaches of Florida and headed to Washington he brought with him many of the coaches that had helped him attain the incredible success he had at the collegiate level. Initially this move makes sense because they know the system and each other as well they should. It also speaks to the loyalty that Spurrier has for his coaching staff. Now, as we close in on the end of the second and worst season for Spurrier, he has seen the error in bringing such little experience to the next level. He has stated that he will be making changes in his coaching staff. Hopefully this means bringing in some much needed NFL coaching experience which will only help Spurrier continue to mature as an NFL coach. Spurrier is not a stupid man and he knows that his team needs help. That help will be sought in the off-season and it will be very interested to see who will entertain thoughts of coaching under Spurrier.
The fans of the Redskins have grown restless with the team. First it was the hatred for owner Dan Snyder. Now it is the calls for Spurrier's head because he has failed to deliver this team to the playoffs in his second season. Now you can blame Spurrier or you can blame Snyder for all the Redskins misfortunes but don't act like these disappointing seasons are being taken lying down. I don't know if you can find an owner and a coach of the same team that are as competitive or focusing on winning more that Snyder and Spurrier. Sure, the results have not show up in the category that means the most: wins and losses, but that doesn't mean they won't either. Spurrier asked for three years and maybe that was a na´ve on his part, but I have to respect a man who knows that if isn't working, don't waste the time of those around you. I refuse to call (as many fellow fans have) Spurrier a failure as an NFL coach. I think the comparisons between he and coaches like Bill Parcells or Joe Gibbs are simply unfair. Spurrier is in his second season without a supporting cast of coaches while the Gibbs we compare him to was the one who had years of experience. The Parcells comparison is unfair as he is something that may never be seen again. Call him and the success he is having with the Cowboys the exception to the rule.
While many have seen enough of Steve Spurrier, I for one, am willing to ride this storm to see if Spurrier can bring this team back to where we all want it to be. If he can't do it, I trust that Snyder will get the best candidate that money can buy to fill Spurrier's shoes. I will give Spurrier the time he asked for if for no other reason, to get the much needed continuity for a franchise that is in desperate need of some.
Be sure to come back next week to check the view from the Cheap Seats...
This article was released on 2003-12-24.
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