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Thank You Redskins/Next Year: Dessert

It’s not game 5 of the NLDS with the Nats, but it is going to hurt for a while. I’m not expecting anyone to get over this any time today. The Washington Redskins are no longer in the 2013 NFL Playoffs. All I can say is THANK YOU SKINS.

It was disappointing being at the game, it was even more disappointing watching the highlights at home. That’s the thing about not having the commentators and camera operators showing you the bigger picture. Aside from the hobbling on the nine-yard run, I had no idea that Griffin was having issues on the field. I didn’t see Griffin being taken back to the examination room in the first quarter.

When I learned about all this, how could I not get madder than I already was? Why didn’t Shanahan take Griffin out right there? Why not put Kirk in the game with a 14-3 lead? I know that Griffin said he could go and Shanahan liked the idea of keeping the better man in, but this all goes back to Griffin being OUR FRANCHISE quarterback in his first season. We might have been in a “win or go home” situation, but the kid is in his first year of his pro career that we are hoping for another 10+ years in. Kirk could have kept the lead and I think he could have won that game for us. Now Griffin has a partially torn LCL and some tear in the ACL as well. Griffin will be under the knife today in the start of his complete reconstruction of his knee. This is the second major surgery he will be going through in the same knee since his playing days in Baylor.

Either way, what’s done is done. The season is over and I am not mad at all that it is. When this season started, I had us going .500 and our team goal being to beat that by winning 10-games. The Redskins exceeded my expectations. They may have started really shaky with the 3-6 start before the bye, but they finished strong. They saw their opportunity with the NFC East lapsing around them. The coaching staff got better in terms of decision-making, the team came together to produce the number one rushing attack in the NFL and they took advantage of the remaining schedule to win the division.

For this reason, I want to thank the Redskins organization. Griffin said it best last night, “We actually got a chance to sit at the dinner table and experience success, and it was a good meal, but now we want to go back and get dessert, and we’ll be ready to get dessert next year.”

You guys gave us a good season this year and we are all looking forward to the 2013 season opener.

LET’S GO CAPS! (NHL lockout ended just in time, I thought we were going to have to depend on the Wizards to entertain us now)

P.S Shout out to all those fans that are Redskins’ HATERS that were waiting for the clock to hit 0:00 to post all these dumb pictures and posts, these pictures are for you from our loyal fans.

On behalf of @FmWSl we want to wish Robert Griffin III good luck on his surgery today and a speedy recovery.

HTTR

NFC East: The Final Week

It’s pretty simple at this point; win and you’re in. Despite the late season hot streak the Skins produced these final 6 games, it just wasn’t enough to just walk-in to the playoffs in their first relevant season in years. On this Sunday December 30th, before the year comes to an end, it’s going to be a showoff on a flexed Sunday Night Football game between the biggest rivalry in the NFL for the NFC East division; the Washington Redskins and the Dallas Cowboys!

The season started off REALLY shaky. First a big win in New Orleans that exposed how hard the season was going to be for the Saints following the bounty gate followed by two controversial losses that were close but affected by stupid penalties at the end of the game. From that point the team went a TOUGH 2-4 prior to the week 10 bye.

Going into the bye the team brought a lot of attention from a post game conference with Mike Shanahan, following a loss to the then 1-6 Carolina Panthers. Shanahan announced in the conference that from that point on the team was “playing to see who obviously is going to be on your football team for years to come.”

After a day of criticism by the media for what he said, Shanahan “clarified” what he meant by his comments that Sunday with ESPN.com, saying that his comments were not a form of forfeiture, that, “To insinuate that I was giving up on the season is completely ridiculous. We’ve got five NFC East games still on the schedule, and anytime you have division games, you have a great chance.”

From there it was like a Cinderella story. The Redskins won the next 6 games and with the help of the division leaders, the New York Giants, became the leaders for the NFC East division championship. Despite the impressive run after the bye week, the Skins are going to have to extend that with a win Sunday to win the division and guarantee the playoffs.


Redskins In’s to make it to the playoffs:

As we said before, if Washington can win the game on Sunday then they are in. No if, and or buts about it. WIN and you’re IN.

Fortunately the streak did provide an advantage in one way. In the event that Washington loses on Sunday, then we will have an opportunity to get in. Additionally the flex of the game from a 1pm game to the Sunday Night Football game at 8:20pm provides us with the knowledge if we will clinch the playoffs before our game.

 

The Bears are at the Lions for a 1pm game followed by the Vikings game at home against the Packers that was flexed to 4:25. Luckily due to the controversial game involving the replacement refs in their last week that gave Seattle a win over Green Bay and the 49ers still in the mix, the Packers will still be playing for a first round bye instead of having the chance to bench and rest their starters. If the Bears and the Vikes both lose, the Redskins will clinch the playoffs despite the outcome of the NFC East showdown. The only thing that will be played for then is the division and higher seed, therefore the home field advantage. If either the Vikes or Bears win, the only chance the Skins have at post-season play is by winning the game and division Sunday night.

To make things as easy as possible, JUST WIN.

Giants IN to make it to the playoffs:

For the defending Super Bowl Champion New York Giants, the NFC East division title is no longer within reach. However, they still have a possibility of getting the last wild card spot in the NFC playoffs.

After another late season collapse in which the Giants let a three game lead in the division slip away, New York must win their regular season finale against one of the most disappointing teams in the NFL this season, the Philadelphia Eagles. Prior to the season the Eagles had Super Bowl aspirations, but injuries and bad play have contributed to their losing record. In the last six games, rookie Nick Foles was at the helms of the team as the starting Quarterback following the benching of Michael Vick, but Vick will make his return tomorrow as Nick Foles broke his hand last week against the Skins.

Since beginning the season 6-2, New York has been widely inconsistent over the past two months. Convincing wins over the 49ers, Packers and Saints had many fans and analysts believing the Giants were the best team in the NFL, but following blowout losses to the Falcons and Ravens, the Giants season was pretty much put in perspective. Being outscored 67-14 in two games that had to be won has left “Big Blue” nation wondering if Coughlin has lost the team. Last year the Giants faced a similar situation, but were able to win the last two games of the season against the Jets and Cowboys to win the NFC east title. Once they reached the postseason they did what they did best and were able to make it to the Super bowl as the under dogs  where they defeated the New England Patriots for the championship. This year’s team has been unable to win those pivotal games down the stretch and has left their post season fate in the hands of other teams.

Last week the NFL talked about expanding the playoffs from 12 teams to possibly 14 or 16. This scenario could have helped the Giants chances this season in possibly making it into the post season. They would have still needed some help from other teams but they would have only needed one team to lose instead of three.

For New York to make the playoffs tomorrow they must first and foremost defeat the Eagles. From there they will need the Lions to defeat Chicago and Green Bay to defeat Minnesota, just like the Skins would like. Lastly they must wait for the Sunday night game when the Redskins and Cowboys play in which they need Washington to beat Dallas.

Cowboys IN to make it to the playoffs:

There isn’t any other option here; Dallas can only win the NFC East championship to punch their ticket into the playoffs.

An early season favorite to make a solid playoff run is battling a team that headed into the bye week with a season pretty much over is now the highlight of this week’s match-ups. This game is for all the chips, all the marbles, its win or go home for the Cowboys and if they lose, this loss would be Texas sized.

It all comes down to the final week 

Today will be an eventful day from the jump. The Giants’ fans will be watching their game at 1pm, as well as watching the Chicago game as their season’s fate can be judged by the 4pm games. Depending on how those games result, all eyes will be on that flexed Minnesota at Green Bay game. However it will all come down to the Sunday Night showdown, Robert Griffin III and the Washington Redskins vs. Tony Romo and the Dallas Cowboys.

Have a wonderful Regular Season Finale everyone!

HTTR

Captain Kirk: Skins/Browns Wrap-up

With the 102nd pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, the Washington Redskins selected quarterback Kirk Cousins.

At the time, the pick was scrutinized because the team had already drafted Robert Griffin III with the second overall pick of the draft. Most people thought Washington should have used the pick on an offensive lineman or a defensive back. Last week against the Ravens and this week against the Browns made us realize why we leave the football decisions up to Bruce Allen as the General Manager. After Cousins’ first back-up role in week five against the Falcons, I think I speak for everyone that we were worried about his second chance in last weeks Beltway matchup against Baltimore, especially since it was following the view of Griffin taking that nasty shot to the knee. Cousins was driven to shut all that down though as he came into the game to lead the Skins to an overtime win.

Cousins wasn’t sure if he would get the start heading into Cleveland with RG3 still dealing with his LCL strain. Kirk said he would “prepare as if he was going to start Sunday’s game”. He approached that the right way, as team doctors were not medically clearing Griffin. The team announced Saturday night that Cousins would get his first NFL start. RG3 would be inactive and Rex Grossman would be the second string qb.

Cleveland was coming in on a three-game winning streak and Washington needed the victory to continue their late season playoff push. Coming in with the possibility of Griffin being out, the Skins knew they would have to change the offense to a degree. The option and pistol offense are suited for Griffin’s athleticism, so the Redskins would have to run more of a traditional offense Sunday.

In the opening series Cousins started off shaky, completing one of his first six passes and throwing an interception that lead to a Trent Richardson touchdown, giving the Browns first blood. From then on Kirk settled down with offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan dialing up some great play action calls that Kirk executed perfectly. Cousins connected on a 54-yard touchdown pass with second year receiver Leonard Hankerson for his first score of the game. The pass was perfectly thrown between three Browns defenders in triple coverage, allowing Hankerson to fall down, get back up and walk into the end zone.

The cameras showed an excited RG3 cheering his teammates on from the sidelines the whole game.

The second half came with Cousins continuing his excellent play. With the running game starting to be effective with rushing touchdowns from both Alfred Morris and Evan Royster, Cousins continued with great execution on the play-action. The defense played well throughout the game as well, coming up with key interceptions off Browns’ rookie Quarterback, Brandon Weeden. Cousins finished the game 26-37 passing for 329 yards and two touchdowns in the Redskins’ 38-21 victory. He has been nominated for NFL Rookie of the week, competing against the three rushing touchdowns and one passing performance of Russell Wilson in Seattle.

This game demonstrated the huge improvement in the quarterback position in this year’s team over the last years. We had to endure Rex Grossman and John Beck for 16 games last season, each backing each other up at one point. With the win and the Giants’ loss, Washington moved into first place in the division with the tiebreaker. With a Washington win and a Giants’ and Cowboys’ loss this week, the Skins can clinch the division, making the last game against the Cowboys irrelevant. However the easiest way to approach the situation is by winning out the last two games against Philly and Dallas.

This would be Washington’s first division title since 1999. You can see it’s been a while since Washington has had a home playoff game. That team was lead by Brad Johnson with Norv Turner as our head coach; RG3 was only 9 years old at the time.

A home playoff game in Washington would mean so much to Skins Nation and I’m sure the fan base would be in frenzy the entire week. The Redskins have already sent out playoff ticket opportunities to the season ticket holders with the opportunity for everyone else at the end of next week. The tickets, already pricey, are going to skyrocket by the resellers. Even so, I would be willing to pay an arm and a leg to witness my first Redskins home playoff game.

Sunday’s Mission: Beat Philly.

HTTR

 

A Scare in DC – The Skins/Ravens Wrapup

“The city is crying right now…”  @fmwsl tweet – 12/9/12- 3:58 pm

My view on TV was one of the most horrific moments I have ever witnessed in real time. Robert Griffin III, the ROOKIE Redskin Quarterback who we invested in so much, has went down on what looked like an ugly hit on to his knee. As the play came to an end, my insides jumped at the sight of Ravens’ safety Bernard Pollard waving over the Redskins’ staff. The scene reminded me of the Joe Theismann hit back in 1985. Pollard waving over the Redskins looked just like when Lawrence Taylor called over the 85’ staff on that historic Monday night.

That game proved to be Joe Theismann’s final game of his career. One of the most gruesome moments in Redskins’ history was being relived at that moment and we didn’t even know the extent of the injury. Now the replays proved to show a nasty hit on Griffin, but nowhere near as ugly as Theismann’s hit. The way Griffin’s knee jerked back as his leg was hit was very scary, but if that hit was put on anyone else I don’t think we would have been as worried. But the fact is that it was ROBERT GRIFFIN III, our FUTURE. That’s what made us all so worried.

On the run, you have to admire the intent in Griffin running back into the field on a second-and-long attempt to get a first. He was just trying to get the team in position to continue the drive. I love that he did it, but I don’t ever want to see it again. He has got to take the yards he is getting and run the ball out of bounds. I heard a caller on the Lavar show yesterday talking about how he thinks that Griffin doesn’t know how to slide; I got to say I agree.

As Griffin walked off the field, our fears began to calm down. He was limping a little, but walked off on his own free will. At this point I am beyond relieved, but I was already saying that he better no come back in the game. We invested everything in this kid and the fact that it is a knee injury alone would not encourage my bet, but the fact that it is a knee injury on a Quarterback whose legs is such a threat and asset in his game? I would have had him sent to the locker room right away for x-rays and MRI’s. This is why I was so livid when he returned back into the game after one play.

The decision may have helped us win the game as Griffin came back in and went 2-4 for 37-yards, setting the team up in the red zone (before penalty), however the risk just didn’t cut it for me. Griffin started off looking good on his first completion and walking back up to the line, but after the second completion to Pierre Garcon in which Griffin showed off his strong arm, he turned on his left leg to avoid landing on his right and then hobbled up to the line. The rushed play ended up being a botched snap and thrown away for an intentional grounding call. This was the last play for Griffin as he dropped to the ground because of the pain he was enduring.

Enter: Captain Kirk Cousins.

In Kirk’s first play where he came in for one play and then came back off for Griffin to re-enter, Cousins threw a pass on third-and-6 that was incomplete. Fortunately there was a pass-interference call that continued the drive. In Cousins next outing is when he looked good. Starting on the 26-yard line, Cousins went 2-2, finding Garcon in the front corner of the end zone on a play that he extended with a slide step out of the pocket that was collapsing in front of him. Kirk’s outing was capped off with a quarterback draw to convert on a two-point conversion and take the game into overtime. The exceptional play calling throughout the game was highlight with this draw that no one seen coming, especially the Ravens.

Kirk didn’t have to do much in overtime as the special teams did the dirty work. After a opening series by the Ravens offense that led to a punt, rookie DB Richard Crawford returned the ball for 64-yards to the Baltimore-24. This put Kirk in the position to hand off the ball two times and leaving the football on the foot of Kai Forbath, who continued his perfect season with a 34-yard field goal to win the game.

With a win to celebrate a bittersweet game, the Redskins still had to wait for news on Griffin.  The initial x-rays and MRI’s were performed right away and the good news was that there was no structural damage that would be seen. This was the biggest relief, however the team had to wait until Monday to due a full analysis and diagnose the injury. Technically Griffin wasn’t out of the woods yet.

Everyone waited until the 3pm press conference yesterday to hear the news from Mike Shanahan and the news turned out to be good. Griffin has been diagnosed with a level one Lateral Collateral Ligament (LCL) strain.

Shanahan has ruled Griffin as questionable, giving us no type of hint whether he will play Sunday against the Browns.

After doing some research on the actual injury and listening to these sports fans that are Doctors on these sports talk shows, the injury looks like it will be more pain than actual damage. I’ve read that the injury period should at least be three weeks long, which in NFL time where they have all these resources could be half that time or less. That being said, ideally Griffin will be ready for Sunday. Now that we can see that he should be ready, the question is SHOULD HE PLAY? If it was up to me, I would say no.

The team is in midst of a race for a playoff spot. Both the division and the wild cards are in reach and I think a lot of people can agree that the only reason we are contenders is because of Griffin. Griffin has led us to 7-6 so far and on a four-game winning streak. He brings us an advantage that no other quarterback can give us. So why wouldn’t I want to play him if he can go?

Griffin is in the rookie year of an expected decade that we are hoping from him. In just one year he has lifted the team back to relevance (refer to the previous post by guest writer Kevin Cash). We have invested so much into this kid; the idea that we should risk his career is ridiculous. I’m a gambling man. I will bet on card games, fantasy sports (I got kicked out of the playoffs this past week, thanks Ryan) and on sports, but this is something I would never risk. This is just like the Stephen Strasburg argument we had this past MLB season with the Nats. Granted that may have led to us losing in the NLDS, but because we made that decision we prevented Stras from any injuries this season.

We need to do the same with Griffin for THIS WEEK. I am not saying that we need to bench Griffin for the season, just saying we should risk him this week. Give him the extra week to recover. Get him closer to 100% with the last two games that are against the division instead of risking him in a game against an AFC opponent that can’t hurt us in terms of tiebreaker. It’s better to lose a game that would only hurt us in the overall record than losing him for two games that can affect us in every category. A lot of people wouldn’t agree with my ideology on the last three games because an overall loss can ruin the season right away, but ill take the loss over Griffin getting hurt and risking the season if not his career. It’s a knee people.

Kirk Cousins looked shaky in the game against Atlanta earlier in the year, but Sunday’s game has really shown me that he can handle this task. The team may sacrifice the mobility of the quarterback that helped our rank 1st rushing attack, but Alfred Morris is ranked 4th in rushing by himself. With the continued exceptional play calling like they have these past two weeks by Kyle and Mike, I think Kirk can run an effective offense against a Cleveland Browns’ team whose record doesn’t do them justice. The keys to this game are really going to be the front seven that need to stop Trent Richardson early. This may sound like a stretch, but we need to force Brandon Weeden to throw the ball against our 31st ranked pass defense. I think they will have a good day against Weeden.

In the broader picture, the Redskins are still in running for a playoff spot. Unfortunately the Giants and Seahawks blew out their opponents and the rest of the teams in the hunt won their games, so basically we are in the same place we were last week. The good thing is aside from the Seahawks and us, everyone in the picture has some tough match ups that could workout in our favor.

We continue to control our future, so the primary concern needs to be to continue doing that.

HTTR

From Riches to Rags Back to Riches:

…The Road to Returning the Redskins to Relevance
 

A Piece by Guest Writer, Kevin Cash (@TheRealKACash)

Most fairy tales start off “Once Upon a Time,” and those are usually the good ones. In today’s society most Washingtonian sports fans often start off conversations about their beloved hometown teams with those exact words. For the most part, as of late there has been little to celebrate and much of our glory is located in the past in a land far, far away.  In comparison to fairy tales Washington sports teams have been much like Snow White, Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella. The preceding Disney Princesses share the bad luck, poison, dormancy and just plain ol’ misfortune of the teams located in the Nation’s Capital. But as of late one player has taken the Washington Redskins’ organization, the NFL and the sports world by storm, that player is Robert Griffin III…RG3.  Most recently Griffin has developed quite the following and as it pertains to those fairy tales now is the time the fairest of them all is revealed, the team that has been lying dormant for years has awoken and that glass slipper fits.

The Redskins were once a storied franchise and during the 80’s and 90’s had their fair share of fame and title runs, but over the last two decades the team has fallen into a place of mediocrity at best. Years being at the bottom of the NFC East, constant overspending in the offseason that doesn’t pan out in the regular season and an owner who found himself in the crosshairs of irate fans loyal to the burgundy and gold. To be honest I don’t know when the franchise really hit rock bottom, maybe it was the second coming of Joe Gibbs when we saw a coach who the game had clearly passed by, or the hiring of Jim Zorn, a quarterback coach bumped up to a head coach after a worthy candidate couldn’t be found or maybe even way before that. All I know was the Redskins were bad and for a while it was looking like things would be getting worse before they got better. There are 2 things that are essential to a successful football team: 1.) a good quarterback and 2.) a good head coach and for a long time the Redskins had neither. We saw the likes of Tony Banks, Heath Shuler, Gus Frerotte, Shane Matthews and Patrick Ramsey. There are a few more names I could type but my blood is boiling just going down the list. The motto was true for the Redskins when they say “the team takes on the identity of the coach” because they were indeed washed up has-beens.

Daniel Snyder purchased the team in 1999 and in the infant and grade school years of his ownership made all the football related decisions, employed Vinny Cerrato as the Vice President and the downward spiral had begun. Neither knew much about football and it showed, often signing players who were stars in other places but clearly past their prime when they got here. Big paydays in free agency with no payoff on the field had been the case so much that the Redskins were given the nickname the “off-season champs.” Players wanted to come here but it had very little to do with playing and much more to do with getting that last big payday before riding off in the sunset.

Three years ago Snyder wised up and realized he had to find a few people who knew the game and hand over all duties to them if he ever wanted to see success as an owner. That decision ending up being the best decision he would ever make even though he would have to wait for results. He announced the hiring of Mike Shanahan and Bruce Allen, two guys that have a history in the game and they vowed to return the Redskins organization into a winning one again, but most certainly it would take some time cleaning up everyone else’s mess.

Shanahan and Allen would spend the next two years cleaning house of distractions and dead weight and coming up with a plan to rebuild the team while shortening the process. In his first draft as Redskins coach, he drafted tackle Trent Williams to be an anchor on the line and that usually signals the rebuilding process. The acquisition of a quarterback usually follows. However, in his second draft Shanahan didn’t get his man and instead made the safe decision to select linebacker Ryan Kerrigan to partner with Brian Orakpo as pass-rushers in the Redskins new 3-4 defensive scheme. Following the departure of Donovan McNabb, Shanahan experimented with the Rex Grossman and John beck tandem. To say the least, it was another bad year.

However, there ended up being a silver lining in that losing season because Shanahan’s third go-round at the draft was loaded with quarterbacks he could groom into potential  franchise signal callers. Snyder remained patient with Shanahan and Allen and it paid off big time when the Redskins partnered with the Rams on a blockbuster trade that landed the Redskins the number 2 overall pick and sensational quarterback, Heisman trophy winner Robert Griffin.

Despite landing the most sensational prospect since Peyton Manning, the Redskins still were projected not to make any noise this year. Most analysts felt like they were still missing a few pieces on offense and were in a division where they were inferior to the other teams in it. Most were saying this was a 3-5 win team at best; others were more generous putting them around 6-7 wins but most thought the Redskins wouldn’t be relevant for a few more years.

Week 1, the Redskins got off to a hot start and put up 40 points and outshot the Saints, who were one of the league’s most potent offenses the year before. They then dropped their next two games and were back in the “same ol’ Redskins” discussion despite last second comeback attempts being thwarted at the last second. The Redskins flip-flopped wins and losses over the next few games, flopping in most games on their way to a 3-6 record before the bye week. Then the season changed, for the better. Despite Shanahan publicly saying the last few games would be used as evaluation for the future and was scrutinized for pretty much calling it quits, RG3 stood up in front of the cameras and made the statement that would define the upcoming weeks. The new leader and face of the organization vowed that this team was not done and that they would be better. How much better? 3-0 better! The Redskins got back Pierre Garcon and then rolled in back-to-back-to-back division wins against the Eagles, then Cowboys on Thanksgiving, and then the division leading Giants on the Monday night stage. The streak boosted their division record to 3-1 thus far this season, besting last year’s 2-4 mark already.

Now here we are presently sitting in Redskins’ Nation watching, waiting and optimistic about the remainder of the year. Truly impressed and amazed that a team that most had written off before the season even after drafting Griffin III are in the heat of the playoff race. The team is in good shape to win out, finish with a division record of 5-1 and an impressive 10-6 overall record, finishing the year as NFC East Champs. After years and years and years, AND YEARS of mediocrity and losing season after losing season, the Washington Redskins could potentially be in the playoffs this year, a feat that they haven’t done since 2007.

While a playoff appearance this year won’t erase all the bad, inept and lethargic teams we’ve had to watch represent Chocolate City, it certainly will heal those wounds a whole lot faster. A run in our last 4 games would be a 7 game win streak to end the regular season, a division championship, a playoff berth at the expense of sweeping the Eagles and Cowboys, and a noticed served to the division and the league. In order to play good in December and January, a team must be able to run the football and the Redskins can most certainly do that. The pair of sensational, record breaking rookies named Robert Griffin III and Alfred Morris gives the Redskins the league’s best rushing attack and opposing team’s nightmares. The Redskins have been revived and this Christmas will be great in Redskins Nation as we have rushed our way back into relevance.

Hail to the Redskins! I’m Kevin Cash and I approve that message.

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