Join us in congratulating Alex Ovechkin on being named the NHL’s First Star of the Week!
The free agency period is well under way in Washington and little has happened of note. Washington fans tend to get antsy when the team doesn’t make headline moves or shell out big bucks this time of year, but I’m here to tell you that this is the best possible strategy this off season.
With an $18M cap penalty slapped on them the Skins have very little wiggle room, and certainly not the mountains of money that Dan Snyder likes to throw around every year. This would normally leave them in a very precarious situation leading into the 2013 season. But the Redskins had something this past year that they aren’t familiar with; a recipe for success.
For the past several years the Redskins have suffered from miserable regular season play and zero postseason experience. Throughout these hard times the team has relied on the free agency to pull them out of the slump and give them a chance at winning. Anyone who has followed the team relatively closely, or just looks up sports stories to get a laugh, knows that this hasn’t worked out (can everybody say Albert Haynesworth?) Suffice to say that free agency is not where this team excels.
So if you had a winning team last year, you’re known for free agency busts, and you have very little money to play around with, how do you proceed? The answer is that you maintain the status quo. With Brian Orakpo and Adam Carriker among others returning from injury this team is already a force to be reckoned with. Not to mention the rookie of the year quarterback and most surprising young running back in recent memory both returning.
The only real losses Washington has sustained are in their secondary. Lorenzo Alexander, DeAngelo Hall and Madieu Williams have all moved on this year. There is no doubt that Alexander was a fan favorite, sporting the nickname “Hitstick” the linebacker served to fill in many of the team’s gaps on defense in the 2012 season. But the idea is that there won’t be many gaps to fill this season. DeAngelo Hall was overpaid; it’s as simple as that. Williams was an adequate safety, but not irreplaceable.
The signings of E.J. Biggers at cornerback and Jeremy Trueblood at offensive tackle are an inkling of the restructuring to come. The Redskins still desperately need a right tackle and have to figure things out in the secondary. But there will be plenty of CB’s and safeties available in the second round.
So everyone take a deep breath and repeat after me: we’re gonna be okay.
The Washington Redskins cheerleaders (aka - The Redskinettes) pose during a 1970 preaseason game against the Bills. (Neil Leifer/SI)
The #Caps locker room is ready for tonight’s home opener. Are you? #CapsJets
Tonight the Capitals open the Verizon Center with the Winnipeg Jets, with hopes of grabbing their first win of the season.
A season opening trip to Tampa Bay did not go as planned for new head coach Adam Oates as the Caps fell 3-6. In D.C. this means all kinds of panic among fans who always foresee the worst after any loss. To me the loss in Tampa meant only one thing: the team is rusty. After a lockout that dragged on for what seemed like ages, it’s going to take a little while to get chemistry back. Not to mention learning a new system under the second new coach in as many years will take a little time.
Bright spots included rookie Woljtek Wolski who played an outstanding game all things considered, and even though Braden Holtby was taken for six goals on 34 shots, if the line in front of him improves he won’t miss nearly as many chances.
So relax Washington fans, everything is going to be alright. This team will get to form. A word of warning to the Caps however, there are only 47 games left, form had better return quickly.
Caps captain Alex Ovechkin addresses the media from Kettler Capitals Iceplex.
The biggest debate bar none coming out of Sunday’s game is whether or not Mike Shanahan and the coaching staff made a mistake keeping RGIII in the game after his initial first quarter injury.
In the last two days I have heard every opinion under the sun on this. I still like the position taken by the quarterback himself the best:
I won’t deny that as the game progressed and I saw the quarterback I have come to love so fiercely, limp back out on the field and courageously try to hand his team a win, I was proud of him. I also won’t deny that I was worried that with the way his plant foot looked and the way he was throwing, he wouldn’t be able to take much more of a beating from a Seattle defense that was clearly targeting him.
But the coaching staff and (more importantly I think) the quarterback himself thought that keeping him in the game gave them the best chance of winning.
I first want to say, I understand those of you who wanted Kirk Cousins in for the second half.
Secondly I want to say, shame on you.
Without Robert Griffin this team would still be sitting below .500, without our quarterback there is no January game for us to criticize, and without him there is no future for this franchise. If he wants to finish out what he started even after his knee is hurt, we owe him the same respect the coaching staff showed him in keeping him in the game, we owe him our support.
RGIII is a class act on and off the field. The day after the game he tweeted:
He understands that the fans are disappointed by an early exit from playoff contention, but what he should also understand is how proud fans are that this team even appeared in the postseason.
We as fans owe this to our quarterback. He should not feel that he has to defend himself from the Burgundy and Gold faithful, he should feel nothing but love from us.
So from one humble blogger: Robert, thank you for everything you have done for us this season. Thank you for restoring our faith in football in Washington. Thank you for giving us something to cheer for and get excited about each and every week. Thank you for the wildest ride I’ve ever experienced in my fandom. Thank you for giving us everything and sacrificing so much (including your body) for this team. You are, and always will be a superhero in D.C.
Hindsight is 20/20 and as we live through these next few days and worry about what we will hear about this injury it will be easy to point fingers. But now is not the time to blame, now is the time to come together and support this team and this spectacular quarterback for everything they have given us this season.
As Redskins fans start to come down from the high that is the teams first division title in thirteen years, they start to look ahead to the next game.
This Sunday, January 6th the Seattle Seahawks with the red hot Russell Wilson at their helm, will head into Landover and try to make a statement on Washington’s home turf.
This is possibly the most intriguing match-up in the first round of the playoffs (and I’m not just saying that because I’m a Skins fan).
These two offenses have been two of the most successful in the league over the last half of the season. RGIII and the Skins have won their last seven and Russell Wilson’s Hawks have taken their last seven of eight. (NFL.com) Their success has come largely from the college style offense that both coaches have chosen to run. And it’s no coincidence their both running it.
Seahawks coach Pete Carroll in a recent discussion with Pro Football Talk on NBC said of the Washington offense: “I was impressed with how much they got out of it…They’re way ahead of everybody else in terms of their commitment to a really college style of offense and it’s been very effective.” (PFT)
Washington is used to running the read option offense now, and used to seeing it pay off time and time again as they cut NFL defenses with a quick run or a 60 yard pass over the middle. What Washington is not used to, is someone coming into their house and using their own tactic against them.
It’s no secret that the Redskins are weak in the secondary. Even with Cedric Griffin back in at cornerback they are still far from an elite squad. But somehow they have come up with enough stops to win games in the second half of the season. On Sunday afternoon they need to come up with it one more time.
(Image courtesy of Redskins.com)
The key for Washington in this game is getting ahead early and forcing the Seahawks to take to the air. With Marshawn Lynch in the backfield for the Seahawks and a weakened pass rush for the Redskins, giving Seattle the ability to move it on the ground and eat up the clock would be disastrous.
But making Russell Wilson throw is far from safe as game plans go. In the last eight games of the season Wilson threw for 16 touchdowns and only two interceptions. His lowest passer rating in any of those games was 87.9 and his highest 136.4. (NFL.com) Make no mistake; this rookie is a force to be reckoned with in the passing game.
This means DeAngelo Hall and the rest of the crew need to show up on Sunday. RGIII is the better quarterback in this match-up. As long as the defense shows up to play, the Redskins can win this game.
There’s not a whole lot to say I suppose. Last night I was at a loss for words. After shouting myself hoarse over the course of the game, I simply sat there unbelieving, soaking it in. Being nineteen years old, the last time the Redskins won the division was when I was six. That means in my coherent fandom, this is the first division championship I have witnessed. It was everything I could have imagined.
I was brought almost to tears in DeAngelo Hall’s on field interview as he told the world how proud he was of the rookies who carried this team into the playoffs.
I’ll analyze the game later, for right now I just want to be happy. Happy and finally, finally proud of my Washington Redskins.