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What Redskins Fans Have to be Thankful For

Nov 23, 2005, 3:41 PM EDT

–This list starts with Joe Gibbs. Every day, we have both a living, breathing symbol of the team’s glorious past and hope for the team’s future. On top of that, in addition to being among the very best football coaches to ever don a whistle, Gibbs is one of the finest human beings ever to draw air.

–I’ve dogged him over the years, but I’ve come to appreciate Renaldo Wynn more and more this season. The man is a class act from head to toe and he does the dirty work necessary to stone attempts to run to his side.

–The beat reporters who cover the team get a lot of fire, some of it justified. However, they do strike a good balance between the “we won” homerism found in some cities and the nasty edge shown in others. They are as hard working a group as you’ll find anywhere and they take their jobs seriously without taking themselves too seriously. Redskins fans are better informed for having read and listened to their work.

Clinton Portis is turning from a scatback into a tough, strong runner. He’s not going to remind anyone of John Riggins, mind you, but when it’s all said and done Portis could be the best running back to ever play for the Redskins. And yes, the costumes are getting a bit lame but you have to like a guy who wants to have fun.

–The three-game winning streak to start the season gave the team the cushion they needed to survive their current slump and remain in playoff contention. Of course, the improbable win in Dallas tops the list, but the victories over Chicago and Seattle look more impressive as the year goes on.

Santana Moss won’t ever be the best Redskins receiver ever, but he’s given the team both the deep threat and run-after-catch ability that it has been missing. He has a quiet confidence that is very impressive.

–The Redskins are finally starting to get a solid home-field advantage at FedEx Field. At over 90,000 strong, the crowd there can disrupt both an opposing offense and the plans of the visitors’ fans to take over the Redskins’ house.

Joe Salave’a has been playing for weeks on a foot injury so painful that it would have most grown men crying and calling in sick to their desk jobs. He plays hard every Sunday because the team needs him and then limps home. (Last Sunday in the locker room, I turned around after talking to one defensive lineman and came within a couple of inches of stepping on that foot, which was bare except for an ice pack taped to it. I’m very thankful for that few inches.)

–I could go through a lot more players, but we should be thankful for having a group that has a lot of character and enjoys being together. They have a tough road to hoe if they are going to make the playoffs, but this is a good group to go into such a battle with.

–Finally, Redskins fans should be thankful for themselves as a group. Some are incurable homers, others are always saying that the sky is falling but those fans and all of the others in between bring great passion and knowledge to the subject of Redskins football. That is something to be thankful for all year long.

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