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Come On In The Water's Warm

Dec 30, 2005, 2:53 AM EST

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You can reach Rich Tandler by email at WarpathInsiders@comcast.net
The Redskins pool has not had many swimmers take a dip in its Burgundy and Gold colored waters this year. That is, until lately. Now all sorts of folks are diving in, many of them head first.

Articles detailing how and why the Redskins will not only make the playoffs but make some noise when they get there are popping up like dandelions on your lawn in the spring. This one comes from Adam Schein on FoxSports.com:

Now the Redskins are one of the hottest teams in the NFL, and a game away from making the tournament.

And a game away from being a team nobody wants to face in the postseason.
………………….
The current formula is too strong; a game changing defense, fantastic coaching, a strong running attack, and a super confident bunch.

A formula made for success in the playoffs.

And to think I criticized Joe Theisman for drinking the Redskins Kool-Aid in the preseason, talking about Washington as a Super Bowl team.

Shame on me. Hail to the Redskins.

And then there’s this one, Jason Whitlock’s 10 NFL Truths column on ESPN.com:

8. Of all the teams in the NFC, the Washington Redskins are the only team capable of winning the Super Bowl.

After being down on Joe Gibbs early in the season, I have to credit him for getting things together. If the Skins knock off the Eagles, they will enter the playoffs as the hottest team in the league — hotter than the streaking Patriots, also winners of four straight.
…………………………
7. OK, while I’m on the subject, let me rank the NFC Super Bowl hopefuls.

1. Redskins: Outstanding defense and just enough offense to beat any team in the league.

There are more out there and there will be more in the coming days. No doubt your local columnist is penning a Redskins lovefest article at this moment. The pool is getting quite crowded.

We would like to welcome them and tell them to come on in, the water’s warm. Some of us have had such a feeling that this could be a special season for the Redskins quite some time ago.

Back on October 26 when the Redskins were 4-2, before the downs of the rout in the Meadowlands and the agonizing three-game skid, before the ups of the Sunday night win over Philly and the dual thrashings the Redskins delivered to Dallas and the Giants, a piece called “Why Not the Redskins” appeared in this space.

Do the Redskins have “it”? Before the season started, even those with the burgundy and gold glasses permanently perched on their noses would have been hard pressed to make a case for the Redskins, 6-10 in 2004, going to the Super Bowl XL. In September, they were a year or two away at best, primarily because the offense was a mess and the Eagles were the dominant force in the division. Saying that they had an outside shot at a wild-card playoff spot was considered to be a bold statement, anything beyond that was a mix of wishful thinking, fantasy, and lunacy.

Of course, similar things were said of the Carolina Panthers in early 2003. And the 2001 Patriots, the 2000 Ravens and the 1999 Rams and Titans had the same slim to none chance of making it to the title game as the Redskins were given in August. Somewhere along the line, however, they all got “it”. At some point during the season, the players started to seriously think, why not us?

The article went on to list some of the elements that, if they held up, could make the Redskins a dangerous team come playoff time, elements such as Brunell’s solid quarterback play, balance, the presence of playmakers on both sides of the ball and, most importantly, a coach who has been there before, with three pieces of hardware in the lobby of Redskins Park to prove it.

Through the ups and downs of the past two months, those elements have remained in place.

The point here is not to brag about possessing some great insight or claim to be some sort of guru with powers of premonition. The fact is that the team that Whitlock and Schein and everyone else is raving about now was there two months ago. None of them, however, bothered to take the time to look at the team, to learn about the character of the players, to examine the possibilities that the team had. Instead, they continued to rag on Dan Snyder, who hasn’t played a single down for the team this year. They looked at Joe Gibbs and forgot about three Lombardi’s and went straight to the Geritol and Social Security jokes.

Well, better late than never. Come on, everyone and jump in. Just one thing; Lenny, Peter, if you do join the pool party, just leave your shirts on.

  1. Phil - Dec 30, 2005 at 4:36 AM

    I don’t think that Schein or Whitlock are more trustworthy now that they’re backing the Redskins. You probably agree.

    I think we’ve read enough of these puff pieces to realize that the sports writers are just being lazy. They’re going to hype something every week. They’re looking for an obvious story, superficially analyzing it, and inflating it in print.

    When Eli threw a somewhat lucky touchdown pass against Denver, the sports media hyped him. Now, the Redskins are the flavor of the month. (Our defense outstanding? It’s good. Just good. It’s given up way too many big plays to be outstanding.)

    Don’t get me wrong…I’m not at all down on this team. They’re playing great. They’ve got a shot against every opponent that they might face. That said, one bad play in Philly can kill the hype.

  2. Joshua Brown - Dec 30, 2005 at 5:50 AM

    Great post! I posted a similar entry on my Squidoo lens earlier today once I read the Page 2 article:

    http://www.squidoo.com/washingtonredskins/

    I know the Redskins are the flavor of the week. If and when they lose, these writers will once again pick them to finish last in the NFC East next year. I promise you I’ve already read that prediction this season — before this season was even close to being over, before the draft, before free agency. It was probably Jeremy Green, a notorious ESPNRH.

    But I digress. I could care less about these experts jumping on board. They’re just covering their butts if and when the Redskins make a playoff run. I’m just glad that they’ve deemed Gibbs capable of coaching in the NFL once again. I was worried that he could never grasp the “new” NFL with all its complexities. After all, Gibbs won Super Bowls when everything was so easy.

  3. Warshauer - Dec 30, 2005 at 4:36 PM

    I LOVE the post, but if we lose to Philly this week the season will look quite different…..

  4. Anonymous - Dec 30, 2005 at 5:01 PM

    Not to be overly negative, but according to one of the previous posters, the Skins have never swept the Cowboys and Eagle in the same season. We can’t underestimate just how difficult Sunday’s game may be. As banged up and thin as Philly’s offense may be, their defense is much more healthy and intact. Anyway, if we can’t beat the Eagles in Philly, then what would our chances be on the road against the Bears or Seahawks?

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