Jan 24, 2006, 9:50 AM EDT
You can reach Rich Tandler by email at WarpathInsiders@comcast.net
I would like to apologize for the low quality my Redskins Blog Ver. 01.22.06. The piece was rambling and incoherent and it never quite made it to any point that it may have been laboring towards. That is generally what happens when I have no passion for what I’m writing about. And I find it very difficult to get worked up one way or the other over the installation of Al Saunders as el jefe of the Redskins offense.
On the positive side, it’s Joe Gibbs’ idea. Since his return two years ago, there have been two kinds of moves made by Gibbs. There were those that everyone hailed and agreed with at the time that turned out well, like drafting Sean Taylor and Carlos Rogers,. And there were those that many greeted with incredulity at the time they were made that turned out just fine, like trading Coles for Moss and giving Brunell another shot.
And Al Saunders is certainly a quality hire. His resume is impeccable. Like Gibbs, he has a reputation for sleeping at the office during the week According to Peter King of SI.com, his attention to detail is such that he won’t call the same play more than once in any four-game stretch.
By the way, King likes this move and that is one of the things that makes me ambivalent about it. I mean, all of those years of bashing everything that the Redskins did and now, all of a sudden, he’s singing Hail right along with the rest of Redskins Nation.
I suspect I know why. In a column in the Kansas City Star, Jason Whitlock was among the few in KC who didn’t bemoan the departure of Saunders:
Breaking news: Al Saunders did not invent the game of football.
This news, I’m sure, will shock many of my media brethren here in Kansas City, particularly those who earn a living hosting radio shows.
Saunders, however, did perfect the art of making insecure media members feel like they’re the next Howard Cosell. Saunders scored more points with members of the media than the Chiefs did on the football field during Saunders’ tenure as offensive coordinator.
Saunders returned every phone call, made love to every microphone put in his face.
Whitlock tries to make a case that Saunders is just a glad-handing empty headset, a notion that is not supported by the facts. And there’s nothing wrong with trying hard to build good relations with the media. If that is indeed the case with Saunders, a few in the Redskins organization could learn from him. But back to King, you have to think that one of the main reasons that he’s happy about Saunders’ new job is that he’ll finally have someone at Redskins Park who will return his phone calls. Gibbs doesn’t play that game, not with King, not with anybody. King just can’t wait to write something like, “I was talking to Al Saunders on my home phone, but I had to cut him short when my cell rang and it was Mike Holmgren.”
That’s just a sidebar, of course. I really don’t care what King or Whitlock think about all of this. My lack of enthusiasm is tied into a syndrome I’ll call Savior Fatigue.
Ever since the Redskins’ fortunes went south in 1993, we have seen a constant stream of players and coaches who were supposed to be The One, the man who was supposed to be the final piece of the puzzle. We were supposed just pop Dana Stubblefield into the defensive line or have Ray Rhodes don the headset as defensive coordinator and double-digit wins and playoff runs would follow. You can even go back to Heath Shuler and Michael Westbrook or back just a few seasons to Marvin Lewis to find the causes of Savior Fatigue. I don’t think I have to go into any more agonizing detail for those reading this to know what I’m talking about.
Certainly, going back to my first point, there is a qualitative difference here in that this move was made by Gibbs, The One if there ever was one. But while he’s had the Midas touch this time around, he did trade up to draft Desmond Howard and insist that Bobby Beathard trade away a first for Gerald Riggs. Everyone goofs every once in a while.
Besides that, the Savior Fatigue syndrome is just too deep seeded for me to jump in and join in the group high fives that are currently being exchanged among the Burgundy and Gold clad faithful. Saunders may be the one who came here from Missouri, but he’s going to have to show me before I get all giddy over his presence at Redskins Park.
Rich Tandler is the author of The Redskins From A to Z, Volume 1: The Games. This unique book chronicles every game the Redskins played from 1937 through 2001. It is available at www.RedskinsGames.com