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The Washington Redskins are one of the most profitable teams in the National Football League. They also have a less than spectacular record since being acquired by Daniel Snyder from a group headed Jack Kent Cooke, Jr. Fans of the Skins, as they are known in D.C., wonder how long it will take for the team to pull together a strong winning season and possibly post-season play. The current owner has thrown a massive amount of money towards purchasing players that he believed would place them on the road to dominance in the NFC and the NFL. Unfortunately single players do not a team make and many of the players were great players that were no longer in their prime and they did not produce the results they had in previous years. Players such as Dion Sanders, Chris Samuels, Bruce Smith, etc. were great during their time but had already reached the climax of their careers and were on the downward side of their lifetime in the NFL. True fans of the Redskins remember the great super bowl teams of the 1990s and the “hogs”, the linesmen who protected the quarterback, Joe Thiesman, at all costs, and opened gaping holes in opposing lines for running back John Riggins.
That was the past and now is the present and we see very few similarities between those teams and our present day team. Those teams would pound the run and then surprise the opposition with a perfectly thrown long ball. Until this year the Redskins running game was sorely missing and success for the passing game was sporadic. The team has achieved some hope for this year since acquiring the top pick quarterback from this year’s draft, Robert Griffin III (also known as RGIII). As a rookie quarterback he has started every game and has provided some exciting moments. He can run with sprinter speed ( he was on the track and field team in college and was a nationally ranked sprinter) and can throw precision close strikes and the deep strike as well. His arm is truly amazing in that he can control the ball whether throwing deep or close and he has the power to throw the ball 60-70 yards in the air. This capability makes him a threat from anywhere on the field. The only drawback has been his willingness to let the opposing team take shots at him when he is running. Most quarterbacks go into a slide when tacklers approach but not RGIII. He merely puts his head down and tries to gain the extra yardage. This was the reason he received a concussion during a game with St. Louis earlier this year. He was able to recover and play the next week.
The threat that RGIII poses has opened up some opportunities for the Redskins in other areas of the offense. The running game this year has been very solid with good performances by Alfred Morris and some exceptional receptions by wide receivers Santana Moss, Pierre Garcon and Tight Ends Fred Davis and Niles Paul. This has not been a winning season for the Redskins at this point in the season but there is hope that it may end up a winning season and even if not then there is hope for the future. They now have a bonafide threat at quarterback and running back and several good receivers. The team may be young but they do play well as a team and it can be expected that they will only become better with each passing game and will eventually be able to compete with any team in the NFL.
The owner also has gone through his share of coaches having fired the first coach he had, Norv Turner, even though he had a winning season and went to the playoffs. The second coach, Marty Schottenheimer also took the team to the playoffs and was fired for not winning. The current coach, Mike Shannahan, has been allowed to run the team his way for two years and maybe they are finally turning the corner towards respectability and establishing a winning esprit de corps in the team. The current team is very young and seems to be able to learn the coach’s offensive scheme much better than some of the veterans that they Redskins employed in the past. They have had a bumpy ride since Jack Kent Cooke, Sr. died and have not seen many winning seasons or much post-season play. It could be that the current new roster is the right mix to turn the fortunes of the Redskins around and bring the glory of the “old days” back to Washington D.C. The fans certainly hope so, they have waited for this a very long time, maybe not patiently but they have waited and hoped and not lost faith.