The players. Gone are the problematic superstar egomaniacs that only play for the pay and keep track of their personal stats. Here are the blue collar steel mill coal mine assembly line grunts all working together towards a common goal. Players that will follow the game plan and execute their assignments. Football is still a team sport. Superstars can be shut down and dismantled, but taking apart a well-oiled machine is a tougher task. People love work ethic.
The past. Losses, embarrassment, and tragedy. The once proud franchise felt more like a dysfunctional family on reality TV. Every year expectations escalated in the off-season, only to come crashing back down once the games counted. You can’t truly know happiness unless you’ve experience sadness. It’s safe to say Redskins Nation has experienced sadness. People love redemption.
The present. Power rankings just came out and had the Redskins at 29 out of 32 teams. It seems the only people that have confidence in Beck and Grossman are Mike and Kyle and Beck and Grossman. Fantasy football gurus are mocking the Redskins, recommending only Santana Moss is worth drafting. People love the underdog.
The front office. Dan Snyder was once depicted as the devil. He was once described as having a “dark heart”. Negative allegations and rumors constantly surround him, but I shudder to go any further. Regardless, his ownership has produced less than mediocre results on the field, worsened by his front office decisions. However, Snyder has recently lived up to his promise and hopped in the back seat while Shanahan and Allen do the driving. I’d like to add a new depiction: Dr. Seuss’ the Grinch. People love a change of heart.
The reality. There is a difference. Shanahan and Allen have shaped the roster in ways that have been alien to Redskins park for years. They’ve had money to pursue big name free agents and opted out of the chase. They held the draft pick that could’ve landed a top-prospect quarterback, but they traded down for more picks and instead acquired a solid blue collar linebacker.
The diagnosis. Shanahan has already created more quality depth at nearly every position. Better depth doesn’t only provide insurance against unforeseen injuries, but players will develop much faster going against better competition every day in practice. Yet difference is only difference, and I still need to constantly remind myself that this development could take several years before it ever reaches fruition. Even still, I’m excited to see a hard working redemption story underdog whose had a change of heart go out and fight for four quarters every week.