I don’t often get accused of being a Redskins homer, so forgive me this bit of homerism.
I went to a friendly neighborhood bookseller on Sunday, and looked at the friendly national sports magazine section, and discovered that the national sports magazine people uniformly believe the Redskins will stink. A lot.
In fact, at least three of them believe the Redskins will be historically bad this season.
Now, the Redskins were 6-10 last year, in the first year of the Mike Shanahan offense and the Jim Haslett defense. And I’d challenge these national experts to tell me at which positions the team will be worse in 2011.
Quarterback would be the obvious first answer, and yes, John Beck and Rex Grossman do not and will never have the credentials of Donovan McNabb. But whatever you think of Mike Shanahan’s handling of that situation, and whatever you think of Donovan McNabb’s credentials, he stunk last year. If the Rex Grossman who played the final three games of 2010 was a downgrade, it was a pretty darn minor one.
Secondary? Yes, the LaRon Landry injury is troublesome. Yes, the Josh Wilson injury, too. And yes, Carlos Rogers was probably undervalued by many fans because of the dropsies. But all that gets balanced out by the acquisition of O.J. Atogwe, and the fact that Landry was hurt for much of 2010 anyhow.
And other than that, where in the world is this team worse than the 2010 version? Would any Redskins fan want the 2010 Clinton Portis over the 2011 Tim Hightower, the 2010 Casey Rabach over the 2011 Will Montgomery, the 2010 Mike Sellers over the 2011 Darrel Young, the 2010 Andre Carter over the 2011 Ryan Kerrigan, the 2010 Joey Galloway over the 2011 Jabar Gaffney, the 2010 Albert Haynesworth over the 2011 Barry Cofield, the 2010 punter-by-committee over the 2011 Sav Rocca, the 2010 Trent Williams and Brian Orakpo over the versions with one more year of experience?
Sure, the NFL is crazy, and anything can happen, but it just seems to me like 6-10 is about the worst the Redskins would do, barring catastrophic injury or team mutiny or the collapse of the FedEx Field solar panels.
The magazines, though, don’t agree. Above, please find the Athlon rankings. This magazine was published post-lockout. They think the Redskins are the worst team in the NFC. And sure, these previews were compiled before the Redskins put together this current team, but the numbers say what the numbers say.
And they weren’t really going out on much of a limb. Here’s ESPN the Magazine, which has the Redskins finishing at 3-13. The Redskins have won as few as 3 games just once in the past 47 NFL seasons, back in Heath Shuler’s rookie year. I mean, no rational observer really thinks this is one of the two worst Redskins teams in 47 years, right?
Well, Phil Steele evidently does. His magazine also has the Redskins finishing 3-13.
The Sporting News doesn’t. The Sporting News thinks the Redskins will be 2-14.
This game-by-game breakdown, in fact, predicts that the Redskins will lose back-to-back games in October against the Panthers and Bills, teams that together won just six games in 2010. If the Redskins lose back-to-back games in October against the Panthers and Bills, I will, I don’t know, subscribe to The Sporting News or something.
Not every magazine gave an exact record, but Lindy’s joined the crowd in predicting the Redskins would finish last in the NFC East.
This magazine was published by USA Today, and it ranked divisional teams in all sorts of categories. The Redskins were predicted to rank last in the NFC East in passing offense, rushing offense, passing defense and rushing defense.
So if Mike Shanahan is the sort of coach who likes inflammatory things posted in the locker room, he might want to go to Barnes & Noble and plop down $40 on some preview magazines. Or he could just make every guy on the Redskins read this blog item.