This part stinks.
We wait all offseason for football to return, allowing ourselves to dream during draft weekend, consuming any sliver of new information during OTAs and training camp, and taking these preseason games seriously.
And now we wait …
There are 10 days until we wake up the morning of the Saints game. If you hop back to Saturday for Robert Griffin III and the 26 other Redskins who sat out on Wednesday, it’ll be more than two weeks between their final preseason game and the season opener.
We were talking in the office Wednesday night about how no other league does this. Baseball’s slow build toward opening day progresses through spring training. NBA and NHL preseasons we hardly acknowledge, but they gear up quickly for the first tipoff or puck drop. The NFL builds and build s and builds and then leaves us with such a lull.
There’s Wednesday night’s game to dissect and Friday’s roster cuts to anticipate. With so much time to kill, let’s not burn up all the good topics. Here are a few scattered thoughts for you all to kick around:
My personal rule about labor disputes is to not waste much energy dissecting the minutiae until the 11th hour. That’s when the negotiations get serious anyway. But unless this is a ploy by the NFL to get the referees’ association to buckle, looks like this replacement thing is really going to happen.
What’s that they say about not knowing what you have until it’s gone?
Most of us don’t have a stake in the dispute, except to the extent we have a stake in NFL games. So give us our Hochuli, our Carey, our Steratore, by any means. NFL refs should probably be full-time employees. As for the details of the compensation … when it comes down to it, do we as fans care? Or do we just care that they get it done?
At running back, a nice problem to have
The running back competition is becoming a feather in Shanahan’s roster-building cap.
Even under Vinny Cerrato, the Redskins usually had starters who could compete with the Giants, Eagles and Cowboys, and some of the league’s competitive teams. But the NFL season is a grind, and the Redskins’ exorbitant spending often left few resources to build the roster depth to get by when starters begin missing games with injuries.
Shanahan has replenished that depth with his roster makeover. There are nine wide receivers with a chance to make the roster; Not all will, but with the exception of Santana Moss, they were all brought in by Shanahan.
So were Tim Hightower, Alfred Morris, Roy Helu and Evan Royster. That Hightower and Morris looked good against the Colts, and Helu and Royster did against the Bucs means there’s no clear-cut starter. But it might also mean there isn’t a ton of dropoff when a running back inevitably is injured.
Sure it’d be nicer to have one Ray Rice. But all things considered, this isn’t a bad alternative.
Brandon Banks, mind-changer?
Do you like his chances of making the roster more than you did before the Buccaneers game? Two plays of more than 40 yards in the game is certainly stating a case for a roster spot, but if you liked Aldrick Robinson, Terrence Austin or Anthony Armstrong better than Banks before Wednesday night, you can come up with an argument as to why you still do. If Banks changed your mind, though, speak up.
Your input here
I’m looking for your thoughts on a few things, which will help us get to at least the opener on Sept. 5th, if not the Saints on the 9th. There’s a good chance I’ll take some of the top-notch replies and feature them in a morning post.
1) After this preseason, what part of the team are you most comfortable with? What’s your biggest worry?
2) Call the order of finish in the NFC East. Let’s tackle this on the morning of the 5th, when the Cowboys and Giants kick off the season.
3) I’m looking for unique predictions. Definitely e-mail these (firstname.lastname@example.org) with ‘prediction’ in the subject line; I don’t want to spoil them. We’ll round up a bunch of the best and put them all together in one post.
By unique I mean a Redskins-centric prediction you haven’t heard anyone else make. Like Kirk Cousins starts more games than Rex and RGIII combined. Or DeAngelo Hall has five interceptions this season against the Cowboys, and none against anybody else. Or [generic Daniel Snyder cheap shot withheld].
Keep it clean, but be creative. You can do better than those examples. There’ll be time to predict the Redskins’ record, but let’s take it beyond that.
Today in ‘RGIII can do no wrong’
The franchise quarterback really kicked a field goal before the game? Sure it was only 20 yards, but what can’t our resident Andre 3000 lookalike do?
Redskins up, Cowboys down
When you’ve read every last thing you can about the Redskins, there’s always the option to delight in what’s going wrong in Dallas. Tim Dahlberg’s column on Dez Bryant having babysitters is, shall we say, not-so-kind.
In case you missed them …