Correction to This Article
Mike Wise's column incorrectly said that DeSean Jackson of the Philadelphia Eagles was chosen before Devin Thomas of the Washington Redskins in the second round of the 2008 NFL Draft. Thomas was drafted first.

Washington's state is one of disarray

One fan knows the truth: At times some of the Redskins couldn't fight their way out of a paper bag during Monday night's loss.
One fan knows the truth: At times some of the Redskins couldn't fight their way out of a paper bag during Monday night's loss. (Jonathan Newton/the Washington Post)
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By Mike Wise
Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Unless a player is severely injured, there is no reason to feel abject pity at a pro football game. No one is going home hungry. Everyone who participates -- owners, general managers, players -- are over 18 years old. There are no victims, only volunteers.

And yet I couldn't help but feel sorry for the Washington Redskins on Monday night. I couldn't help but feel bad for Jason Campbell when an errant snap never even got to him on a fourth-and-goal play in the final minutes of another galling loss.

It was such an unsightly scene on national television, their dirty Ashburn laundry aired out in millions and millions of American living rooms.

It's one thing for the local franchise to get its comeuppance after living off of yellowed newspaper clippings for so long, to be chided for lousy management, to see some of their last-hope legions give away tickets.

It's quite another for the entire country to see this meltdown of monstrous proportion.

In the schadenfreude spirit of any good reality show, the main characters are so pitiful and pathetic that even the most depressed and downtrodden viewers begin to feel good about their own lives.

Jim Zorn, the powerless figurehead of a coach who was ordered to give back his whistle and playbook this week, runs his hand through that shock of brown hair like a man on very borrowed time.

Campbell, the run-for-cover quarterback sacked six times, treated by his employers as if he smelled bad in the offseason, benched by his coach a week ago, unable to find a rhythm or his confidence when he needed it most, in a game that was essentially the last hope to salvage much of anything -- his dream of being the Redskins' quarterback of the future is dying with each snap.

Sherman Lewis, the sage plucked from a senior-citizen Bingo parlor a few weeks ago -- the same Detroit parlor filmed and poked fun of on "Monday Night Football." It seemed funny when we made the jokes a week or so ago. Until he began calling plays instead of Bingo games at 67, until no one was going home happy or with a prize.

Now, with America laughing, it just feels like piling on. I'm so over constant excoriation, of figuring out different ways to bludgeon the front office or the owner or the players.

Look, it's hard to play watchdog when there is no one home. How does anyone torch a castle that isn't a castle but merely a structurally unsound, two-room tenement that went into foreclosure about a week ago?

I'm beyond pointing out DeSean Jackson, who danced in the Redskins' end zone twice, was drafted after Devin Thomas in the second round.

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