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The Redskins need to focus on the future

By Fred Bowen
Thursday, November 5, 2009

I give the Redskins a report card about this time every year. This season's report card is a real stinker. Here are the marks:

Team owner (Daniel Snyder): F

Head coach (Jim Zorn): D

Offense: F

Defense: C+

Special teams: C-

I hope you never get a report card like that! Of course, if you get a bad report card, don't waste any time crying about it. After all, report cards, whether for kids or football teams, describe what has already happened. No one can change the past.

Instead you should think about what you can do in the future to be a better student. If you are not doing well in school, maybe you should ask the teacher for extra help or spend more time studying and doing your homework instead of watching TV and playing video games.

As for the Redskins, they shouldn't worry about their 2-5 record or even how they are going to do the rest of this season. (I think they will be lucky to win two more games.) The team has to concentrate on what it can do to get back on the winning track. Here are my suggestions:

-- Be honest. For years, the Redskins have fooled themselves and their fans into thinking they were just a player or two away from being a championship team. Wrong! The Redskins have major problems with their offensive line and their receivers. They are an old team that does not have any decent reserve players to replace injured starters. The Redskins will need lots of good players, not just one or two, before they get better.

-- Be patient. It took years for the Redskins to get this bad. It may take years before they are good again. After all, if you are a D student, you can't study hard for one night and expect to get all A's. A few years ago, the Washington Capitals were as bad as the Redskins. The Caps got rid of their overpaid, overrated players and drafted talented younger players. They were terrible for a couple of years. But now they are a quality team, and it looks as if they'll stay that way for years to come. The Redskins should follow the Capitals' example.

-- Be consistent. The Redskins should decide to build their team by drafting and developing young players. And then they should stick to the plan. That means they can't be tempted to sign high-priced free agents such as Albert Haynesworth, DeAngelo Hall or a dozen other players the team has signed in the past few years hoping for a quick fix.

If the Redskins can do all that -- be honest, patient and consistent -- they may get a better report card someday.

Fred Bowen writes KidsPost's sports opinion column and is the author of sports novels for kids. His two newest books, "Touchdown Trouble" and "Soccer Team Upset," were published in August.

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