(Michael Conroy/AP)

But then the Redskins beat the Steelers and the Colts, and often looked impressive doing so. And then some of the annual preseason optimism returned.

For non-scientific evidence, I turn to ESPN 980’s Kevin Sheehan, who asked during Tuesday’s “Sports Fix” how many games his listeners thought the Redskins would win before the preseason began, and how their expectations had changed after two preseason wins.

Via phone calls, e-mails to the station and Twitter responses, he got more than 500 responses. More than 80 percent of those who responded now thought the Redskins would win at least one more game this season than they had thought in July.

Of those optimistic 81 percent, almost 70 percent thought the Redskins would be at least two games better. More than a quarter thought the Redskins would be at least four games better. In fact, the average optimistic respondent now thought the Redskins would be 2.16 wins better than they had previously thought entering the preseason. (See results here.)

That, friends, is the Redskins fan’s annual preseason optimism.

(Note: I’ve revised my own prediction from 7-9 to 8-8 since the preseason began, so yeah, I guess it’s gotten into my blood.)