Between the brutal finish on Sunday, the injury news on Fred Davis and out-of-left-field oddness like Joe Gibbs speaking to the Cowboys before their game at Carolina, a Redskins fan could probably use a pick-me-up right about now.
Here are a few reasons to perk up:
If this was to be a season of growth, the offense is ahead of schedule: Of course this season was about bringing Robert Griffin III into the fold and getting him acclimated to the NFL. Safe to say that that is not only going great, but the Redskins have found a running back as well, in Alfred Morris. Despite not having Pierre Garcon at 100 percent and now losing Fred Davis, the Redskins are fourth in the league in points — only last year’s two Super Bowl teams, the Giants and Patriots, and the Texans score more. Plus they’ve found some continuity on the offensive line. Looking into the future, they shouldn’t have to pour major resources into improving the offense. It’s good.
Despite all the injuries, the Redskins are 3-4: Sub-.500 is nothing to write home about, but they’ve played most of the year without their best young defensive player, in Brian Orakpo, and without Adam Carriker and two of the safeties they added in the offseason, the nickel back and their top free-agent wide receiver. Plus they’ve turned over a couple times at place kicker. All teams have injuries and roster upheaval, but the Redskins have remained competitive despite theirs.
Sunday brings a chance to kick the Steelers when they’re kinda-sorta down: At 3-3, this is about as ripe as the always-solid Steelers will be for defeat. Pittsburgh is down to its third running back (though Jonathan Dwyer had a great game against the Bengals) and have offensive line and linebacker injuries to deal with. The defense is still one of the NFL’s best, just a shade behind the 49ers in total defense. And they’re ninth against the run. Offensively, the Steelers are middle of the pack. The game is at Heinz, but as any Redskins fan worth his salt would say, Washington owes Pittsburgh one. The last time the teams met, when the Steelers played at FedEx, the atmosphere was not a happy memory for a lot of you.
The NFC East is still up for grabs: Sunday’s game put the Giants out in front at 5-2, with Dallas and Philly tied for second at 3-3. But the Giants are 1-2 in NFC East games, the only team in the division to have more than one played so far. New York has also yet to have their faceoffs with the Ravens, Bengals and Steelers. Or Packers, Saints and Falcons. So while a New York collapse is unlikely, they have tough enough opposition that a division team could gain ground. The Redskins need to make up two games, and face the Giants once more, at home on Nov. 3.
So whether your expectations for this season were modest or grand, there are some reasons to think positively.
I’m sure you guys can think of other reasons for optimism. The key is to use Tuesday morning to start to bury the thoughts of the Giants loss and look ahead to better times. In the comments, show us what you’ve got in the way of positive thinking.