Wednesday, October 22, 2003

WEEK 7: Aye, these be dark days…

My word. Somewhere around the fourth quarter of Sunday’s lackluster 24-7 loss to the Buffalo Bills, one unavoidable truth became clear to me: The Washington Redskins are on a collision course with mediocrity. Which is a fancy way of admitting that for now and the foreseeable future, we stinketh.

I wasn’t able to write about the Tampa Bay loss last week, but I do remember thinking the following: Well, it was fun while it lasted. If there ever was a reality check for the Redskins, this was it. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers done put it on the Skins; I have already mentally blocked the final score because it was just that shameful. The Skins didn’t bother accomplishing many of the five points I thought necessary to beat the World Champions. (Strangely enough, the 49ers this week put the worst loss on the Bucs this season; the Skins fan in me says that we softened ‘em up. Ahem.)

So why doth we smell most foul? Let me count the ways: 1. Ramsey is once again hurt; but 2. even if Ramsey wasn’t hurt, he’ll be hurting after whoever we play next (more on that later) because 3. Spurrier and Co. have yet to devise a decent protection plan for him…though it’d help if we didn’t have to pass so much as a result of 4. the defense allowing career-best days for injured and non-descript players.

Allow me to highlight one significantly stinky statistic from Sunday. The Bills averaged around 60 yards rushing per game until Sunday, worst in the National Football League. Against the fearsome Redskins defense, Travis “Steel Drivin’ Man” Henry and the Bills earned 196 yards on the ground, averaging 5 yards per rush. That, folks, is ridiculous. It’s like being soundly beaten by the Cincinnati Bengals. *cough*Ravens*cough* I remember remarking to Pops in the third quarter, when the Skins brought the game to 17-7, that “we have a chance if we can stop them from running out the clock. Shame that we can’t stop the run.”

The Washington defense is worthy of criticism, yes, but the aptly-named offensive line needs to be drawn and quartered. Replace ‘em all, I say. If it ain’t Samuels helping a lineman and leaving tight end Chamberlain to block a defensive end, it’s Derrick “I Play Horribly” Dockery knocking the ball from Ramsey’s hand inside the red zone. There was some dark comedy in the second half, as commentators Darryl Johnston and Tony Siragusa were pleading with the Washington coaching staff to do something to protect Ramsey. Within the next couple of plays, Ramsey was being helped off the field. Old Man Rob Johnson subbed in and was promptly dropped for a sack. I’ll admit that it was embarrassingly tough to watch. What in the name of Chief Moose has happened to basic pass protection?

After the bye week, the Redskins will face the surprise of the season Dallas Cowchips. These ladies have managed to best Detroit, Atlanta, the New York Jets and Arizona (combined record 4-15) en route to a 5-1 record. Impressive. Cowchip fans love to dance and prance about how their defense is now #1 ranked, how their offense is unstoppable and how Quincy Carter is now the fantasy football quarterback to have. Wait until after the Buccaneers game this weekend—which I will watch with much earnest—and we’ll see whether Bill “Chicken of the Sea” Parcells deserves the accolades the talk shows bestow. I will admit that he has fused a once-sorry, laughably bad group of players into contenders, but I’ll stop there. No matter what happens Sunday, the following Sunday, or the Sundays ‘til eternity, the Dallas Cowchips will always suck. Just my Redskins opinion.

My suggestion for Coach Superior during the bye break is to comb the free agent wires and pick up some big, burly offensive linemen. I’m talking big like Afa & Sika--the wild-haired 80’s WWF Samoan Tag-Team. At this point, I don’t care if their massive girth prevents them from doing anything more than standing in a semi-circle. I only care that Ramsey, and his inevitable backup, can get more than two seconds to pass. We’ll worry about completing the pass next season.


OFFENSE: F (Did we score any points? I forget.)
DEFENSE: F- (Somebody get Ray Rhodes on the phone—this unit lacks heart.)
Sp. TEAMS: B (Great punting…shame we needed it.)
COACHES: F (Joe Gibbs must be spinning in his grave. Oh, wait…)

Next Up: The Dallas Cowgirls. You always toss the records out when these teams match up, so I expect a hard fight. This one might be close, too. I say that Washington will be sending a bouquet of roses to Gruden for beating down Dallas enough for us to eke out a win. Skins win in a squeaker, 24-21.

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