The Unbridled Pragmatist
smart enough to know how dumb we are

Skins Ready to Take Off

The 2008 season presents an interesting crossroads for the Washington Redskins.  The organizational patriarch, Joe Gibbs, resigned from the team in January of 2008 after losing a first round playoff game to the Seattle Seahawks.  The same Seattle team that knocked the Skins out of the playoffs in 2006, and in a move that wreaked of the “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em” theory the Skins responded by hiring Seattle quarterbacks coach Jim Zorn.



Now is where things get interesting.  Zorn has no previous head coaching experience.  Zorn has no previous coordinating experience.  Zorn has never called an NFL play; Zorn has never even called an NFL timeout.  What Zorn has done is work with quarterbacks, young ones, and make them great.  That is what Skins owner Dan Snyder came here to do, and that is what Zorn pledges to accomplish with quarterback Jason Campbell.  Even as head coach Zorn spends at least an hour a day with the quarterbacks, often more than an hour.



But the Skins issues are greater than quarterback.  By the playoffs last year relics Reche Caldwell and Keenan McCardell were catching passes, three starting offensive linemen were hurt, and the best player on the field, safety Sean Taylor, was brutally murdered.  Somehow, the team responded and went on the late season playoff run.



What does it all mean for 2008?  No one is sure, but players and coaches alike are talking about a return to the playoffs.  Taking a look at the schedule, let’s see how real the possibility is.



Three of the first five games are division games on the road.  This is a cruel task for any team, let alone a young Skins team with a rookie head coach.  The NFL opener against the Giants will be emotionally charged, as the Giants celebrate their Super Bowl triumph in front of their home fans for the first time.  If the Skins can make it through week 6 with a .500 record or better they will be in good shape; even better if they can steal a road win against a division opponent.



Week 7 and 8 are winnable games; the Browns at home and the Lions on the road.  Though the Browns were a formidable offense last year, they will no longer sneak on teams, and the Lions remain a hapless team.  Winning these two games is imperative with the most crucial part of the schedule to come.



Approaching a Monday night showdown with the Steelers, the Skins enter the game at 5-3, and FedEx Field will be rocking.  Beating the Steelers, the Skins go to the bye week on an emotional high with a 6-3 record.  The following week and the hated Cowboys come to town; Skins win, splitting the series.  At 7-3 and control in the division the Skins head out west to play the Seahawks.  Note to the scheduling committee, Skins have been shipped to Seattle three years in a row, how about some bicoastal retribution?  An emotional letdown, along with the cross country flight on a short week, results in a loss, putting the Skins at 7-4 through 12 weeks.



With five games left the Skins will be favored in three.  Through guile, determination and the burgeoning offensive prowess of the burgundy and gold I want to predict four wins out of five.  Rational thought leads me to predict three wins; Giants at home, Ravens and 49ers on the road.



After 18 weeks and 16 games, the Washington Redskins stand at 10-6.  The playoffs reached for the third time in four years, the Skins look to play the final game in Tampa.  History is on the Redskin’s side; after every Giant Super Bowl triumph the Redskins have won the following Super Bowl.  I learned in elementary school that history repeats itself.  Who isn’t ready for some football?


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