Thursday, September 24, 2009

Why I'm Nervous About This Detroit Game

All ridiculous histrionics about a Redskins player's Twitter updates aside, I've been apprehensive about Washington's Week 3 match-up against the Detroit Lions. Seriously, it's like folks forgot how big of a football town the greater DC metro area really is. I know people have been overreacting to the Skins' lackluster 9-7 over the lowly St. Louis Rams, but when have we as a fanbase ever NOT overreacted to stuff?

Poor Robert Henson should have probably done more homework on how fanatical Redskins fans can be, though I'm not mad at what he wrote. I just wish that instead of condemning his outburst after the fact, some team veterans had helped fill the rookies in on more of the do's and don'ts and get them better acclimated to being a professional athlete. On the other hand, every rookie's hand cannot be held at all times. Yeah, he messed up, but I don't now hate him forever and want to see him cut because he wrote some silly things on Twitter.

Predictably, this week's palpable tension between fans, the players, the coaches and the front office has been endlessly talked about by local and national media. This fabricated and blown-out-of-proportion firestorm has made the Redskins look vulnerable, making them the fashionable pick to end Detroit's 19-game losing streak over the past two seasons.

In my opinion, we are not as vulnerable as everyone is making us out to be. However, the actual reason for all this bullshit hoopla is what has me worried about Sunday's game -- the Skins' stagnant offense.

The longer the offense continues to bog down, the more you can expect a lack of confidence to seep in. Coaches become scared to take chances and take the safe route too much, while players become so scared of messing up that they fail to make big plays. This lost confidence could potentially give way to self-doubt and anger within the ranks, which is a very dangerous prospect when facing a team as desperate for a win as the Lions are.

Yes, I admit that the offense has not executed well enough within striking distance of the goal line, but the sky isn't quite falling, either. For all the talk of how the Redskins failed to score a single touchdown on five tries from inside the 20, further analysis paints a somewhat less grisly picture. The truth of the matter is that two touchdown passes were dropped by Devin Thomas and Mike Sellers, respectively. Yes, these players still have to make these plays in order for that to count for anything, but at least the opportunities were there to be had. Also, the fifth drive inside the red zone was when we kneeled out the remainder of the game; not exactly the same as failure to score a red zone TD.

Still, the Lions are not only desperate, they are also not nearly as shitty as they were last year. Even if we play well, expect Detroit to be competitive at home, as they have been in their first two games. If the Redskins do not get in the end zone early and often, they will likely lose this game.

Going on the evidence of the first two games this season, there is little reason to expect the Redskins to perform significantly better than they have so far. Maybe I'm being a homer, but I think we have the talent to do exactly that. It's up to the team to decide whether it will happen or not.

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