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Washington Redskins season preview: Dan Snyder’s undrainable swamp

Before the Eagles set off on what is sure to be a 100-year-dynasty of NFC East Championships, we’ll take a look at each of their divisional rivals and what they’ve got that could potentially derail the Birds seemingly sure-fire destiny.

Today, we’ll cover Washington, a franchise whose fan base would rather openly root against it than have any sort of long-term success, which appears to be a recurring theme in D.C. these days.

Washington 

What Happened Last Season: Washington choked. Not in epic, headline-grabbing fashion like the Cowboys choked. Not even in regional-camaraderie fashion like the Nats or the Caps. No, Washington had an old-fashioned playoff berth choke, dropping four-of-their-last-six to miss out on the postseason. Which is just a total epic party foul on the part of Kirk Cousins. Even Tony Romo kept his acid-reflux in control until the Wild Card round.

Sure, thanks to a tie with the Cincinnati Bengals, Washington technically had their first set of consecutive winning seasons since Dan Snyder bought the team in 1999. Bragging about that accomplishment would be like Blackberry announcing they’re rolling out a smartphone in 2018 that is entirely touchscreen — no keyboard! YOU LIKE THAT! This franchise has set the bar so ridiculously low, which is great because Donald Trump’s approval ratings could use some company.

What About The Offseason? No team in the NFL had a worse offseason than Washington, and that is not hyperbole. Sure, the Cowboys star player got suspended, the Giants sat on their hands, and the Iggles traded away a beloved role player for the sole purpose of (presumably) hurting my feelings. None of that compares to Washington, which somehow, after all these years, still finds a new foot to shoot.

Washington let DeSean Jackson, Pierre Garcon, and Chris Baker walk, and their most significant addition was former Cleveland Brown Terrelle Pryor. If as a fan you find yourself uttering the words “the guy we got from the Browns could be huge,” you may need to seek professional assistance. Pryor probably won’t help this team improve over 8-7-1, but that’s not why this summer was an utter disgrace.

Team owner Dan Snyder, presumably self-aware of his reputation as the most horrible person to own a sports franchise, decided to lean-in to that persona with more tilt than Melania Trump wearing stilettos on her way to a hurricane relief site. Despite their most successful (ha!) two-year run in a generation, Washington unceremoniously fired GM Scot McCloughan for the crime of being credited with his own success. Those who remain in the team’s front office then spent weeks slamming McCloughan on his way out, calling him a drunk and telling him “nobody liked him.” The Washington Front Office Exit Interview is apparently being conducted by a group of nine-year-olds over Instant Messenger. The former GM lasted three years in D.C., or as they call it inside the Beltway, “99-and-a-half Scaramuccis.”

The team's only real accomplishment this summer was somehow being only the second most dysfunctional organization located in Washington D.C. But hey, there are good people on many sides. MANY SIDES!

On top of all that, Washington completely bungled their contract negotiations with Kirk Cousins and will be paying him nearly $24 million, which is coincidentally or not the same number of people who have quit or been fired from Donald Trump’s White House. And this organization (Snyder’s, not Trump’s) has been just so good to its soldiers in the past, I’m sure Cousins is beaming with confidence that if he just does his job, Snyder will finally give him that long-term contract he’s so justly owed. Cousins is essentially Bronn from Game of Thrones, just with less charisma. That would make Snyder the Lannisters, and it doesn’t take much to imagine Danny Boy sitting across a negotiating table saying “the Snyder’s always repay their debts.” 

What’ll Happen This Season (Best Case Scenario): Cousins plays well enough to prove his success wasn’t a product of having Jaccpot and Peter Waiter. The defense improves under new coordinator Greg Manusky, proving the last three times he failed as a defensive coordinator totally weren’t on him at all. And Jay Gruden wins a lifetime achievement award for somehow dragging a Dan Snyder owned organization to three consecutive winning seasons. 

Oh, and they’ll sweep the Eagles. Because for some inexplicable reason, Washington has beaten the Birds in five consecutive contests, and I’m sure it has nothing to do with the fact that my younger sister is dating a Washington fan. THIS IS ALL YOUR FAULT, MATT! DM me for his home address, Philly faithful.

What’ll Happen This Season (Worst Case Scenario): Cousins stays healthy the entire year and plays just well enough to earn that multi-year contract -- only to plummet back to Earth in 2018. Or WORSE, he plays absolutely lights out, but when given the chance to sign a long-term contract with the team that franchise-tagged him twice, Cousins instead decides to go to a less dysfunctional franchise, like the one in Cleveland. Or EVEN WORSE THAN THAT, he plays absolutely terrible, prompting Washington to let him walk, and then goes to Cleveland on the veteran minimum where he leads the Browns to six consecutive Super Bowls. I’d like that.

Conclusion: No matter what happens, this franchise will screw it up. Even Reince Priebus looks at their staff and thinks “man, I’m glad I didn’t get stuck working there.” This fish stinks from the head down, and its demise seems an inevitable question of “when,” not “if.” That seems to be a recurring theme in D.C. these days.

Previously: Dallas Cowboys season preview: new faces but with same choking hazard