His issue is that the players are talking too much about winning the Super Bowl. In his column entitled “Big Pronouncements in August Can Haunt You in December” Wise quotes Clinton Portis talking about his goals:
"Winning the NFC East. Win the NFC championship game. Winning the Super Bowl. Rushing yards don't matter to me as long as I get a ring."
And Chris Cooley on how many passes he wants to catch this year:
“We win the Super Bowl, it doesn't matter to me.”
He follows with what he thinks in the real zinger, the most outrageous statement of them all:
And who can forget Mark Brunell's proclamation on Day One of training camp? "Anything short of going all the way would be a disappointment."
This, Wise says, is unorthodox and downright dangerous:
But most players gunning for a championship don't publicly talk about it. At all. Especially in training camp.
That’s silly, and it’s not true. It’s the goal of every player to go to the Super Bowl and win it. There isn’t a team out there that doesn’t think it has a chance and most players, when asked about personal goals, will say that they have none and their only goal is to help their team win it all. The recent history of worst-to-first performances in the NFL over the past decade or so backs up their confidence.
And what are the supposed say? As Brunell said, quoted by Wise in his column:
"If I had said, 'Hopefully, we'll win six games,' they would ship me out of here," Brunell said yesterday. "Thirty-one other starting quarterbacks should be saying the same thing."
All Portis and Cooley were saying is that the stats don’t matter, it’s the W’s that count. The ring is the thing. These guys aren’t boldly predicting that they’ll be hoisting the Lombardi in February. They are saying that they will be disappointed if they don’t get there. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that.
Certainly, as Wise points out, the Redskins aren’t bullet proof. Countless things could go wrong that would derail their bid for a special season. But that doesn’t mean that the players should do nothing but sit around and wring their hands worrying about it. It seems to me that the Redskins are striking a good balance between caution and optimism. Apparently, Wise disagrees.