You can reach Rich Tandler by email at WarpathInsiders@comcast.net
Some day we’ll look back on this and it will all seem funny.
He didn’t hesitate.
When a reporter asked Joe Gibbs last night if he was “relieved” that the preseason was over and that the preparation for games that count was now officially underway, there were no qualifiers from the coach. He didn’t say anything about never having too much time to evaluate players or about wanting more time to get ready. The reporter couldn’t even finish his question before Gibbs interrupted.
“Yes. Yes, certainly. . .When you ask me if I’m glad it’s over, I’d say ‘yeah’.”
He was speaking for himself, but he was also speaking on behalf of Redskins fans, players, reporters, and coaches everywhere.
Thank God it’s over. Let the real games begin.
It started off with a real downer in Clinton Portis’ shoulder injury just a few minutes into the first game, and it’s been going further into the toilet from there. A couple of days later we learned that Shawn Springs had undergone a surgical procedure on his groin (ouch!). In the first quarter of the Jets game we had the chilling sight of Cornelius Griffin on the ground grimacing with a knee injury. The fact that it turned out to be minor did little to raise spirits as the Redskins put on another mediocre showing. After that one Joe Gibbs’ words said, “concern” while his tone of voice and body language said, “pissed” during his uncharacteristically brief post-game press conference.
Instead of being greeted as a deal that would help the team, the T. J. Duckett trade was dissected and labeled by many as a panic move that was a sure sign that Portis’ shoulder was much worse than the Redskins were letting on. Then in the one supposedly semi-meaningful preseason game, the one where the starters go deep into the contest, it was no contest as the Patriots pasted the Redskins 41-0 with even stalwarts such as Jon Jansen looking shaky.
This past week we’ve had Al Saunders hauntingly bringing back Norv Turner’s notorious “what we do works” statement and Gregg Williams shrugging off the defense’s lack of effectiveness by claiming that he had done “zero” game planning. The excuse making seemed to be quite beneath two such accomplished coaches. “What we do” plus “zero” added up to another lackluster exhibition performance against the Ravens, the only positive aspect of which was the fact that it put the preseason in the rear view mirror.
We can now turn our thoughts to serious issues such as Mark Brunell’s durability, who the #2 quarterback behind him is, Portis’ shoulder, Duckett’s role in the offense, Springs’ status, Adam Archuleta’s learning curve in Williams’ defense and other such pressing matters. But let’s just take a day here to savor the end of the agony that was preseason 2006 and enjoy the fact that we no longer have to suffer through it. Those questions marks will still be there tomorrow.
Rich Tandler is the author of The Redskins From A to Z, Volume 1: The Games. This unique book has an account of every game the Redskins played from when the moved to Washington for the 1937 season through 2001. For details and ordering information go to http://www.RedskinsGames.com