The Washington Redskins enter the second half of the 2008 season with plenty of classic good news/bad news scenarios.
Good news: The Redskins are 6-2. No other NFC team has won more games; they are a half game out of the NFC East lead and a game up in the race for a Wild Card spot.
Bad news: They haven't played particularly well lately. Mistakes, including fumbles, at key times are stalling offensive drives. They lost to the then-winless Rams and struggled to beat Cleveland and Detroit.
Good news: Nobody seems to be satisfied with the performance of the team. There is not a Norv-like "what we do works" mindset at Redskins Park. After his defense held the opposition to 274 yards, including just 57 yards rushing, 13 first downs, and 17 points in a win, Greg Blache likened the performance of his unit to "the South end of a North-bound skunk". Jim Zorn said, "We have to play more sudden. We have to know our assignments and know the technique. . . Were almost getting there – we just need to fix those little things."
Bad news: The injury bug is biting this team hard. Five starters—Chris Samuels, Cornelius Griffin, Jason Taylor, Shawn Springs, and Chris Horton—missed the Detroit game. Taylor and Springs already have been ruled out for Monday night's game and none of the other three is 100% certain to go against the Steelers. Clinton Portis and Santana Moss got dinged up later in the game and, at best, their practice time will be limited this week.
Good news: It could be a lot worse. These injuries are day to day, week to week issues. There hasn't been a season-ender or even a multi-week injury (typed with one hand while knocking on wood with the other). The bye week is coming after Monday and that's not a moment too soon.
Bad news: For the next four weeks, the schedule gets tougher than a three-dollar steak. There are contests against the two of the legitimate Super Bowl favorites in the Giants and Steelers. Another game is against the preseason favorites, the Dallas Cowboys, who will be coming off of a bye with Tony Romo back under center.
Good news: All three of those games are at home. On top of that there is the aforementioned bye coming in between the Steelers and Cowboys so Dallas has no advantage in terms of being rested.
Bad news: The Redskins will pay for all of that November home cooking by hitting the road for three of their four December games.
Good news: Two of those games are against teams that are flat-out bad, the Bengals and 49ers, and the other is against the up-and-down Ravens. It's never easy to win on the road in the NFL but it's unlikely that the Redskins will be facing stadiums packed with amped-up fans in Cincy and Frisco.