Redskins

Redskins

Over the last four seasons, the Redskins are 31-32-1. 

Mediocrity defined.

Problem is, the team believes they're on the verge of something grander.

"We're in the middle of the pack," Bruce Allen told reporters Tuesday at the Senior Bowl. "It means you're close, it means you're close to being better."

"Yeah, we were two games out of a playoff," Allen added later while reviewing the 2018 campaign. "No matter how you want to look at the season, we were two games out of it, and the year before we were one game out of it, and the year before we were one game out of it."

Four years. One forgettable playoff appearance followed by three misses.

If Washington truly thinks that they're legitimately close to breaking through, then they will never break through.

Think back to this past weekend, where four elite groups battled it out for Super Bowl spots in two epic duels. Can you imagine this iteration of the Burgundy and Gold ever reaching that level of football?

Sure, if you ignored the many flaws, perhaps you felt the 6-3 'Skins who led the division back in November could do some measure of damage in the postseason. Allen, Jay Gruden and others in Ashburn point to that stretch whenever they can.

But even that group, when it was still mostly healthy, felt at least a level below top contenders. They came out totally flat in their home opener, suffered a pair of 24-point losses and gave up 500 yards to Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Bucs during those nine contests.

 

You know the rest — multiple quarterbacks went down as did a slew of other contributors, and the Redskins' hopes went with them.

"We didn't finish strong," Allen said. "I'm not going to use injuries as an excuse because we had some opportunities to win some games at the end of the year that we didn't."

He's right in not wanting to use the battered roster as an excuse. But even then, he brought up the "heartbreaking injuries" again later on and mentioned hopefully having a "healthy team for the 2019 season" when answering a question about bringing Gruden back as coach.

And therein lies the issue.

Even when everyone's on the field, there currently aren't enough difference-makers to elevate this bunch out of the "middle of the pack." 

Plus, who cares about being one or two games out of a playoff spot?

That may signal something worth building upon in the much longer seasons of the NBA, NHL or MLB, but in the NFL, where you only play 16 times, one or two games represents a significant gap in quality.

Yes, there's something to the Redskins finding themselves on somewhat stable ground. That hasn't been the case for much of this century.

That said, Washington absolutely can't get comfortable with where it is and must avoid acting as if it's on the cusp of something special.

"If we can keep our team together," Allen said, "I think [the fans] saw a good football team."

As long as that's the thought process, the only thing Redskins fans will see are other franchises playing in January and February while theirs keeps coming up short.

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