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Skins.Fan
01-04-2005, 02:29 PM
I may have messed up trying to post this a second ago, if so, I'm sorry about that. Here is what I meant to post.



I Think We All Saw That One Coming
By: Trevor Walters
January 4, 2005

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. We’re mathematically eliminated, simply playing out the string. A good team comes to town, or any team for that matter, and we walk away with a victory. It happened the year before last with the Texans, and before that, there was a huge blowout of the Saints once our playoff hopes had been extinguished.

There are really two ways to look at this victory, so I’ll lay them both out for you, and you can choose which best suits your mindset. First, there is the ever pessimistic thought that all we did Sunday with our win over the Vikings was lower our draft pick for this April’s draft (down from a projected fifth to ninth). While this is certainly true, it cannot be denied that we showed a high degree of character by winning a game that was virtually meaningless. Remember that we did so without running back Clinton Portis, the over-rated Lavar Arrington, and Fred Smoot, a great American, and it begins to look even more impressive. With this in mind, we can at least say that the sour taste that will dwell in our collective mouth for the next several months is somewhat more tolerable.

It’s true that the Vikings are a playoff team, and easily the best team that we defeated this season, but they are also the same Vikings that fade each December with alarming regularity. No matter which side of the fence you find yourself on, there is an enticing argument to draw you over to the other way of thinking.

Just when I was about to hop onto the stump and lecture random passersby that Sean Taylor should be the clear winner of the Defensive Rookie of the Year Award, he mails in the season’s finale, and leaves the door open for someone else to jump in and grab the honor. Taylor is an enigmatic person, but he hopefully has landed on a team with a solid veteran core that will help to guide his development as a pro. That said, he must shun the Arringtonian philosophy of going for the big hit, as opposed to making the tackle, and he must find some way to shun his growing reputation of a dirty hitter. We’ve had to endure the “Carrier Rules” once before, and I hope that we don’t have to see those days again.

And what of Ladell Betts? Had he performed last season as he did Sunday, perhaps the Clinton Portis trade never comes to pass. Betts is a better fit for Gibbs’ system, but is clearly an inferior talent as compared to Portis. It is good to have a back that can step in when his number is called, but would you be comfortable if this had been week nine, and Betts was penciled in as the starter for the weeks to come? In the last game of the season, with little on the line, we truly had nothing to lose if Betts had laid an egg. If Betts is to truly be an asset to the team, then we’re going to need a more consistent effort from him. The hope is, of course, that that effort won’t need to come in a starting role – because that would mean that Portis was injured – but his primary concern should be to provide this team with a change of pace back that compliments Portis, as well as the offense.

This season’s final game ball goes rather unceremoniously to Ladell Betts. In my little world, Betts has truly come full circle. After the Ravens game, I wouldn’t have given Betts air if I had him in a jar. However, as the season progressed, Betts quietly upped his effort and production, thereby solidifying his role on the team. His production in the season’s final game illustrated that he has sufficient talent to excel when his team needs him, leaving only consistency as his final frontier.

cont.

Skins.Fan
01-04-2005, 02:30 PM
Let’s take a look around the league and see what else happened, on this, the darkest day of the year; the final week of the NFL season.

- The Saints missed the playoffs despite finishing the season at an alarmingly sufficient 8-8. Typical season for the Saints, and essentially a reminder to all New Orleans-area real estate agents that they can start a listing under “Haslett” for the spring.
- Even though the Eagles played their B team, it is still surprising to see Cincinnati march into Philadelphia and win by four touchdowns. Truth be told, it’s strange to see the words “Cincinnati”, “win”, and “four touchdowns” in the same sentence. Oh yeah, I do remember that they beat us.
- Just for laughs, let’s take a look at the teams that I picked to win the NFC’s four divisions, and then who actually won them. I picked the Packers, Eagles, Rams, and Panthers. The first two are right, while the final two should have been the Seahawks and Falcons respectively. I still say the Seahawks are over-rated, and I could be vindicated with a Rams road victory in Seattle this coming weekend.
- The 49ers, at 2-14, are officially on the clock, marking the first time since 1979 that San Francisco has held the first overall selection. Instead of using the selection 26 years ago, the Niners swapped the pick to Buffalo for O.J. Simpson. Since Simpson is busy frantically searching for his wife’s actual killer, suffice it to say that this deal won’t be rehashed, even though current 49er management has shown a propensity for the absurd.
- With all the talk about the Steelers phenomenal season, and the god-like status assigned to the Patriots, I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see the Colts sneak into the Super Bowl to match up with, who else, the Rams.
- It warms my heart to see that the Ravens missed the playoffs. Now the miscreants in purple can get those pesky summer jail sentences out of the way in time to become familiar with their new parole officers before camp in July.
- Emmitt Smith, who took his first NFL handoff from Roger Staubach, has yet to declare that this is his final season. I have long held the belief that Smith is the single most selfish player this side of Bruce Smith that the NFL has ever known. If you don’t agree, I challenge you to give me one other reason why he’s still playing. Arizona’s chances of making the playoffs? His production? There is no other reason for him to come back other than to set his records so high that no one will ever touch them. That entire Dallas offensive line should have their picture by Smith’s name in the record book since it was their talent and effort that made Smith’s accomplishments possible.
- I hope that John Hall uses this off-season to strengthen his leg so that we can actually see a touchback or two next season. Honestly, I really thought that they made a Gramatica just for that purpose.
- The Fightin’ Robiskies messed with the Texans and emerged victorious, 22-14. Robiskie will find himself on some staff next season, and that team’s version of me will remark that he is a good pickup because he ‘has some head coaching experience’, at which time, I will shart myself laughing.
- If I could, let me clear up a little housekeeping from last week. First off, the title of the column was in reference to our offensive performance against Dallas, and not a commentary on the season as a whole. Also, in my reflection on the life of Reggie White, it was brought to my attention that there were worse tragedies in the world last week, most notably the atrocities that have occurred as a result of the tsunami. While I asserted, correctly I might add, that White’s passing is not a football story, I acknowledge that the mention of it in my column was a result of his having played football. However, it is not my intention to address major news stories of the day, nor do I believe that it is yours to gather information on the happenings around the world from some yahoo Redskins homer.
- We were 3-1 against the NFC North, and if Tom White hadn’t tried to fix the game as if it were a WWE bout, we would have been 4-0 against those same opponents. This isn’t a point of pride so much as it’s astounding that a 6-10 team can boast any degree of success of against any particular demographic.
- In a disturbing turn of events, it seems as if the contract talks with Fred Smoot, a great American, have come to a crossroads. Clearly, my voice hasn’t been heard by anyone involved in the talks, so my quest must continue. Resign Fred Smoot!

Well, friends and neighbors, this season for us has seen its last play. The emptiness is normal, and is only accentuated when I think that it will be many painful months before we can see Redskin football again. As Redskins fans, there is often plenty to discuss in the off-season, and with that in mind, let me say that the column will continue on regular schedule all through the off-season. The staff is meeting to discuss which direction to guide the franchise, so I’ll be here proposing scenarios of my own.

In weeks to come, I’ll dissect the team and analyze areas of need. Shockingly, even though we were a disappointing 6-10, I don’t see very many gaping holes in the depth chart. I think that we can fill those that we do have, as well as perhaps repairing facets of the team that are seemingly held together with spit and duct tape.

The first full season that the column has seen is now finished as far as we are concerned. Keep checking in this off-season for your weekly Redskins football fix. Hail to the Redskins!



Questions and comments can be sent to Trevor Walters at skins.fan@comcast.net

cmdlost29
01-04-2005, 03:02 PM
Wow I really like this article for some reason. For one I agree with him that by winning we lost (draft position). For two although I love Arrington, he does have a knack for not playing fundamental football and rather plays too aggressive for our teams own good. I don't want that to rub off on Sean. The comments about Betts, that is total speculation as for his future. I don't agree that he will be a better fit for our team over Portis. Maybe the case could be made with our current O-line, but hopefully next year our line can block better for Portis then it did this year. If not then RB by committee sounds fine to me if Betts is deserving of that.

Bottom line is what is done is done and we won a game and all of Redskins land can sleep easy this offseason with dreams of a winning season dancing in our heads this winter!!!