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Behind Enemy Lines

Behind Enemy Lines - Dear Jay

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Dear Jay,

You don’t know me, at least not personally but I guess you could say you know me because I am a Redskins fan and as such, you know a lot of us. Yes, I just used your first name like we are buds, although trust me, right now we are definitely not buds. You see, I’m not buds with thieves and less you think that isn’t possible let me explain that you have taken years off my life and stolen my hope. And faith. And trust.

Stop! Don’t put this letter down just yet. I didn’t write just to berate you although that was as tempting as an unguarded pie fresh out of the oven the day before Thanksgiving. Nope, I am writing to help you out. You see, I have a bit of a different view than you. I have watched from the sidelines, and from the stands, and from my living room, and let me tell you…the game is different from this side of the TV. So I have some observations for you before you take on the Giants on national TV on the single biggest pro football day of the year.

Here goes…

First, when you have been making positive yards all day running up the middle or to the left, DO NOT suddenly decide to run to the right when you absolutely, positively need one yard to ice the game. That is called over thinking it. It is also called getting cute and it has no place in your play book with the game on the line.

Second, on the plane ride home you need to sit next to Greg Manusky and explain to him that as an offensive coordinator your favorite defense to play against is the Prevent. You need to make him understand that it is only slightly less exciting to QBs like Drew Brees than a keg is to pledges at a frat party. I know I am just a layman who has never coached a Jr High game, much less an NFL contest, but 40 years of watching football at every level out there has taught me that the prevent doesn’t work often enough to be considered effective. In short, tell Greg to dance with girl who brung him, all the way to the end. Tell him you never want to see a prevent defense again. Ever.

Third, you are a pretty darn good coach…at least for the first 28 minutes of every half. Do us all a favor and recognize that you aren’t a good coach after any 2 minute warning. Then treat that flaw like you would any flaw you notice in a player and coach it. Work on it. Practice it. If you are working on it now, change how you work on it because whatever you are doing isn’t working. You are no better at managing the clock and calling plays inside 2 minutes today than you were the day you walked into Redskins Park for the first time. If there is one thing we fans can’t get over its watching you make the same mistakes over and over again expecting a different result. That, my friend, is called insanity.

Last, this team makes too many mistakes under pressure. As a general rule, that indicates a lack of discipline which is all on you as Head Coach. Today I watched a DB commit a stupid, useless penalty on his way to making a game saving INT. I watched two receivers drop passes that hit them in the hands while they were wide open. I watched a QB and two of his receivers run totally different plays after leaving the same huddle resulting in an accidental penalty costing us a down and 10 seconds of time more precious to you than a certain ring was to Gollum. Fix this. It is what you are paid so handsomely for. Just fix it.

Now listen, I don’t want to sound unappreciative. I know you have had a tough slough this year what with all the injuries. Heck, this was just the 10th game and I am pretty sure you have started 20 or so different offensive line combinations. That is pretty damn difficult, no question. You are playing a lot of guys right now who were waiting tables in September and one or two who were waiting tables last Thursday. I get it. But see, here is the thing. It is a violent game and there will always be injuries. It is your job to have the next man up ready to go when his name is called and you have done it. You understand? You have done the hard part. The problem now is getting you and your staff out of their way. Stop trying to appear to be the smartest guy in the room and just be smart.

So anyway, I know that is a lot to take in. And I know you have a short week to work with here but it would be great if you could get all this addressed by Thanksgiving. I am having my in-laws in for dinner that day and due to an unfortunate twist of geographical fate they are all Cowboys fans. It would be nice if you could arrange to not snatch defeat from the jaws of victory for the 3rd week in a row while I am sharing my living room with them.

Oh, and just to show there are no hard feelings I will save drum stick, some stuffing, a slice of cranberry sauce and big piece of fresh pumpkin pie for you to enjoy after you stick it to the NY football Giants.

Happy Thanksgiving, Your friend,

Bob
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