A Burgundy and Gold Obsession
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A Burgundy and Gold Obsession

Ram-ifications

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Im going to say something that is entirely illogical and counter-intuitive.

Sundays road clash against the St. Louis Rams is a crucial game for the Washington Redskins.

Crucial, you say? Are you kidding? Its Week 2 of the NFL season theres no such thing as a crucial game this early in the season. And what might an early road win against St. Louis really mean anyway, given just how hapless, hopeless, and just plain bad these Rams have been? Were talking about a St. Louis team thats gone 15-65 over the previous 5 seasons, eeking out a 2-14 record in 2011. In their 2012 home opener, the Rams will be trying desperately to avoid their 9th straight regular season loss. This is a game even a still-rebuilding Redskins team should win.

But Redskins fans are already busy making mental preparations for the alternative. Like Pavlovs dog, weve been conditioned to expect that bell to ring, and see our Redskins underperform and lose just when the rational part of our mind tells us they should be turning the corner. Weve got a ready-made list of excuses that rise with ease to our lips:

RG3 is our future, but hes still a rookie quarterback whos going to make rookie mistakes.
We dont have an offensive line.
Our secondary sucks.
Its Jim Hasletts fault. Unless its Danny Smiths fault.
Cundiff sucks Gano wouldve made that kick.

You know what I mean. If we lose tomorrow, well generally chalk it up to business as usual for a team that occasionally shows promise but still isnt ready for prime time.

But thats why the Redskins really need to win tomorrow against an inferior Rams team. At some point, if youre ever, ever going to be relevant again, you have to shed your inner demons and start winning the games you should win again. And for the Washington Redskins, this is the season to start doing that. The harsh reality is, in todays NFL, there just arent many patsies out there. Easy wins are hard to come by. Just look at the worst teams the Redskins have played over the past couple of seasons, teams like the Panthers, Dolphins, Vikings, Rams, and Bucs. More often than not these are out-of-division teams weve lost to. With general parity across the league, and steadily tougher competition in the NFC East, beating weaker teams you should beat isnt a luxury, its a necessity.

Many Redskins fans have staked their position and set a lower bar for these 2012 Redskins. Were rebuilding, and anything close to a .500 record this year equals progress. Coming off a brutal 5-11 record last year, its hard to argue the point. But its also true that any Redskins fan with a pulse watching last weekends impressive performance, no matter how hard they tried not to, had a tiny whisper of a thought creep into their consciousness

What if.?

What if the Redskins are that team this year? What if they are the team that, inexplicably and shockingly, moves to the next level? Sea changes dont happen often, but they eventually happen for every franchise. It wasnt long ago that San Francisco was just awful. Then suddenly, they werent. Ditto Detroit. Every year, some NFL team redefines the landscape and pecking order of their division. Is it likely that this years Redskins team is that kind of team and that this season will be that moment for them?

Whether or not the time is now or John Maddens RG3-related gushings represent truth or a couple too many Miller Lites, anyone who watched last weeks surprising Redskins win over a supposedly superior Saints team came away with one conclusion.

This Redskins team is different.

Whether its Shanahan and Allen magic finally taking hold in year 3, the impact of a youth movement nearly across the board, or RG3's tide lifting all boats, theres something happening in DC.

Thats why Sundays game, against a bad St. Louis team in Week 2, matters. Its a chance to reinforce the notion that theres not just a new sheriff in town, but a new tradition building in DC.

And they call it winning.

Updated 09-15-12 at 03:09 PM by Boone

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