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2015 Week 10 Saints @ Redskins

Blognosticator - Canadian Hog

"If you don't like it, pitch better."

A seven word sign that hangs in the locker area of current free agent MLB pitcher, David Price, which serves as a reminder for what he expects of himself every time he takes the mound. Simple, to the point, and truly powerful.

The Washington Redskins are at a bit of a crossroads in the 2015 season. Sitting at 3-5 exactly at the midway point, they face an ever important question. That being, "who do we want to be?" This becomes the narrative the rest of the way.

Some Redskins fans would tell you that we are simply about the swirl the drain the rest of the way...tank so to speak. Spiral out of control on route to a 4 or 5 win season, and pick in the top 5 once again in the NFL Draft. In some regards, you can't fault fans for holding that belief - after all, it's what we're used to around these parts.

However, if you want some inspiration, if you want to have a reason to believe that we can "pitch better", put out the grease fire called Washington Redskins football, and have this franchise eventually turn a positive corner, look no further than the state of Louisiana.

That's right. The New Orleans Saints - coincidentally, our Week 10 opponent.

Let's take a moment to reflect back on what this team was in the past. In fact, let's look at some basic stats from a 15 year sample (1994 - 2008) leading up to their Super Bowl victory in '09.

In many ways, the Saints franchise during that time was exactly what we're suffering through as fans of the Redskins currently. We're talking about a team that had 9 losing seasons in the 15 which came before the Super Bowl year. This includes a six year span of sub .500 years and five seasons with double digit losses. Did I mention they changed starting quarterbacks like socks? In fact, they recycled through 11 of them before Drew Brees arrived on the scene. 11! Sound familiar? Count them - Jim Everett, Heath Shuler, Kerry Collins, Billy Joe Tolliver, Danny Wuerffel, Doug Nussmeier, Billy Joe Hobert, Jeff Blake, Aaron Brooks, Jake Delhomme, and Todd Bouman. Playoffs?! Playoffs?!?! Seriously, you want to talk about playoffs? How about 39 years before finally winning a playoff game in '06.

Yes, that was the New Orleans Saints franchise in a nutshell. Let's face it - this was a team that was talked about in the same breath as the Cubs, Maple Leafs, and Clippers of the pro sports world. Laughingstock. You want to talk about wearing a paper bag over your head to games - the Saints were the poster boys for that.

So fast forward from this monumentally bad period in Saints history to 2009, and BOOM! 13-3. Super Bowl. Brees and Payton, the missing pieces and the toast of the town bring refuge and salvation to an entire state. The Saints decided that it was time to "pitch better." Against all odds, they would put up the middle finger to history and say enough was enough.

So what's the point? The point is that if teams like the Saints, who have predominantly been laughingstocks for the majority of my life following pro football can get it right sooner or later, then there is no way in hell that a team with the resources, the strong passion among a fan base, and the overall proud history of the Redskins can't. In some regards, the Saints of '09 remind me why I refuse to quit. They remind me why Sundays are better spent suffering through the growing pains of a rebuild, instead of stepping away from the television and doing something else that I enjoy. At least I'd like to think so...

The magic of 2009 is something that Saints fans who hold that team near and dear to their hearts will NEVER be able to replicate. The feeling of victory and shedding the enormous weight of failure, negativity, hardship, and doom and gloom will never again be sweeter, no matter how many more Super Bowls this team goes on to win in the future. If our Redskins can make the improbable climb to the top in the future after all the suffering we've been through lately, I think we'd experience a similar feeling to what it must have felt like for those dancing in the streets of the French Quarter on that magical February night in New Orleans.

Alright, onto this Sunday forward to 2015 and interestingly enough, the Redskins are now facing a Week 10 opponent who in a scary number of ways (what do you know) embodies everything in 2015 that we've been for several seasons now. They also represent everything we are trying to avoid being as we push through the rebuild. Just look at the Saints' game vs. the Titans for instance from this past Sunday and ask yourself if we as fans of the Redskins have watched this movie time and time again?

Some of the New Orleans mistakes included:
  • Deciding that protecting the QB was meaningless, allowing the Titans to get four sacks on Drew Brees.
  • Running back Marcus Murphy fumbling a punt return that was recovered by the Titans and set up a field goal.
  • Keenan Lewis and Jairus Byrd collided in the first quarter, deflecting a pass that was caught by the Titans for a 61 yard TD.
  • Drew Brees was sacked and then intercepted in the end zone late in the third quarter.
  • Kyle Wilson was called for roughing the passer on third-and-9 in the fourth quarter, giving the Titans a first down. They scored two plays later.
  • Kai Forbath missed a potentially game-winning 46-yard field goal at the end of the fourth quarter.
  • Not to mention they lost to an inferior opponent on their home field coming off a three game winning streak.

Again, sound familiar?!?!?!

You want even more you say? Remember how our defense routinely make legends out of opposing players year in and year out? Take a look at what opposing QBs have done vs the Saints this year...

a. Jameis Winston put up a 114.6 passer rating.
b. Marcus Mariota put up a 135.7 passer rating.
c. Brandon Weeden put up a 105.6 passer rating.

I could go on and on, but the point is that New Orleans has allowed NFL quarterbacks to post a league-best 112.0 combined passer efficiency rating against them this season. To put the rating into perspective, the worst defensive passer efficiency rating by an NFL team since 2003 is 110.7 by the 2008 Detroit Lions, the only team in NFL history to finish 0-16!

Ghosts of Redskins past are wearing black and gold on Sunday at FedEx Field, folks. No doubt about it. "Beating ourselves" might actually be considered in a positive light for once. :)

All in all, Sunday represents an opportunity for this team. An opportunity to not fall into the habit of playing bad football just because everybody tells you that that's all you're capable of.

Remember David Price - "If you don't like it, pitch better?" Cousins, Gruden and company ought to be saying, "If you don't like it, play better." The fate of the Redskins doesn't always need to be the same old, same old. We don't need to swirl the drain in the second half of 2015. The Saints past history if nothing else, should inspire this group of such.

My prediction is that Cousins goes off, builds off the success he had two weeks ago at home vs. the Bucs, and has another seat or two reserved in his ever so slowly growing fan club. Jamison Crowder has his best game as a pro, and the Redskins give us a taste of the pleasure that cheering on this team in a few years might be like.

Final score: Redskins 27, New Orleans: 24.
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As we enjoy today's conversations, let's remember our dear friends 'Docsandy', Sandy Zier-Teitler, and 'Posse Lover', Michael Huffman, who would dearly love to be here with us today! We love and miss you guys ❤

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