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Odds, Ends and a Last Hail

Been a long time since this place got used… Too long. I had a hell of a time cleaning the cobwebs out so I could move back in today. And don’t even get me started about the dust. I’ll be sneezing for weeks.

But it’s clean now and ready for use. Hopefully it will be regular use too.

I don’t really have anything big for this first week, just a few quick hitters of varying importance.
So, Year 1 of the Gruden Era begins officially on Sunday. Good times. We hope.

Oddly, I don’t think Jay is the man wearing Redskins colors under the most pressure though. That title goes to non-other than Robert Griffin III. The kid set the NFL on fire his first year and then fell apart last year, largely under the pressure of his own expectations I think.

While I don’t think this is a “make or break” year for Griffin, it is a watershed year. He needs to prove some things this season. For starters he needs to prove he is healthy again and that the knee is fine. He also needs to prove that he has learned from past mistakes and can avoid the big hit as much as possible (no QB can avoid them all). And lastly he needs to prove that he can take care of the ball like he did as a rookie.
I’m looking for Orakpo to earn that Franchise tag money. The man can be a beast but disappears too much for my taste, often in the games we need him most in. I am hoping part of that has been a scheme that was too much dictated from to Haz from above but I fear a lot of it is the player himself…

I think we will see better out of him this year for two reasons:

First, he got franchised and so is playing for another contract. He is going to want to prove to the Skins, and failing that, to the rest of the NFL, that he is worth the big money he is looking for. That is going to require a career year.

Second, he has got to be hearing footsteps with the drafting of Trent Murphy. Murphy isn’t flashy but he is a lot like Kerrigan and with a solid rookie campaign could make Rak expendable to the Skins after this season. Nobody wants to be replaced easily. They all want to leave a big hole when they go. Rak is too much of a competitor to be any different.
Special Teams last year was epically bad. I mean like bad on a Biblical scale that only Noah could really understand. I’d like to think we just can’t get much worse there but this is the Redskins we are talking about. Just sayin’.

I like what I saw in the few minutes of pre-season action I caught but it is hard to tell what will happen when the games start to count. The special teams unit is still looking for a leader after the departure of Zo Alexander for the desert last year. They need that spiritual dude with the big attitude and infectious motor. So far, they haven’t replaced it and until they do I’m not sure if we will see the group perform as well as they have in years past.

Someone, anyone, please step up and fill Zo’s shoes. Quick.
Finally, this will be a season for me like no other in my 40 odd years of being a fan of the Burgundy and Gold. A sad season. A hard season.

In June, we lost a huge fan of the team when my little brother left us in a car accident.

He never joined BGO officially although he lurked from time to time but he would have fit in well with some of our larger than life personalities. He was a regular reader of this blog and he was equal opportunity with his criticism of it, giving me shit about whatever I wrote and giving me shit when I didn’t write anything. He was never without an opinion on anything the team was doing, or more recently, not doing but he also never failed to show up on game day to cheer his team on.

Growing up we spent many Sundays in front of the TV together watching our heroes play. As adults, living in different states, we spent many Mondays on the phone arguing and bitching about what the team could have done different.

We shared an apartment in Abilene back in 92 when the Skins beat the Bills for the last of Gibbs 3 titles. We spent week’s together living the high life in the middle of Cowboy country at the expense of all of our local friends who will be wearing a star this weekend.

And so I have avoided a lot of Skins talk this summer. I’ve watched almost none of the team’s pre-season games. Read none of the hipe, here or in the papers. But on Sunday I can’t do that. I will have to face my first Skins game in 44 years without him. His jersey will stay in his closet, hung there with care back in January awaiting a new season of hope that for him will never come. His couch will be empty and his living room silent. On Monday my phone won’t ring with his call to talk about the game.

Jamie, I hope you have a front row seat wherever you are and I hope you like what you see from our team. Here’s to you, little brother. Hail!

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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 ❤