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Thread: The Turn Around

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    B The Turn Around



    It’s got to happen at some point, right? I mean, as a long-suffering fan of these Washington Redskins, I cling desperately to the belief that at some point my beloved franchise will emerge from the dark tunnel of misery into the glorious light again.

    Whether by design, luck, or just sheer statistical probability, at some point the Redskins are going to be good again. Not just for a 6-game stretch, or one magic season, but for an era.

    The only real question is – will I live to see it?

    I’ve been watching the Burgundy and Gold for decades, mostly wringing my hands, and gnashing my teeth along with the rest of you. While we’ve had some great moments, sustained stretches of franchise success have been glaringly absent. Why is that?

    You’re already giving the easy answer – Dan Snyder and Bruce Allen. It’s like I know what you’re going to say before you’ve even begun to open your mouth

    But is it so simple? What does it really take to become a dominant, elite team?

    Here’s my list of prerequisites:

    1. Talent. It’s an obvious factor, but the Redskins have failed to acquire and keep the best talent for decades. They’ve done it all – given away draft picks like Halloween candy, tried to buy their way to better talent by picking up veteran stars from other teams, alienated and pissed off talented players they have managed to find, and overvalued and held on to mid-tier talent far too long. It’s tough to admit, but one of the primary reasons the Skins haven’t had a significant stretch of success is simple. We just haven’t had a ton of talent on our roster. To really win and win for a long time, we need great talent across all 3 units.

    2. Team identity. This is a big one. Great teams, ones capable of dominating their division for years and perennial playoff participants, have an identity. The Steelers are big, strong, and mean. They pound you on the ground and then pound you some more. The Patriots have usually won the game before they take the field, having dissected your tendencies and developed a game plan to exploit your every weakness. The Redskins once had an identity. Under George Allen and Joe Gibbs, fans knew what their team was about, what the coach valued, how the team would be built, and what it would try to do to opponents. Great teams know who they want to be and set about becoming it. It’s been a long time since I’ve had any clear vision of this team’s identity. I don’t know if you invent an identity, and then go about building a team that reflects it, or if it becomes self-evident as a team evolves into it. I only know we don’t have one and haven’t for most of the past several decades.

    3. Transformational players. There is ‘talent’. And then there are those players who have ‘it’. The WR who makes the improbable circus catch to win the OT game that sends you into the playoffs. The defender who sacks the QB, strips him of the ball, and rumbles into the endzone for a critical touchdown that turns the tide in a huge game. Great teams have those guys, who when you need it most, seize the opportunity and make the plays required to win games and move the franchise forward. We’ve had a few of these kinds of cats over the past 20 years, but only a few. Santana Moss, London Fletcher, and most recently, Adrian Peterson. But game changing players have been hard to come by. Football fans like to say, ‘that team just knew how to win’, but it is those transformational players who fuel consistent winning and allow you to win when you absolutely must.

    4. A Franchise QB. Yeah – I know – Trent Dilfer. Any QB can catch lightning in a bottle for a stretch. It happens. But to have a dominant era of sustained success, you have got to have a great QB and keep him, preferably in the same offense for an extended period. During a 22 season stretch from 1967-1985, the Redskins had just 3 primary starting QBs (Jurgensen, Kilmer, and Theismann). Our modern Redskins have had 12 different QBs during the same stretch, shuffling through a myriad of offenses under more offensive coordinators and head coaches than I care to count – and none of them were true franchise QBs.

    5. Great coaching. As fans, we tend to think that the head coach is everything. If only we get the right guy leading the way, everything will fall in place. It’s probably a fallacy. Having a great coach is a wonderful thing. But even the mighty Joe Gibbs could not bring about sustained success and transform the franchise during his second stint. We give head coaches too much credit when things go well, and too much blame when they don’t. While having an outstanding head coach is essential to sustained success, even a great head coach cannot overcome deficits in some of the above critical areas.

    Those are the 5 things I believe a professional football organization must have to usher in an era of sustained winning, elite play, dominance, and perennial playoff appearances. We know how the Redskins have fared in those 5 categories up till now, but how are we looking on this front as we head into the 2019 season? Are the Redskins poised to begin an era of sustained franchise-turning success? Or will they continue to sputter along, mired in mediocrity, for the foreseeable future?

    When it comes to the first ingredient – talent – the Redskins have improved greatly. Those improvements have been driven by a newfound appreciation for the value of draft picks, and more skilled use of them. On both sides of the ball, the Redskins seem to have gotten better at identifying future talent, particularly in the later rounds. Epic injuries have made the assessment of some of those picks difficult, and there have of course been misses as well, but the 2019 Redskins roster has a ton of young potential talent. While there are still areas of concern, it is possible that with another draft or two this football team will begin to look like one of the better young rosters in the league.

    When it comes to a team vision and identity, I cannot give the Redskins high marks heading into 2019. We saw a glimpse of team identity emerging in 2018 with Alex Smith at the helm. Perhaps had he not been injured, that would’ve continued to evolve. That team played smash mouth, run dominant offense with an emphasis on making fewer mistakes than the opposition and eking out wins in low scoring contests. But since that was really the first year Gruden based his offense on a stout running game, one can hardly herald it as a new team identity. Some have predicted that the next great organizational identity will be based on a dominating physical defense, but the truth is, particularly during the Gruden era, Redskins fans have no idea what to expect from this team. 2019 is no different and that remains a problem.

    Does this 2019 team have some transformational players on it – guys who when we need it most, will make those critical plays that change a game’s momentum or outcome? We certainly have more candidates this year than in previous years. Payne, Allen, and Peterson are definite possibilities. But we will need for some of our younger additions – Sweat, McLaurin, Quinn, Moreland, Haskins, and others – to show that they can be these types of players in the future. We simply won’t know, until we know.

    Has our long, enduring search for a real franchise QB ended? We may not find out in 2019. But Dwayne Haskins has a legitimate chance to be that guy. He’s big, he’s smart, he’s unselfish, he’s got a great attitude, and he’s got the best QB arm we’ve had since Sonny. But does he have ‘it’ – that intangible ability to lead the offense, play his best when we need it most, and elevate those around him? None of us knows that answer yet.

    Perhaps the biggest question mark of all is our head coach, not just whether he is capable of being the kind of head coach great teams require, but whether he’ll even hold that title 12 months from now. I’ve made my thoughts on Jay Gruden known many times. I think he’s a better coach than he sometimes appears to be and he’s easy to root for. But the criticisms of Gruden, that his teams fade most often when the pressure is highest, that his play calling is inconsistent and uninspired, that he frequently gets out-coached, that his teams sometimes look unprepared and undisciplined, are all valid ones. He hasn’t had the best of luck and one can argue he’s had more than his share of barriers to overcome. But his time is running out. NFL history has plenty of examples of great coaches who started out slow. Many failed in their first NFL gig, and only found major success later. If Gruden doesn’t win in 2019, he may get his chance to prove himself elsewhere.

    I’d love to say, we’ve met 4 out of 5 of the requirements for greatness that I defined, and that in 2019, we’re going to check box #5 . But there are simply too many questions unanswered. How talented IS this team? Can we stay healthy long enough to find out who good this roster really is and build some real team chemistry? Are any of these players difference makers and how many of those transformational type players have we added? What kind of team are we going to have and continue to build going forward? Is this the year we forge a long-standing identity or will it be yet another approach and look that changes again next season? Is Dwayne Haskins as good as I’ve characterized him or are we destined for disappointment as we have been so many times before? Will the Haskins era start in 2019 – or will Gruden ride Keenum all year in a desperate effort to eke out enough wins to save his job? And finally, can Gruden show enough coaching moxie and skills in 2019 to get this team to the playoffs and secure himself as the head coach of the future?

    That my friends, is a ton of questions.

    I’m pretty sure I have accurately defined what it’s going to take for the Washington Redskins to usher in a new era of greatness and dominance.

    And I’m pretty sure I have no idea how close or far our franchise is to achieving my 5 imperatives or how we will fare in 2019.

    I guess we’ll all find out together
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  2. #2

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    Default Re: The Turn Around

    As I have mentioned many times over the last 20yrs, and you have in recent years, the head coaching carousel has been the biggest obstacle in the way of us returning to glory. It has negatively affected every aspect of the organization. Hard to draft successfully when coaches/schemes/direction changes every couple of years. Compounded by some of the choices being dreadful.

    Snyder, while guilty of a lot, did not bring on the era we've been stuck in since Joe retired, the 1st time. He inherited it. I'd say his initial instincts were correct. At least in the short term. Forced to stick with the status quo by the NFL dragging their feet during the purchase, his ultimatum to Norval helped produce a playoff birth. After that, he was 100% justified in firing Turner. Bringing in Marty a fantastic first hire. If only he had the patience to stick with his 1st choice. We all know the rest.

    Of course, I can't let it go that you lump Gibbs II in with all the rest during Snyder's ongoing reign. Gibbs walked back into a bigger shit show than Gruden did, and produced 2 playoff seasons, with 1 playoff win, in 1 less year. As the old saying goes, Gruden couldn't hold Gibbs II's jockstrap. And he couldn't even make waterboy during Gibbs I.

    In addition, I'd add Sean Taylor to the transformational players list that we've had.

    So, to this year. I believe we have enough talent, starter wise, to win our division. Sure, we need a break or two.
    But unless you have a Tom Brady, who doesn't?

    You're right that we have no identity. The ball control/limit turnovers/play tough defense that was forced upon Gruden last season, should be the starting point this year. We'll see.

    I'd say we do have some players with potential to be, transformational. Obviously on defense. Allen, Payne, and Collins. Could be some surprises too.
    On offense, it's too early to tell. But if Guice, McLaurin, and Haskins come through in the next few years, hey?

    At QB, I think Case is more than good enough to lead a healthy team into the playoffs. Haskins, like all rookie QB's, is an unknown crap-shoot.
    But, we're all hoping.

    You know my feelings on Gruden. Nobody will be rooting harder for him to lead this team back to glory than me. Nobody.
    It's just that, IMHO, he has appeared to be another Norval. Good coordinator. Average/below average as a head coach.
    If he has not progressed from what he's been so far, then he is the weakest of the 5 criteria you've listed.

    In closing, anyone who doesn't want to see Gruden, Allen, and Snyder hoisting our next Super Bowl trophy, is a closet cowboy fan.

    HTTR!!!
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  3. #3
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    Default Re: The Turn Around

    If I am thinking along the lines of a generational change in approach and leadership for the franchise, I am preaching patience.

    The past two drafts IMO have been excellent ones.

    The Redskins by being patient were able to let Jonathan Allen, a top 5 talent, drop to #17 overall at a hard position to fill with real quality, DT.

    This year the same dynamic unfolded as a player, Dwayne Haskins, projected to go at #6 to the NY Giants or #12 to the Dolphins fell to Washington and we were smart enough to pounce.

    We didn't freak out and give up multiple picks to move up as we carelessly did for Rocky McIntosh years ago or Robert Griffin in 2012.

    Another example of the patience is the pick of Bryce Love in the fourth round.

    Love wasn't going to be ready for the OTAs or training camp, for all intents and purposes Year 1 is probably going to be a red shirt year for Love.

    But Washington was willing to pass on the immediate help for the chance to take a player that if healthy would have gone in one of the top 2 rounds.

    To go along with that not overpaying Bashad Breeland or Preston Smith when they became free agents was also a sign the team was going to be realistic with the cap and dollars spent on personnel.

    The Packers IMO overpaid for Preston Smith based upon what he showed here in DC.

    That type of overpay is symptomatic of a team that is not drafting well, and indeed the quality of Green Bay's drafts has fallen in proportion to where they were in 2010 when they won the Super Bowl to 2018 when they were near the bottom of the NFC North.

    Patience to me in 2019 is in part the discipline to make sure sure Haskins is ready before starting him.

    I hear radio personalities talk about Case Keenum's limitations and how Haskins needs to be thrown into the fire right away.

    WRONG.

    If I am the owner or GM of the Redskins, I am not putting Haskins out there in Philly against Fletcher Cox when he is going against Geron Christian in his first NFL start or Donald Penn still working his way into shape after missing offseason workouts as a free agent.

    I let Keenum play those first 4-5 games of the year at least if not the first 8, and transition Haskins into the lineup when he is not only more knowledgeable about the system but when the OL has had a chance to solidify itself.

    That's the smart move.

    No need to see Haskins get hit blind side by Cox and be in the concussion protocol entering Week 2 of the season.

    That doesn't serve anyone's interest.
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    Default Re: The Turn Around

    Thanks for the great replies guys

    Obviously Gibbs is a HOFer. My point was that even he, when faced with the limitations in the other 4 areas of importance, was not able to turn this ship around. If he had been able to, we'd still be enjoying the effects of it. Yes - his winning record was better than Gruden's - but not by much. And Gruden has had several seasons where the team was on the cusp on the playoffs and has also had to contend with injuries unlike anything during the Gibbs II era. Yes - he failed to *get* to the playoffs and he owns those collapses. But he did get us to the cusp several times. And he had the team marching inexplicably towards a division title and the playoffs last year before we lost all of our QBs and half our starters to injury.

    It is what it is. I simply argue that the final draft of his book has yet to be written. But I think I fairly assessed that category and acknowledged that head coaching has not been a pillar of strength for us so far.

    It's interesting that there's a persistent belief that had we only kept Marty he'd have led us to glory. His follow-up stint as Head Coach of the Chargers looks almost identical to Gruden's time here. He got his team to the playoffs twice, where despite having Drew Brees (later Phillip Rivers) and LaDanian Tomlinson in the backfield, they promptly suffered home losses in their first game (to the Patriots and the Jets). Shottenheimer won a ton of games over the course of his long career, and I'm not dismissing that. But the rub on him was similar to Gruden. He frequently won just enough to be on the edge of the playoffs, and once there, didn't have a lot of success with a 5-13 playoff record. In 8 of the 13 seasons his team made the playoffs, they lost their first playoff game.

    Would I prefer that to our last 13 seasons? I think you know the answer to that. Gruden couldn't hold Shottenheimer's jock to date in terms of success. But he IS in his first head coaching stint, and how good a head coach he ultimately will be is not certain - yet.
    Last edited by Boone; 08-20-19 at 12:20 PM.
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  5. #5
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    Default Re: The Turn Around

    I disagree. Comparing simply the results of various coaches ignores the particulars, which can be important.

    One of the most egregious elements of the Gruden era has been a lack of team discipline. Without that you really don't have the foundation for success, on any level.

    No, Schottenheimer didn't win a championship but he did get 3 teams to the AFC Championship Game (CLE and KC), only to lose grueling games to HOF quarterback John Elway in two of those.

    Schottenheimer went 14-2, 13-3 and 12-4 with teams under his stewardship.

    And from my memory I never thought at the time that Cleveland or KC was close to having the best physical team in the NFL. A lot of what they accomplished at the time was considered to be as an 'overachieving' and 'disciplined' team.

    Schottenheimer's failure in some playoff games to make situational changes in his strategy and approach/gameplan likely cost him a chance to advance at least once to the Super Bowl.

    Meanwhile, Jay Gruden is a coach whose best season was 9-7 in a year when the NFC East didn't produce another team with a winning record. The Redskins went on to lose that home playoff game in an absolute rout, 35-18 to Green Bay, confirming they were a club that advanced largely due to a lack of competition in the division.

    In other seasons the Redskins stumbled repeatedly at home with playoff spots on the line, none more visible than the loss to the Giants in 2016 when NY was resting several offensive starters.

    No, Jay Gruden is by all accounts as Parcells indicated, what his record is - a mediocre head coach.

    Schottenheimer by record was an excellent regular season coach who often got more out of his teams than was expected by the experts. But he failed to advance to a Super Bowl, in part because he carried a too conservative mind set into playoff games where adjustments/changes in strategy were often called for.

    That's what separates him from a Gibbs or Walsh or Parcells who were able to completely change a game plan week to week to take advantage of matchups and come out and surprise opponents with innovation.

    There is no doubt in my mind that given time that Schottenheimer left to his own devices would have turned the Redskins into 10-6 or 11-5 caliber playoff contenders.

    He's perhaps the only coach I can remember that finished a season on an 8-3 roll and was fired anyway.

    Marty made some critical clean-up decisions to correct past mistakes made by Snyder, ie the release of Jeff George, the purge of Deion Sanders, and IMO would have had the roster purged of a number of overpriced, underachievers that had been brought in as free agents.

    Meanwhile, younger players like Chris Samuels and LaVar Arrington were vocal supporters of Marty and these were the players that at that time were going to be the future of the team through the 2000's.
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    Default Re: The Turn Around

    I made it clear I wasn't comparing overall records or achievements. The point was that Shottenheimer was wrapping up his career at the time the Skins let him go, and did not do much better after he left DC than Gruden has done so far. That's not to say he wasn't a hell of a coach - and I clearly stated that. I don't think his firing speaks very well of Dan Snyder and I certainly didn't cheer that decision. I'm just arguing against the assumption that had we only kept him in DC, we'd have really done something. It's an unprovable assertion, but one that is made frequently. I believe he'd have been hamstrung by the same organizational deficits every other head coach we've had, including the great Joe Gibbs, has been limited by.

    Shottenheimer did, in his final HCing stint, take a Chargers team that had won just 6 games over 2 seasons and make them respectable again. And as previously stated, won a ton of games over his career. Not taking anything away from that.

    He was a very good coach - and he certainly would have checked that box for any team he lead.
    Last edited by Boone; 08-20-19 at 12:57 PM.
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    Default Re: The Turn Around

    Marty went 14-2 with the Chargers and took them to the playoffs a number of times after he left DC.

    Again, I don't see any type of comparison.

    The fact Marty was able to take a team starting Tony Banks that operated with only ONE audible all season to an 8-8 record is an absolute miracle.

    In some ways it was as unexpected and amazing as the Patriots and Belichick scheming to make Matt Cassel look good with an 11-5 record the year Brady went down early.

    Cassel didn't even start on his college team.
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    Default Re: The Turn Around

    I'm not backpedalling - but I stated repeatedly that I wasn't comparing their coaching skills or accomplishments. I'm simply addressing the assumption that had they retained Shottenheimer long-term, the Redskins would've had sustained success. I think the issues (especially during those years) were endemic and deep and would've limited his ability to be successful just like they have with every head coach we've had since.
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    Default Re: The Turn Around

    Yeah, I should have been more definitive on Marty. I didn't mean to imply that we'd already have more SB Trophies if we'd kept him. He may have never won it. But his track record for putting competitive, disciplined teams on the field that were perennially in the playoff chase, would have been a great foundation to lay in turning us back into a consistent threat to the rest of the league.

    Not to mention, he sent ole Bug Eyes packing. Hell, that alone should get him consideration for inclusion in the ring of honor at the stadium.
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    Default Re: The Turn Around

    Damn. Hijacked my own thread
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    Default Re: The Turn Around

    If the team can just focus on the Oline like they have the Dline the past few years, things will turn around quicker.

    But when it comes to detail, in game adjustments and having your team prepared..Gruden lacks alot.
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    Default Re: The Turn Around

    This is what I think you need:

    I mean, if we are talking about a Full-Blown-Era and a not three-or-four-good-seasons-with-some-ups-and-downs-and-maybe-get-lucky-and-win-one-SB type team ... You need a good owner, a good GM, and good coach, and all three have to hit their stride at the same time. That's the lightning in the bottle teams wait for. They wait for that Holy Trinity to catch hold and then ride it as long as they can. If you want, you can add a Franchise QB to that equation, but I'm not sure that's as necessary as those Top Three.

    I hate to say this, but I don't think any amount of talent or 'it' players will change this team. Haskins won't either, any more than Brad Johnson, Bob, or Kirk Cousins did. The team needs a strong organizational foundation first, and I don't see it.

    I think that's where a team's 'identity' comes from. It's a vision shared by those Top Three. To be fair, I think we may be as close as we've ever been under Snyder to having some sort of Identity. I think our defense has the potential to be the centerpiece of this team for the next decade. But that's if (and it's a huge-mungous 'IF') the front office lets it happen. If there's one thing I'm watching for this season, it's not Haskins. It's that defense. Can it build on the flashes we saw last year? Can that line become as dominant as it's potential suggests? If so, there's a chance that we can build on that and give this team something to hang it's hat on for a long while.

    We'll see. I don't have a ton of faith in the front office to make that happen. But I'll watch for it anyway.
    Last edited by Henry; 08-20-19 at 03:14 PM.
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    Default Re: The Turn Around

    We have no reason to believe that this owner and GM can build a franchise set up for long-term sustained success. But setting aside epic dislike of Snyder and Allen, they do seem to be conducting the org more professionally than at any time in memory.

    They've stopped the HC carousel and stuck by Gruden. Whether that proves wise remains to be seen, but the constant replacement of head coaches was an exercise in futility.

    We are safeguarding our draft resources and using those picks as well as any team in the league of late.

    We aren't overspending on guys on the downside of their careers.

    We are getting younger.

    Setting aside the current TW situation, there has been little 'drama' over the past few years.

    And the front office largely seems to be ignoring fan sentiment, which as a fan can be frustrating, but is what solid football organizations do.

    We have yet to see major results from these changes. But we can't deny there have been some positive trends.
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    Default Re: The Turn Around

    Boone, not a huge disagreement from me, actually.

    The one bit I do disagree with is the 'not a lot of drama' point. Trent Williams is not an exception. (I hate to keep bringing this up, but the way we've handled the QB situation for the past, oh, twenty years, right up until pretty much today, has been awful.)

    Williams, to me, is just Kirk Cousins, part Duex. For some reason, our biggest names don't seem to want to stay here. That's a problem. It needs to stop.
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    Default Re: The Turn Around

    Quote Originally Posted by Henry View Post
    Boone, not a huge disagreement from me, actually.

    The one bit I do disagree with is the 'not a lot of drama' point. Trent Williams is not an exception. (I hate to keep bringing this up, but the way we've handled the QB situation for the past, oh, twenty years, right up until pretty much today, has been awful.)

    Williams, to me, is just Kirk Cousins, part Duex. For some reason, our biggest names don't seem to want to stay here. That's a problem. It needs to stop.
    I don't really have any argument with that. I do think that, relatively speaking, it's nothing like we saw during the Shanahan years though. Even with Trent, the whole thing has been pretty subdued. We also don't have players leaking internal stuff like a sieve and throwing their coaches and other staff under the bus like we did back then and during previous years.

    But yeah - I can't disagree that having key guys plotting their escape is a bad thing. We do have to keep in mind though that it hasn't exactly been a mass exodus. Most of these guys seem to want to be here.
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    Default Re: The Turn Around

    Quote Originally Posted by Boone View Post
    We do have to keep in mind though that it hasn't exactly been a mass exodus. Most of these guys seem to want to be here.
    Yeah, only franchise quarterbacks and all-pro left tackles want to leave. I'll be watching the Scherff situation with great interest as well.

    Ok. I'm done now.
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    Default Re: The Turn Around

    Damn... you put some mustard on that one.

    Next time I'm going to wear the glove with the extra padding!
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    You ain't bonafide

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    Default Re: The Turn Around

    The losing, has been bad for everything. Granted, much has been brought on by the team. Starting with JKC hiring turner. That's when the death spiral began. Then little JKC continued the downturn. Both JKC's are given a pass on this, due to the 10 year run Gibbs provided. Snyder provided an oh so temporary boost, before flooring the gas pedal on the death spiral. And because he had no glory cover, like the JKC's, he's held accountable for his mistakes, as well as theirs. He's the easy target. And most times, correctly. But not always. His poor record doesn't need embellishing. It only serves to feed the negativity of all the years of losing. In fact, the entire history of this franchise includes multiple spans of futility. But, while the losing continues, the current regime gets 100% of the blame.

    I just hope that if this is the year it turns around, they'll get the same percentage credit.

    I completely disagree with the notion that winning with the current FO is impossible. But I understand the sentiment. No matter how wrong and unhelpful I'd find it. If I were automatically a negative thinker when it comes to the FO.

    When the winning returns, the exodus of greedy crybabies will be taken with the attitude they should be. Which is, don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out. Losing magnifies anything that goes wrong. Probably more so than winning magnifies the good.

    I can put aside the past, at least at the start of every season, because I've lived long enough to know, that the trigger that can turn things around, can't be foreseen. Even if all of Boone's criteria exists, there is no certainty of success. Likewise, even if they all don't exist, there's no certainty of failure, either.
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    "Losers always whine about their best. Winners go home and **** the prom queen"

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    Default Re: The Turn Around

    "...Every now and then I get a little bit lonely and you're never coming round..."

    I can't be the only one that heard that song in their head after reading the title right?
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    Default Re: The Turn Around

    Great original post Boone! Love it.

    And this has been a great thread, thus far.

    I don't have much more to add to the list of criteria that hasn't already been mentioned.

    The only thing I'd say is that reading this thread I started to think about the fact that we're talking about the Skin's in isolation here. Yet that list is true for every Franchise in the NFL.
    Hitting that perfect 5 things is, when you look at the odds, a really hard thing to do.
    53 years, 53 Superbowl winners. Yet how many of those have been dynasties where the team in question has managed to put all 5 pieces in place? It's slim pickings when you consider how many teams compete for the big prize every year.

    Sustained excellence is rare.

    Sustained relevance isn't though, and that's what I'm hoping for at the moment.

    I want the Skins to be a team that is relevant. That is constantly in the post season conversation. A team that I know is only a few strokes of good luck away from glory. For us to achieve this we only need to hit a few of that 5, but need to hit them consistently every year. That way, we only need to get the other 1 or 2 in any given year to be playing to Feb.
    With this in mind, and looking at your criteria, I feel we're not far off.

    I know, I know... eternal optimist alert, but honestly... I have been following the Skins since Superbowl XVIII and I've seen the highs and the lows since. The last 25 years or so has felt like a mire of crap, broken by occasional flashes of hope here and there. I know some of us are down on the owner, GM, FO and Gruden, but the last few years have genuinely felt different to me. I'm not saying that it's not been full of disappointment, but there's just a sense to me of the ship being slowly turned. Last year especially feels like a lost year. I don't think we were Superbowl bound, but I also don't think we saw that teams ceiling.
    Coming into 2019 this team feels more stable to me (apart from the odd situation with Gruden) than it has in recent years.

    There's a definite youth movement the likes I haven't seen here in a while. The talent level is slowly rising. As mentioned, we do have players on the team that 'could' be blue chippers... possibly even game breaking talents. There are questions... but they're the right questions for a change.
    The defence looks legit at this point and there's a sense of optimism regarding Haskins and the fact we might be getting it right for a change.

    As much as we might complain about the Skins, I'm having similar conversations with my brother (Buccs fan), my best bud (Lions fan), my wife (Packers fan) and her best friend (Colts fan). They all have similar complaints, similar bad or underachieving years of drought. All blame similar things to us, so we're not alone as a fan base. I do think we have better building blocks for the future that some of them though, and that gives me quite a lot of hope.
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