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Sea Change: Where we are now vs. where they though we'd be...

One of many experimental iterations ...

Pravda

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After what's been a pretty impressive -- improbable even after 3-6? -- run of wins, it go me thinking about who in the press corps might have had us as division leaders at any point in the season, much less leading the division with two games to go in sole control of our fate to win the division(!!):

New York Times Predicted Finish: 4th NFC East.

The Washington Examiner thought we'd be 6-10.

CBS thought we'd be 3-13.

ESPN the Magazine thought we'd be 2-14.

Sports Illustrated had us at 6-10.

Hell, our own coach after Week 9 -- though he later recanted his views -- was ready to give up on this season.

It's not hard to see why -- we've been, with some real bright spots during Gibbs II, more of a punch line than a respected opponent that's compared to Superman, no less -- for more than 20 years.

I think we've experienced a sea change in not just the perception of the Redskins by the fans and the media, but more broadly in how the team views itself:
ESPN said:
Can you imagine saying that about a Spurrier team that lost 10 of it's last 12 before he resigned in disgrace and retired from football? What about a Zorn team that had to hire consultants in early October(!!) and threaten to strip play calling away from their losing coach?

We may not be a step away from the Super Bowl. We may not be one player away from a 14-2 season. But given how we all, or almost all, thought about ourselves, prior to this season, it's a pretty remarkable shift in expectations and performance.

And that's after we almost capsized more than halfway into this season.

We're in first in the NFC East and could win it (and host a playoff game) for the first time since 1999, and the second time since we won the Super Bowl in 1991.

That's a big deal: we're damn close to being relevant and a legitimate threat in the playoff race. How long has it been since we could have honestly said that about a Redskins team?

Wow. I think I've finally beat my Norvitis.
 

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Cycleans

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Anything can happen in the Playoffs. It's just damn nice to be in the driving seat for the division with 2 games to go.:grouphug::cheers::crown::wings:
 

Win4us

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Air Force

It's crazy talking about playoffs after the **** seasons we've had recently.

What makes it even sweeter is we're doing it with $18M less in cap than all the other teams, except the turds. Need Shefter or somebody to start running that headline just so Mara can choke on it.
 

SkinsFTW

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Whats even more surprising is that when we saw this schedule we all said that we had to start out strong because after the bye we'd lose a lot of games. Instead we blew 3-4 games that should have been wins early and have swept Dallas, Philly, NYG, Balt, Cleveland. Nobody would have expected more than 2 wins from those 5 before the season and even 2 wins wouldn't have been expected.

The Redskins are 8-6 right now but if they'd have been playing like this all season we'd easily have 11-12 wins. Only the Steelers outright beat this team.
 

Pravda

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All good points guys --

Here's the latest from Don Banks -- Don Banks -- not known for his love of all things Burgundy and Gold:

Don Banks said:
But that was then, and this is now. If you had to pick out the proverbial "hot team'' that could ride a late-season roll all the way to an unlikely Super Bowl ring, a'la the Packers in 2010 and the Giants in 2011, how could you choose anyone but these Redskins?
Link to remainder of unnervingly positive article

Now that might be a bit of crazy talk, but we've changed the conversation pretty dramatically from the garden variety knock on Dan Snyder to the brilliance of the Redskins offense.

That's no mean feat.
 

SilentThreat

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Whats even more surprising is that when we saw this schedule we all said that we had to start out strong because after the bye we'd lose a lot of games. Instead we blew 3-4 games that should have been wins early and have swept Dallas, Philly, NYG, Balt, Cleveland. Nobody would have expected more than 2 wins from those 5 before the season and even 2 wins wouldn't have been expected.

The Redskins are 8-6 right now but if they'd have been playing like this all season we'd easily have 11-12 wins. Only the Steelers outright beat this team.

Carolina beat us as well, but i agree with you that we were in most games in the beginning of the season, and have been getting those bounces/plays over the last 5 games.
 

servumtuum

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Indiana

I'm not sure I'd even count the Carolina game-they seem to be one of those "loose cannon" type teams that can pull a wtf? upset, like the Falcons a couple of weeks ago after losing to the Chiefs the week before. They have Oakland and New Orleans left and I'll be damned if I have any idea how they're liable to do against either one of them.
 

Dead Money

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I'm happy with what we've done. Any more wins are just gravy and the playoffs are a dream come true. I was completely wrong underestimating our team and of course overestimating our competition. I'm really happy I was wrong!
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Jimbo

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I certainly have no problem admitting I gave us up for dead at 3-6. At the time, I thought we'd be lucky to go 6-10 and would have thought you were crazy if you'd told me we'd be in first place in the division after 14 games.

Being a Redskins fan, and knowing how hard it is to all but sweep the division, I'm still weary of the last two games but I also think we haven't even played our best football yet. If we can keep this going, we could actually do some damage in the playoffs. That's some exciting shiitake mushrooms right there. ;)
 

redskins26

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Navy

Next year we will be picked at a minimum 10 games
 

Rymanofthenorth

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UTEP

I am ecstatic that we are where we are, but truth be told I think we have too many holes to be a serious contender and I would be ok with us finishing wherever we do. Next year though, there will no excuses, its playoffs or bust and im expecting nfc title game at least
 

Hog Fever

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I’ll admit that I look at the world through burgundy and gold colored glasses most of the time and at the beginning of the season I thought that 8-8 would be a realistic (read optimistic) goal for the season. Secretly I hoped for 9-7 and a shot to sneak into the playoffs but I didn’t even want to say that out loud.

I thought Evan Royster would end up being our starting RB. Lots of folks were saying Helu so I went the other way. Swing and a miss Hog. I thought our DBs would be suspect. I got that one right but I don’t take any joy in saying it. I thought Orakpo and Kerrigan would be fast developing into the best DE tandem in football. We’ll have to stay tuned for next year on this one. I thought Fred “Pass the Joint” Davis would be our leading receiver this year. I was enthusiastic about RGIII but I didn’t know how fast his game would translate to the NFL or if it would translate at all. I thought our defense would have to carry us for most of the season.

Who saw Morris being as good as he is? How many times have we seen RBs perform in the pre-season and disappear into the depth chart never to be heard from again or not even make the team? The fact he seems to be an exceptional young man to boot is just a bonus. Nobody could have seen the injuries to Carriker and Orakpo throwing the defense into disarray. I still don’t trust Haslett but the loss of those guys and Meriweather might earn him a mulligan this season.

I missed the mark on a lot of that stuff but none of it even matters if we make the playoffs. I think we scare the hell out of a lot of teams. How long has it been since you could say that and mean it? I’m telling my kids to enjoy this ride. Of all fan bases we should know not to take any of this for granted.
 

Pravda

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I think we scare the hell out of a lot of teams. How long has it been since you could say that and mean it?
And that's exactly it -- how long has it been since we could say that with any kind of credibility?

How long has it been since people around the league were saying that the Redskins were a threat to go to the Super Bowl?

My belief in the team -- generally and in particular this season -- has been extremely volatile over the last number of years. In the middle of the 3-6 portion of our season, I was ready to throw in the towel just like you were Jimbo...

And while I'm certainly far more optimistic than I've been in a long, long time, I've only in the last few weeks gotten closer to relinquishing that sensation that haunts me at the beginning of every game: nausea derived from some irrational certainty that we're going to lose the game in some painful way (the Giants game this year is a perfect example).

Yet, before each of these five wins, that preemptive nausea has abated more and more to the point where I'm approaching some degree of confident about the outcome of the game.

I don't know if the rest of you guys have gone through a similar shift in expectations and/or confidence about the Skins chances, but it's remarkable (at least to me) after years and years of disappointment and anxiety filled Sunday afternoons to finally be in a place where I'm pretty excited to watch the Redskins and feel like they're going to be in it and/or win all of their games.

It's a good time to be a fan -- and the despondency after so many years of mediocrity is giving way to fact-based confidence.

Awesome. :)
 

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