(photo by Brian Murphy)
[Because Kanye West was seemingly the only artist New York radio stations played the entire, I’ve dedicated this week’s playlist to him.]
1. “Dark Fantasy” by Kanye West
Realistic fans of the Washington Redskins know that this season is a transitional year as head coach Mike Shanahan tries to change a culture of an inconsistent and underachieving franchise.
Yes, the guy does have two Super Bowl rings on his resume, but even he’s not a miracle worker. So expecting Shanahan to suddenly transform the Redskins from a doormat to a perennial championship contender overnight is only asking for heartache and despair.
But what ‘Skins fans do have a right to expect is a professional product. The Redskins don’t have to win every game, but they at least need to show up prepared and not get embarrassed week in and week out. And that’s the problem – for the second time in four games Washington was outclassed from the opening kickoff.
From their first possession, the Giants looked like they could have sent their junior varsity squad out onto the field and still dismantled the Redskins. The only shocker about the 31-7 final score was that New York didn’t try to humiliate their divisional opponent even more.
But maybe that’s because they’re starting to feel sorry for Washington. After all, the Redskins have gone just 6-14 against the Giants since 2000, so it’s not like they should view the burgundy and gold as any sort of threat.
2. “So Appalled” by Kanye West
The only victory under Washington’s belt in their last nine games against the Giants came courtesy of back-up quarterback Todd Collins in 2007. So maybe this was the game where Shanahan should have turned to Rex Grossman, rather than his desperation move in Detroit back on Halloween.
After all, assuming the head coach didn’t question his starting quarterback’s intelligence or conditioning, it’s not like anyone could have been angry seeing Donovan McNabb take a seat Sunday. Several times this season McNabb’s offensive line has prevented the 11-year-pro from any real chance to lead his team to victory. But against the Giants, McNabb was his own worst enemy.
McNabb threw two interceptions and fumbled three times against New York. There’s zero chance a team can overcome a game when their quarterback plays that poorly – especially this Redskins squad which has very little margin for error to begin with.
Add in fumbles by receiver Anthony Armstrong, tight end Chris Cooley and running back Keiland Williams and it’s clear that no one on offense deserves a game ball for their performance against the Giants. I mean, Shanahan could have presented it to someone, but chances are they wouldn’t have been able to hold onto it.
3. “Runaway” by Kanye West
As if watching the Redskins offense wasn’t bad enough, the defense was arguable worse. Giants running backs Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw straight up embarrassed Washington’s porous defense.
It was one of those games where Jacobs and Bradshaw didn’t even have to juke or do anything special to evade would-be tacklers. They simply ran straight ahead and watched as Redskins defenders found a way to screw the basics – like tackling.
At times, players like safety Kareem Moore, safety Reed Doughty and linebacker Rocky McIntosh looked as if they’d been asked to try to bring down a ball carrier without using their hands. It might not have been the case, but it’s the story I’d go with at the point if I were them.
How else do you explain Jacobs rushing eight times for 103 yards and two touchdowns? When a 264 lb. running back who has no desire to dance around with the football averages 12.9 yards per carry, heads should roll.
Oh, and for the record, this game marked the first time in two years that Jacobs rushed for 100 yards in a game. Aren’t you glad you were there to celebrate the achievement with him?
Week after week, the Redskins lose a game and players line up to say some variation of “We’ve got talented players, for whatever reason though, we can’t seem to get the job done.” Now, I would humbly suggest that if the players were that good, then we’d be seeing a much better product on the field. But an argument could also be made that the players are good enough to win, but that their coaching staff is failing them.
If that’s the case, then you’re about to hear plenty of folks question how much longer defensive coordinator Jim Haslett is going to be in town for. The man took over a defense that had ranked in the top 10 eight of the last 10 seasons, and turned it into a laughingstock.
The Redskins now rank dead last in the NFL in defense and, with the exception of LaRon Landry in the first half of the season, it’s tough to think of anyone else who has benefitted since Haslett’s arrival.
4. “Devil in a New Dress” by Kanye West
Sure, the Redskins failed to do much of anything on offense or defense, but at least one of their draft picks had a game to remember. Unfortunately for Washington, that impact player was receiver Devin Thomas, who was released earlier this season.
Thomas, in his first game for New York, was seemingly everywhere for the Giants on special teams. He tackled returner Terrence Austin on the game’s second kickoff. Then he downed a punt on the five-yard line for the Giants and Thomas rounded out the day by getting a partial block on a Hunter Smith punt.
The man who allegedly couldn’t beat out Joey Galloway for a roster spot found three different ways to make the Redskins pay.
“Did I make my point? Yeah, I guess so,” Thomas said after the game. “To do it against them, make them look at film and say, ‘Man, why did we let him go?’ That’s something I was definitely looking forward to.”
In case you’re wondering, that’s not exactly what Shanahan said in his post-game press conference.
“I didn’t get a chance to really see him,” Shanahan said of Thomas. “I understand he had the blocked punt. That’s some good effort. Besides that, I really didn’t [see him].”
Yeah, and neither did your players. That’s why Thomas was able to do whatever the hell he wanted all game long. If I were Thomas, I’d beg the Giants to release me and make it my personal mission to sign with whatever team is playing Washington the rest of the season.
By the time the season is over, he’d have enough highlights under his belt to warrant Hall of Fame consideration. Not bad for a guy the Redskins couldn’t get rid of fast enough.
5. “Hell of a Life” by Kanye West
To recap, the Redskins’ offense was awful, the defense was laughable and special teams was missing in action. So the question has to be asked: why would people even tune in to a debacle like this? Well, the answer is simple – to see what happens next.
And just when you thought you’ve seen it all, the Redskins go and do something new and exciting like attempting to do a magic trick for the referees.
Shanahan took exception when referees claimed McNabb fumbled the ball, so he threw his red flag onto the field to challenge the call. But a funny thing happened when he did it – his son/offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan knew the zebras had gotten it right, so he tried to prevent his father from burning a timeout.
Instead of talking his father out of challenging the play though, Kyle decided the only move he had was to try and catch the challenge flag before it hit the ground in hopes that if it didn’t make contact with the turf, then the challenge never happened.
Like his players though, Kyle was a day late and a dollar short, so the flag hit the ground and the younger Shanahan was left looking ridiculous as he desperately grabbed it off the ground and tried to make it disappear while the referee stood there looking at him as if he’d lost his mind.
So what if the product on the field is no longer worth stomaching. Between the weekly Albert Haynesworth drama and the fact that even family members can’t get on the same page anymore, there’s definitely a car wreck quality to the Redskins at this point. They might not win another game this season, but at least they’ll find new and impressive ways to look bad doing it.