redskins-raiders playlist

(photo by Brian Murphy)

1. “All Nightmare Long” by Metallica

Before the first quarter had even finished it looked like the Washington Redskins were once again destined to disappoint.

A blocked punt for a touchdown and an 18-yard touchdown reception by a rookie tight end allegedly named Mychal Rivera had ‘Skins fans in a dark, dark place as they watched their favorite football franchise once again falter in the opening frame.

The offense once again struggle to move the ball in the early stages and the defense allowed a 10-play, 81-yard drive by Raiders backup quarterback Matt Flynn and a bunch of spare parts, and it wouldn’t have been unreasonable to wonder why the team would even fly across the country if they were just going to lay an egg.

After all, one week earlier the Detroit Lions used a no-name running back to defeat the Redskins. The week before that, the Green Bay Packers used an even less-heralded running back to steamroll Washington.

Would it really be out of the realm of possibility to see a mediocre Raiders team — without the services of some key players on their limited offense — defeat the Redskins during a time when very little has gone right for head coach Mike Shanahan and friends?

redskins-lions playlist

(ExtremeSkins photo)

1. “In The End” by Black Veil Brides

By now, it’s safe to say that fans of the Washington Redskins knew coming into the game, Washington was 21-0 in home games against the Detroit Lions since 1937. But how bad have things gone south for the burgundy and gold in just three weeks? The Philadelphia Eagles, Green Bay Packers and Lions are 3-0 against the Redskins, and 1-5 versus the rest of the NFL.

Coming off of last year’s postseason run (and, to a much lesser extent, an undefeated preseason), folks around town automatically assumed that the Redskins were set for the next decade or so. Unfortunately, that’s not really how things work in the NFL.

For as fondly as people choose to remember the ’12 season, it still took a seven-game winning streak just to sneak into the postseason on the final day of the regular season. And here we are, in year four of the Mike Shanahan era and what does the franchise have to show for it? A boring and predictable offense, a debacle for a defense and a special teams unit that excels at nothing. Other than that, this season has been a smashing success.

Through 50 games* in Washington, Shanahan is just 21-29. Yes, the roster is younger and now features something that finally resembles depth, and yes, the league did take away $18 million in salary cap space this past offseason, but how did this franchise become so unwatchable so quickly?

*As Dan Steinberg pointed out, this was actually Shanahan’s 51st regular season game in Washington, so let’s make that 21-30. Fun times.

photos from the sidelines: week 2

(photo by Brian Murphy)

The Washington Redskins have not gotten off to a very enjoyable start in 2013.

The offense, especially in the first half, has been missing in action. The defense, pretty much every time they take the field, has looked completely overwhelmed and under-prepared for seemingly whoever lines up against them.

Oh, and the special teams has done nothing worth highlighting — unless you’re a fan of missed field goals, shanked punts, poor returns and penalties. So yeah … even the most optimistic homer is struggling these days to keep things positive.

And yet, a group of 26 rowdy and enthusiastic Redskins fans made the trip from D.C. to sit as close to the action as possible as the burgundy and gold traveled to historic Lambeau Field.

They had signs featuring the likeness of prominent Redskins personnel — like Sean Taylor, Daniel Snyder and London Fletcher. Even during warm-ups, these dedicated gentlemen cheered with such passion that players such as Fred Davis had to swing by and recognize their efforts.

And by the way, they were so rowdy and entertaining that even hoops royalty Kevin Durant had to get in on the action. Durant, who is a ‘Skins diehard in his own right, was watching the team run drills pregame while these guys were doing their thing — chanting “Free Tenard! Free Tenard!” and a half dozen other similarly witty comments. By the time they started chanting for Durant, he was already walking over to them.

Next thing you know, everyone joins together for a spirited rendition of “Hail to the Redskins,” Durant included. And then the game started and all of the fun times quickly went away.

At any rate, here are my favorite photos I was able to capture from the sidelines this week. Don’t click them for me. Do it for Durant and the diehard D.C. fans who showed up and cheered their respective asses off.

Even after the loss, those guys were still trying to keep things positive. Take a look:

redskins-packers playlist

(photo by Brian Murphy)

1. “Curse Me Good” by The Heavy

For two straight games now, the Washington Redskins have looked completely overwhelmed in the first half against a highly-motivated opponent.

In the season opener, Philadelphia Eagles head coach Chip Kelly wanted to make a strong first impression as he made his NFL debut. His Eagles came out the gate with a renewed sense of urgency and dictated the pace and tone of the game to the Redskins almost immediately.

One week later, it was a different opponent, but it was still more of the same. Coming off a humbling loss to the San Francisco 49ers, the Green Bay Packers felt obligated to remind the rest of the league that they are still a formidable adversary capable of competing with the league’s elite. So they too, were eager to set the tone early and win in blowout fashion.

And in both cases, the Redskins could do nothing but sit there quietly while the opposition had their way with the burgundy and gold.

Philadelphia racked up 322 yards of offense and 26 points during the first half of the season opener. Green Bay marched up and down the field with similar ease — as Aaron Rodgers and friends amassed 353 yards and 24 points during the first half of play.

If you combine their two pitiful first-half performances, the Redskins have allowed 675 yards and 50 points. They’ve allowed opponents to score on eight of 14 first-half drives, and that number would be even higher if defensive coordinator Jim Haslett wasn’t bailed out by a lucky bounce on a Packers fumble that resulted in a touchback just before halftime.

In short, this defense has been remarkably bad so far this season, putting even more pressure on the offense to do what they did for most of last year — play well enough that no one really notices the defense stinks.

redskins-eagles playlist

(photo by Brian Murphy)

1. “Halfway There” by Soundgarden

During the Mike Shanahan era, the Washington Redskins defense has had little trouble making a splash right out of the gate. In fact, Jim Haslett’s men have now scored a touchdown in all four home openers — starting with DeAngelo Hall’s 33-yard fumble recovery against Dallas in 2010, followed by Ryan Kerrigan’s nine-yard interception return for a touchdown against the New York Giants in ’11 and let’s not forget Rob Jackson’s interception for a touchdown against Cincinnati last season.

Well, Jackson is suspended for the first four games of the season, so that left Hall and Kerrigan to make some more magic and they didn’t disappoint — with Kerrigan deflecting a backwards pass attempt by Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick, and then Hall scooping up the football and returning it 75 yards at a leisurely pace for the easiest score of his NFL career.

Just like that the Redskins were off to a wonderful start and all was good in the burgundy and gold universe.

2. “Light Up The Sky” by Thousand Foot Krutch

Of course, it’s probably not a great idea to peak in the first four minutes of a 60-minute affair.

Once the Redskins jumped out to a quick lead, things quickly devolved into what can only be called a worst-case scenario. Running back Alfred Morris, who only fumbled the ball three times his entire rookie campaign, coughed up the football on the team’s very first offense play of the season. One play later the Eagles scored an easy touchdown and suddenly led the game 10-7.

Morris’ second rushing attempt lost three yards, which, sadly, is a “highlight” when talking about just how bad he looked to start the game. And then the second-year pro bobbled the ball on a pitch out, which resulted in a safety. Obviously this is a game Morris will be in a hurry to forget.

LeSean McCoy, on the other hand, had a career day as he abused the Redskins defense seemingly at will. When the ‘Skins were passive, he gashed them up the middle. When they got overly aggressive, he had an answer for that as well.

Take, for example, outside linebacker Brian Orakpo, who was cleared amp up to get back out on the field after missing most of last year due to injury. As talented as Orakpo is, he repeatedly over-pursued throughout the game, which allowed McCoy to bounce back outside to the gap Orakpo just vacated. If you’re rooting for the home team, that’s a bad thing. If you’re an Eagles running back, it’s a dream come true (which explains his 181 rushing yards for the night).

Basically, whatever the defense tried to do, McCoy had a counterpunch ready and if this was a prize fight, it wouldn’t have lasted more than a round or two before McCoy won by a TKO.

why your team won’t win the super bowl in 2013

(photo by Brian Murphy)

Ladies and gentlemen, it’s time for the 10th-annual “Why your team won’t win the Super Bowl” column. So head to Las Vegas and put money on it – this is why your favorite football franchise won’t get it done this year.

Arizona Cardinals – Carson Palmer was pretty mediocre back in the day when he had weapons. What makes anyone think an over-the-hill version of him surrounded by less talent is going to suddenly be more effective?

Atlanta Falcons – Until the NFL decides to schedule the Super Bowl during the regular season, the Falcons will have to settle for racking up meaningless victories for 17 weeks until it’s time for their annual postseason collapse.

Baltimore Ravens – Joe Flacco looks like the love child of Sam the Eagle and Bert from Sesame Street.

are the washington redskins a lock to win the division?

(photo by Brian Murphy)

In just a few more days, the 2013 season will be underway and the Washington Redskins will have a chance to prove that their magical seven-game winning streak to close the ’12 campaign wasn’t a fluke.

They’ll start things off by hosting their division rivals, the Philadelphia Eagles, at FedEx Field on Monday Night Football, which proves they’ll have a spotlight on them for the entire season. As you can plainly see, flying under the radar isn’t an option when you have the biggest name in professional football for a franchise quarterback.

But before they officially get underway, I had to get together with the rest of the Skinscast gang to break down the preseason, take a stab at which players will make the 53-man roster and, most importantly, whether or not the Redskins are a lock to win their second-straight NFC East title.

As is usually the case, this episode is filled with plenty of laughs and some serious debate.*

*Mostly because John Pappas, who I love dearly, stupidly believes Pat White should be the team’s third-string quarterback over “Sexy” Rex Grossman. Don’t worry though, the rest of us quickly try to knock some sense into him.

So if you’re trying to pass the time between now and the season opener, feel free to click this link and give this week’s episode a listen. And when you do, try not too be too mad at me for trying to be the voice of reason when it’s time to predict Washington’s record at the end of the 2013 season.