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Progress - The Caretaker

The Caretaker

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“If you’re not improving, chances are you’re not going to win”. An accurate, truthful, and terribly redundant statement by Mike Shanahan. Every single one of the 32 NFL teams go into the offseason looking to improve to ultimately win, but hardly any actually improve, and only one team fulfills the ultimate goal. Harsh reality strikes the majority of teams once the regular season comes about; all the work, evaluation, late nights, long days, blood and tears go to waste.

This past decade has been just that, wasted resources by Daniel Snyder which promised success, ultimately ending in ruin. A Redskins franchise that once stood atop the NFL. Looking down upon its lesser competitors with a rich legacy, Hall of fame players, a true dynasty. The franchise fell into the hands of Daniel Snyder, a wealthy and enthusiastic owner. He turned the first decade of his ownership into a game. Nabbing the player with the highest rating in Madden; expecting the same results.

Snyder was missing something; he needed help from a proven winner. He got one of the most iconic figures in Redskins history, the great Joe Gibbs. He Lead the redskins to two playoff seasons and one playoff win. But his true mark was left in times of turmoil and despair. Leading the team to five straight wins following Sean Taylors death. This undoubtedly demoralized Gibbs, whom retired at the end of the season, ending the only bright spot in Snyder’s tenure.

Into the frame came the unknown Jim Zorn, but you know the story, his first impression was his last; taking former Redskin’s quarterback Jason Campbell down with him. A short tenure ending in embarrassment and disarray. There was a culprit in all of this; a unintentional master mind behind the mediocrity, his name was Vinny Cerrato.

Along with Zorn and Campbell, Cerrato’s end came as well. Determined to right the ship, Snyder immediately hired Bruce Allen, claiming that his hands will be kept outside (for the most part) from any football related decisions.

Then came the day when the speculation became a reality. To the podium came a crusty, sun-burnt, alert looking man, Mike Shanahan; A proven winner, a grizzled veteran, a resurrection. His opening speech was nothing special, a clear cut, blunt individual who has no use for fancy words or pep talks. Something about him brought hope to the D.C area. A cautious hope, but there was something there...

This instantly brought excitement; this was truly an “improvement”. But no one was expecting a ten win season, or even a .500 season. Expectations were that Shanahan would draft a bright quarterback to groom and develop, hoping to contend two or three years down the road. Seemingly out of nowhere came the charismatic, and somewhat hated rival Donovan McNabb.

A confused and excited Redskin fan base had an unusual first response to this trade. A quarterback initially hated and opposed is now the leader of his hated rivals? A mixed reaction followed, some speaking of a new beginning, and some speaking of another wasted season. As the off season went along, McNabb grew more in favor of not only the fans, but he captured the hearts and minds of his fellow players. What the Redskins have found is something they have been looking for since the glory days, something that they have needed terribly, a Leader.

Here we are, a off season of change behind us, on the eve of what could or could not be a beginning of a new era; An era of glory. The setting could not be any better, Sunday Night Football opener against the Redskins most hated rivals. It will truly be the game of the decade; beginning what could be an era about winning, something the Redskins have not done in almost two decades.

One thing that I can guarantee is that it will be loud. The Redskins fans will rein hell down upon the Cowboys heads, promising to be one of the loudest games FedEx field has ever offered. All the turmoil, the false hope, frustration, and disappointment of past years will come down from an army of 90,000+. More frightening to an opposition then any drums of war is the battle cries of its soldiers.


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