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kleese

This makes me sad. Anyone else wanna get into it?

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Honestly, I'm pretty emotionless, as I said in my other thread. Too used to it to be down. But deep down, there is certainly a sadness about what has become of this team and what we are missing in terms of playing in big/playoff games, etc....

What stung me a bit today was thinking back to opening day. There was some UNREAL excitment on this board. I was so jazzed. That Thursday night was a lot of fun. No one thought beating the Jets was a monumental, but I think we all agreed that the Redskins played a solid, smart, tough football game that evening. It wasn't pretty, but we made plays, and pulled one out in the clutch.

I felt really good about our team.

After the Atlanta comeback win I knew nothing was set in stone, but I was pretty confident that we had a team that would at least compete for the playoffs down to the wire. All we had to do was go 7-7 from that point, and we'd have had a winning season. I thought that was a realistic goal.

So, where did it all go wrong?

You know what? We should have seen the writing on the wall in week 3. We managed to beat NE and go to 3-1 a week later, which disguised things a bit, but that loss to the Giants told our story this year.

We just couldn't win that game could we? We fought so hard to get back into the game and then we had them backed up in OT, and it just all fell apart.

Instead of being 3-0 and on top of the world, we were 2-1 and those same ole' doubts immediatley came flooding back, even if we didn't really admit it after the game.

With that in mind, here are my "top" moments that defined our season. Such a thin line between being 6-10 and 10-6, but it's a line we can't seem to cross.

--The Eagle and Giant losses in the first 5 weeks were killer. We were 3-2, but our two losses came in our two most important games. I think those losses, especially coming late as they did, really kept that doubt lingering for all involved. I felt AWFUL after the Eagles game. We were still 3-2, but I knew deep down we were done.

--The last 5 minutes at Carolina. Even after our rough start, the Carolina game was our big chance to turn things around. ONE stop is all we needed. Not even a FG would have helped them. Stop them from scoring a TD and we win. That simple, yet we couldn't do it. That's my main reason for questioning Champ and Lavar-- where are the plays when we need them?

--Blowing the 23-10 lead in Miami. That one still hurt, despite really blowing our chance the week before. At 5-6, we would have still had a shot. Losing those types of games is really disheartening.

--On a smaller scale-- the losses to New Orleans and now Dallas at home really showed how far we fell from even our earlier games from this year.

But here is my NUMBER ONE most important moment from the 2003 season in terms of determing what kind of season it would be:

--Up 13-7 on Tampa in the third quarter. Our offense was really moving the ball. Defense was playing well. Crowd was rowdy. Bucs were backed up way back in their own territory. Third and long. Gruden calls basically a "give up" dump-off play to Pittman. Lavar misses his assignments = 2 yard pass turns into 20 yard gain= total momentum shift= total meltdown = big loss.

I mean this: If we get a stop one that one play, I truly believe the entire season could have gone differently. We would have had the ball at midfield, and even a 16-7 lead at that point could have been enough. Tampa most likely would not have exploded as they did without that play/drive.

Take anything from above and turn it in our favor, and this season looks a whole lot better, but nothing sticks out to me more than that play against Tampa.

That's how fragile we are. That's the play that I will always remember from this season.

Like I've said, we can fix a lot of our problems, but how we fix THAT, I haven't a clue.

A season with a lot of promise and energy quickly turned into a nightmare.

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Kleese, when I look at things optimistically, I pinpoint the same moments of the same games. I want to believe that a play here or there could really change a season. I just don't know. The good thing is, I can keep saying to myself that a stop vs. the Bucs and then scoring to go up by two scores and hitting that two-point conversions vs. the Eagles could have changed the season because there is no way to prove that it wouldn't!

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I point to the Tampa Gay game too. Up 13-7 and moving the ball nicely on that D was quite impressive early on, but the Skins let that game get out of hand within the span of 5 minutes.

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Hogfest sure was a blast, even though we lost.

There just is not a team with enough grit to find there way through the hard times. SOS is not a leader. Had the Skins had a leader we may be seeing a different season- not a perfect one- but one where we were winning half those close games. We would still be in this.

This team has lost it's soul.

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That play against Tampa really sticks in my craw, too. How do you give up that play?

Whenever it's third and long for the other team, I start cringing, because I get the sense something really bad is about to happen. I take it everyone remembers the Trotter penalty against the Giants before half to give them a first down after BEING STOPPED WAY SHORT OF THE FIRST DOWN.

I'm a firm believer that if a few plays had gone differently early in the season, this season would have gone far differently (if nothing else, it helps me sleep at night). Like they say, winning is a great deodorant. Look at Carolina and Philly for examples. Carolina has won a boatload of close ballgames - it absolutely has given them confidence that they can win. Philly was just squeaking by week after week after week, and now they're on a roll. If either of those teams had misstepped in those early games, their seasons would probably be in the toilet now, too. Carolina blocked a freaking extra point with no time left on the clock to force OT in a win against Tampa. The Eagles returned a punt 85 yards with less than a minute to play to pull out a victory. There is no way those plays were anything but lucky. But, that's why they're good teams, and why the Redskins are bad. They make the plays they have to in order to win, and the Redskins don't.

Winning begets winning.

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I agree that the third down play against the Bucs was a huge momentum killer for that game and for the season. We were never quite the same after that play. I think that happens somewhat frequently in the NFL though. You miss a big opportunity, it costs you the game, and guys stop believing. I think you'd be really hard pressed to find a guy on the team that believes in SOS at this point. Some guys have been more loose lipped than others, but a lot have hinted around to it. Hell, the QB's brother hinted to it last night on this board.

I was at the Falcons game, and I can tell you that I had very high hopes after that game. The team showed a ton of heart in the second half, and the plays were working. It is hard to believe how poorly we've played after all of the potential we saw in the first few weeks.

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Losing to the hated ones twice (with the second game being a worse showing which I thought not possible) is an abomination of nature. No man made product can erase this stench.

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We crashed because as the season went on, teams adjusted to how we were running our offense. Piece by piece they started shutting down productive parts… teams have figured out how to shut down Coles, that we won’t commit to the running game unless there is a hurricane (so you can let a Skins back get good yards because they will never stick to it no matter how successful), that if you blitz Ramsey he will take a sack, that if you play a soft zone on Hasselback he’ll throw INTs, if the Skins contain a LB blitz you can get in by blitzing the Safety or Corner… etc…

And while teams have figured us out, we have done very little to challenge them by making modifications to disguise what we are doing – and so every time we run into a team with a winning record late in the season, it’s like they have our play book memorized. Spurrier underestimated this league, and to some degree I still think he does not give opposing defenses respect that inspires concerted preparation to adjust to their style of play, and take advantage of their weakness.

On the defensive side, I think it’s largely a personnel issue, and guys figuring out how to play together; and discipline has been absent the whole season, but that is team wide.

Maybe it’s because we have a fairly inexperienced coaching staff, maybe we need a GM (well, we definitely need one of those!), but from the owner to the water boy… someone needs to figure out how to put a winning – or at least respectable product on the field.

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Let me clarify:

Byt no means did I mean to insinuate that we are "close" to anything good. Many of the games we lost hinged on one or two big plays, but that's the disheartening part. If we can't make any of those plays by now, it's hard to imagine we ever will.

Put a gun to my head right now and make me predict our record next year assuming we DO fix the DL? 8-8. That's how little confidence I have. Even if we make the right off-season moves, I will still expect us to screw it up on the field.

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Originally posted by KirkNC

Hogfest sure was a blast, even though we lost.

There just is not a team with enough grit to find there way through the hard times. SOS is not a leader. Had the Skins had a leader we may be seeing a different season- not a perfect one- but one where we were winning half those close games. We would still be in this.

This team has lost it's soul.

Kirk is as correct as its possible to be.

a) Hogfest WAS a blast.

B) Its all about a winning mindset. Parcells WILLS his team to win. We haven't had leadership since Gibbs. It can't be argued.

c) I'm not sure whether they've lost their soul, or SOLD it (with all the contract talk, its tough to know for sure), but one thing is certain. We HAVE no team identity. We are the Kevin Bacon of the NFL. Stick us in some shallow, unimaginative thriller with a bunch of stock actors. Throw in the occasional dazzling special effect. A few good one-liners. Bottom line. We're a B grade movie every time. Not the worst flick you've ever seen. But INFINITELY forgettable. Kevin, however, makes a good living. Pockmarks and all. And we leave the theater feeling strangely used. And short $25 bucks with the taste of stale, stale popcorn on our tongues.

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