Man, it feels like decades since we have last seen Redskins football. In reality its not been that long since January, but some ways it has been literally decades since we have seen real Redskins football. We have had our superstars and sold our jerseys, but other than a few seasons of exeption, the team had no pulse, no passion, and at times looked nothing like a football team.
For pretty much this entire training camp I have been pounding the table screaming about how happy I am to see our players practice with attitude. Will Montgomeryhas been my shining star in this area. Last week getting in two fights on the same practice. One fight, with linebacker London Fletcher, and the second, with Rocky McIntosh. When asked what was going on with the fighting, Monty just smiled . . . and so did I.
These fights aren’t malicios attacks, with shades of Michael Westbrook. They are truely the building blocks of a team coming together, and in most teams would barely be news because in Training Camps across the league this type of thing is expected. Sadly in Ashburn we havent seen this type of bonding.
It literally has been decades since we have seen our Redskins play with an attitude. From the well documented Summer Resorts that Steve Spurrier called training camp, to the many goofy faces of Clinton Portis in Gibs 2.0. Our team has at best been goofy, and at worst, well we all know what they have been at worst.Redskins Park has been absent of passion, or swagger, or whatever it is that you want to call it. In my opinion that lack of passion, has led to the lack of unity and ultimately to lack of wins. It is why for years players on the way out have said things like Willy Parker said this offseason, that this team cares more about everything else than they do about winning football games.
One thing that stood out to me more than anything during last nights Preseason opener was that I was actually watching a football team. For years we have witnesses The Danny’s failed attempt at fantasy football. A collection of overpaid names, who were more about building their brand and selling jerseys than winning.
The 2011 version of the Washington Redskins has Mike Shanahan’s fingerprints all over it. Much more than the 2010 version. Tim Hightower looks to be the perfect fit in this scheme and could be the next Shanaback, assuming that he can cure his case of the dropsies that has plagued him throughout his career. Shanahan seems to absolutely love the guy, he recently told SI “He’s a violent runner. He runs as hard as he can, gets to the line of scrimmage, and presses his cuts. And when he puts his foot down, it’s violent, and he’s getting downhill. He always gets tackled with his shoulders going north. He’s exactly what we look for in this offense…”.
Gone are the divas but also gone are the attitudes that broke this team for years. Sure we have Rex Grossman in at QB, but as he showed the end of last year and last night, running this offense with good tempo and knowledge of how it works, is infinitely more valuable than being a hot shot former pro bowler, who cares more about his image than what is best for the team.
Ladies and gentleman of Redskins Nation, I am here to tell you that your 2011 Washington Redskins are going to be something that we have not had in years. A team, a real life, bonafied football team. A group of men who care about each other being the best they can be, flat out loves to play the game, and more than anything bleeds Burgundyand Gold. It is a change that we have been waiting for since Joe Gibbs returned, and what a welcome change it is.