Show of hands here people… does anyone remember 2006? You probably have done your best to forget so let’s quickly refresh your memory.
It was August 2006; the Redskins were coming off 10-6 season and a post season appearance that actually included a playoff win (The Nation rejoiced). Brilliantly the organization decided to overhaul the roster bringing in “top shelf” talent like Antawan Randel El, Brandon Lloyd and Adam Archuleta. During player interviews at the start of Camp it was clear the Redskins had arrived, hope sprung eternal and the Lombardi Trophy was clearly on its way back to Washington DC.
Then Quarterback Mark Brunell made it clear during interviews that it was Super Bowl or bust, stating anything less would be a disappointment, other players followed suit and Redskins fans geared up for 1991 version 2.0. We saw how that story ended BUST complete bust, 2006 was a complete disaster.
One of the biggest reasons the Skins flopped in 2006 was due to the inability of running back Clinton Portis to stay healthy. I know, I know Ladell Betts had a strong season in relief, but he never was half the threat that CP was. On top of that I am honestly not even sure who was behind Betts after CP went down…the team had zero depth and it killed them.
One of the biggest flaws to Vinny Cerrato’s approach to building a roster was this; He spent a majority of the Pay Roll on a few “name” players instead of creating depth at each position.
In the NFL injury is something that every team has to be able to deal with, it’s not so much a question of if but when the injury bug will bite. The good teams (like last year’s Packers) are able to get through the season losing a few key starters due to the depth they have at each position.
Back to the future the 2011 Redskins have definitely been much improved. If you had told me in July that after the first quarter of the season the Skins would be 3-1 and in first place, I would have said you were crazy but here we are. A pleasant surprise, the little engine that could, winning games that they should and getting everyone’s attention.
A huge part of the Redskins early success in 2011 has to be attributed to what Bruce Allen and Mike Shanahan have done in Ashburn to create depth.
Just look at Sunday for example.
Going against a Rams defense that was ranked dead last in the league, Tim Hightower and Roy Helu (number 1 and 2 on the Running Back Depth Chart) both struggled to make a huge impact rushing for 24 and 26 yards respectively.
Enter Ryan Torain.
Torain had not even seen the filed during the first three games of the season. Between his broken hand during Camp and Hightower’s extremely impressive preseason and first two games of the season, Torain had become a distant memory in the eyes of Redskins Fans. 135 yards later he is not only back in the mind of Redskins Fans, many are calling for him to start.
Ladies and gentleman this is exactly what we need at the RB position. Not one but three capable running backs who on a given day can put up 100+ yards. More importantly these guys all three have one goal… winning.
A lot is being made of Tim Hightower’s “Super Bowl” comments. If you believe guys like Mike Florio at ProFootballTalk you would think Hightower was calling for opposing teams to bow to the Redskins as they claim their fourth Lombardi Trophy.
The fact is this; upon being asked if Hightower was going to have fun during the bye week, Hightower responded that he would have his fun when the media was interviewing him in Indianapolis. Personally I don’t have a problem with this at all. There is a line between confident and cocky. To me the statement show’s confidence and I am glad to see the Skins playing with it again.
The proof to me is going to be a week from Sunday when the Eagles make their first trip back to FedEx since last year’s MNF debacle.
Is the team going to let the sudden media love they are getting go to their heads or will they use this time to refocus and continue with the workman like approach that has brought them success so far?