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Gary Williams, the Redskins and optimism


(By Ricky Carioti - TWP)


Last year, when the Redskins lost a high-scoring heartbreaker, at home, in overtime, to one of the NFL's best teams (the Saints) after leading by 10 in the fourth quarter, people were despondent. This year, when the Redskins lost a high-scoring heartbreaker, at home, in overtime, to what seems like one of the NFL's best teams (the Texans) after leading by 10 in the fourth quarter, people are optimistic. I'm pretty sure it's the most optimism I've sensed after a Redskins loss since the 2005 season.

Some people have asked me to consider what fans would be saying if Jim Zorn and Jason Campbell had presided over that loss. Whether they'd ask why the quarterback, with a tie game and two possessions to be the hero at the end of regulation and in overtime, failed to march his team to victory. (See here, for example.) Whether they'd ask why the coach's offense -- after gaining 23 yards on four straight Clinton Portis carries midway through the fourth quarter -- then went pass, pass, end around, pass, pass, sack, pass, pass, pass, pass, pass, pass, pass to end the game.

For some reason, though, that wasn't the takeaway for me, or for thousands of other fans and observers, including Gary Williams. The takeaway was competence. Maybe that's an illusion or self-blindness, but that's the takeaway.

"I watch coaches a lot," Williams told The Junkies Monday morning. "What I see with Shanahan, he's got control of the team. There's no running around on the sideline, there's nobody making suggestions that he doesn't want to hear. He's running his team, and it's really interesting to watch."

So what to make of the 1-1 Redskins?

"You're crushed any game you lose where you feel like you're gonna win, you're crushed, I don't care what the sport is," Williams said. "But the thing I tell myself is that that would have never happened last year. The Redskins would have never been in that position to play like they did. The attitude, the leadership with McNabb, things like that are completely different this year.

"So it's ok to be crushed, but today you've got to start looking forward to next week. Don't be babies. We've come a long way with the Redskins in a short period of time...so I think the Redskins are in really good position."

By Dan Steinberg  | September 20, 2010; 4:46 PM ET
Categories:  Redskins  
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Comments

Redskin fans are optimistic about our chance of a winning season for the exact same reason the Post is pessimistic about its chance for continued smear material - competence and control.

This, folks, is officially a professional football team again. Under Shanny, we've shed the "laughingstock" label (last time I checked, the Cowboys were trying it on for size), and the local media will no longer be allowed to "befriend" players with the motive of goading them into devisive comments.

Skeptics would be wise to keep watching this team perform on Sundays, and the media would be wise to re-read the team's recent reiteration of the media policy.

Not a moment too soon, order has returned to Washington. And THAT is why this fan is optimistic.

Posted by: SuperSkin | September 20, 2010 5:41 PM | Report abuse

Gary Williams is awesome

Posted by: JohnnyBlades | September 20, 2010 6:05 PM | Report abuse

There are so many large and glaring holes on this team that I don't feel like I need to spell them out. Acknowledging that (and you're a fool if you don't), the absolute uppest of upsides for this team is a playoff win, maybe. Hooray for optimism.

Posted by: ThisGuy | September 20, 2010 6:26 PM | Report abuse

Good article. I will read just about anything that is titled "Gary Williams, the Redskins and optimism" though.

Posted by: Barno1 | September 20, 2010 7:01 PM | Report abuse

Gary must be drinking that Tater kool-aid.

Posted by: rdpinva | September 20, 2010 7:43 PM | Report abuse

I'm just happy that the QB is the one throwing the ball every time. No double reverse end arounds to set up the fake triple reverse halfback toss.

Posted by: lkjfdklfjdkl | September 20, 2010 8:16 PM | Report abuse

I'm just happy that the QB is the one throwing the ball every time. No double reverse end arounds to set up the fake triple reverse halfback toss.

Posted by: lkjfdklfjdkl | September 20, 2010 8:16 PM | Report abuse

I'm just happy that the QB is the one throwing the ball every time. No double reverse end arounds to set up the fake triple reverse halfback toss.

Posted by: lkjfdklfjdkl | September 20, 2010 8:17 PM | Report abuse

Gary Williams.. Gary Williams..? Isn't that a pimp up in NW?

Posted by: iubiquity | September 20, 2010 8:19 PM | Report abuse

Breaking News:
REDSKINS PLAN TO TRADE HAYNESWORTH FOR SWEDISH KICKER

ASHBURN, VA -- Sensing a need to improve the distance and accuracy of its punting and place kicking games, the Washington Redskins have reportedly invited Swedish Premier League soccer star Hamm Samvitch to try out for the NFL team roster.

In exchange, the Stockholm Stompers are being offered a seasonal loan of disgruntled Washington defensive lineman Albert Haynesworth and cash considerations.

Stay tuned for more updates.

Posted by: Vic1 | September 21, 2010 10:18 AM | Report abuse

ThisGuy: "There are so many large and glaring holes on this team that I don't feel like I need to spell them out. Acknowledging that (and you're a fool if you don't), the absolute uppest of upsides for this team is a playoff win, maybe. Hooray for optimism."

Look up the definition of "toxic people" and you'll no doubt see this guy's picture. And talk about a superiority complex! You're caustic attitude and arrogant outlook are likely to take years off your life, friend.

Posted by: Rational_Man | September 21, 2010 12:20 PM | Report abuse

I find this loss to be similar to the ones in Gibbs' 0-5 start. As I recall, they lost but played like a team that was getting it together (and which eventually did). Perhaps it's just the contrast with the disturbing lack of identity the team has suffered in years prior under Zorn and others, but there truly was a sense of growing cohesion in the Redskins I saw on Sunday.

Posted by: fan-o-matic | September 21, 2010 12:52 PM | Report abuse

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