Today’s National Football League matchup between the Atlanta Falcons and Washington Redskins is almost a must-watch.
Not for the high level of football being played – that escaped both teams long ago. Rather, it’s to see which train wreck of a team can get back on track for at least a week.
As a die-hard Redskins fan, it pains me to see how horrible they are. The Falcons have a matching 3-10 record, but that doesn’t reflect how far away in ineptitude the teams are.
The dysfunction of the Redskins has reached an 11. On a snowy day in Landover, Md., a week ago, it looked like the team quit on coach Mike Shanahan, which was almost fair since reports surfaced before the game against Kansas City that Shanahan had thought about quitting the Redskins a year ago.
In retrospect, that would have been the best thing. Now, we have Shanahan benching franchise quarterback Robert Griffin III in favor of Kirk Cousins. Granted, Griffin has been a shell of his rookie self while coming back from a knee injury, but for Shanahan to say he’s saving him for the offseason is asinine. Isn’t going through the fire the best way for a young quarterback to get better? But playing the Falcons’ and Cowboys’ defenses the next two weeks may not be considered going through the fire at this point.
It would help if the Redskins had something a little more mobile than tackling dummies for an offensive line, but Griffin can at least learn how to minimize taking hits in, and out, of the pocket.
Shanahan is now approaching Albert Haynesworth or Donovan McNabb status. One was a useless, dead weight who put a drain on the Redskins’ salary cap (their fault) and the other was an aging experiment brought in by Shanahan that went downhill fast.
Contrast that to the Falcons, who have seen their season derailed by a number of injuries. People can point to lack of production in the running game, but Andy Reid took the Philadelphia Eagles to four NFC Championship games with just a hint of a ground game. The injury to Roddy White and the season-ending injury to blossoming star Julio Jones were about as significant as you will find.
Which team has been more disappointing?
The Redskins’ season has been a continuing slide coming off their NFC East title a year ago, and the regression of RG-III has been a blow. On the other hand, the Falcons were close to the Super Bowl last year and looked like they were were ready to make the next step, so I think it’s a toss-up. It would be only fitting for the Redskins and Falcons to finish the game in a tie.