By Mark Pierce
When a team with a freshly minted NFL superstar is 3-6 at the bye week, it’s understandable that fans will endlessly deconstruct the shortcomings that brought them there. This hand-wringing often occurs in the same breath that frets over the possible outcomes of the remainder of the season, and may be particularly plaintive when the last three of those nine games have been losses.
With the last of those defeats coming at the hands of a Carolina Panthers team that had previously only managed a single win in the half-gone season, the voices of reason may go unheard over the hue and cry for a new coach, a new GM, or previously untried philosophy.
That the Washington Redskins have been a woebegone mess for years is an immutable fact. When Robert Griffin came to town bringing hope and a reason to really cheer, it was predictable that fans would expect too much too fast, in the same way that a man lost in the desert will drink until he is sick if water is miraculously presented to him. Those same hopes have been dealt severe blows as key players have gone down to injury. Brian Orakpo, Adam Carriker, Brandon Meriweather , Pierre Garcon. All big performers deleted from the Skins winning equation.
Though we can recognize that injury is a part of football that every team wrangles with, in the Redskins case it must be considered in the context of a team in the midst of a ground up re-build. It would be naive in the extreme to expect that the second tier players available to them could step in and play at a commensurate level.
To criticize Coach Shanahan and GM Bruce Allen for trading the draft picks that brought Robert Griffin here as many in the media are doing now is absurd. One need only watch a few moments of the team’s performance without him in previous years to arrive at this conclusion.
Therefore, as fans let us continue to watch and be hopeful. With Robert Griffin III leading the way, the Redskins will be a force to be reckoned with in years to come. Maintain a healthy skepticism, yes, but don’t excoriate without considering context.