It’s hard not to think about the contrasts with the team’s other bye week under Mike Shanahan. The team had just benched Donovan McNabb in a loss to the Lions midway though last season.
The ensuing tumult inspired the team to hand McNabb more money as an apology in what should be remembered as one of the most ridiculous contracts in NFL history.
This year, the Redskins are quietly moving along without much drama except for the occasional DeAngelo Hall brain cramp, which is going to happen no matter what. The defense is vastly improved, with Ryan Kerrigan earning early rookie of the year consideration. The free agent moves on the defensive line have worked and the secondary looks competent.
The running game isn’t exactly explosive, but it looks like a Mike Shanahan production. Three receivers have more than 238 yards, and none of them are Chris Cooley. The tight end’s slow recovery from a knee problem is basically the only serious injury the team has since the preseason injury to Jarvis Jenkins.
The only position that hasn’t improved is quarterback. Rex Grossman had a good half in the opener against the Giants, but he has more turnovers (7) than touchdowns (6.) At least he’s cheaper than McNabb.
“Every quarterback is going to be judged by if he wins or loses, that’s the nature of the job,” Shanahan said Monday.
Translation: We won’t see John Beck unless it’s absolutely necessary.
You can’t fault the Redskins for getting two wins against the NFC West. The best route to a sneaky playoff spot for a flawed NFC East team like Washington is to sweep the NFC West and play .500 football against everyone else.
Without the drama and with a little bit of luck, perhaps these Redskins can pull it off.