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Football Returns To Washington!

FOOTBALL RETURNS TO WASHINGTON (for now?)

By

Chuck Cascio

(chuckwrites@yahoo.com)

      There is a football team again in Washington! 

     Yeah, it does not have a nickname or an official mascot. 

     Yeah, it seems to be an underdog no matter where or when it plays. 

     Yeah, the franchise management’s reputation has recently been soiled by accusations of various unacceptable activities. 

     Yeah, the team's record from 2013-2020 was a dismal 48-79-1.

     Yeah, the team "won" its division in 2020 with a record of 7 wins and 9 losses (thanks to the absurdly weak Giants, Cowboys, and Eagles!) and had a four-game winning streak after losing 7 of its first 9 games.

     And, yeah, this could all turn around and go down the slide by the time you read this. 

     But let's put all of that aside for a couple of minutes and go back to that first statement: There is a football team again in Washington! 

7533_washington_football_team-primary_dark-20201.png

Logo by SportsLogos.Net 

     Four wins in a row, winning against some teams that most fans thought would solidify Washington in the loss column and guarantee another season of frustration, weakness, and just plain poor play. Instead, the Washington Football Team seems to have found something. 

     Call it determination--they never seem to quit anymore. 

     Call it physicality--they hit hard, run fast, jump high, and treat each play as a personal challenge. 

     Call it coaching--Ron Rivera and his assistants have clearly studied opponents deeply, identified opponents' weaknesses, and conveyed to their players how to capitalize on them. 

     Call it execution--the offense runs its plays with confidence, maintaining possession of the ball long enough to frustrate opponents into making errors; the defense reads opponents' plays with a mixture of intelligence and brutality; and the special teams know what they are expected to do and how to do it...such as, yeah, making extra points and field goals again! 

     Yeah, they have still given up 51 points more than they have scored and 80 more yards than gained versus opponents, but those deficits are largely rooted in games earlier in the season. 

     Progress is progress, so look at quarterback Taylor Heinicke, who was released by four other teams before signing with Washington in what was supposed to be a backup position to Ryan Fitzpatrick. Heinicke now has more than 2,800 yards passing, shows guts when running, and displays increasing smarts when having to throw the ball away. 

     Look at running back Antonio Gibson, who has 800 rushing yards and over 200 more receiving.

     Look at receiver Terry McLaurin with over 800 yards receiving. 

     Look at a defense that is improving in rushing opposing quarterbacks, racking up key tackles, and mixing up coverage enough to consistently confuse opponents. 

     All of this with some key players--Landon Collins, Brandon Scherff, Chase Roulier, Jonathan Bostic, and others--dealing with injuries. 

     Room for improvement? Always.

     Is the WFT the best team in the NFL? Probably not. 

     Will they go to the Super Bowl? Not likely. 

     But the point is the quality of play is noticeably improving almost every week. The players are supporting one another during on-field action and on the sidelines. And, yeah, the team is fun to watch again! 

     So, let the future of the WFT bring what it will bring! 

     Maybe some frustrating losses? 

     Maybe a new, appropriate nickname? 

     Maybe an intelligent culture within the management ranks? 

     And maybe, just maybe...even more of that on-field determination, more of the positive team attitude, and, YEAH, more of those wins! 

     And, yeah, all of that makes WFT=Washington's Fun Team (again)!

Readers’ thoughts always welcome: Write to chuckwrites@yahoo.com

Copyright: Chuck Cascio; all rights reserved.