Friday, December 16, 2005
Dallas Week: D.C. teams teetering on the fulcrum
Well, it ALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL comes down to this. This Sunday, we see with certainty whether this season's Washington Redskins will sink or swim. Every season, every team in every sport has a single game or stretch of games that acts as the season's fulcrum, dictating whether it is a success or a failure.
This Sunday's game is that fulcrum game for the Skins. Even if they don't make the playoffs, if they win this weekend, it can easily be argued that the season wasn't a failure. Because it's Dallas Week, baby, and they've got a chance to sweep!
If you can't get up for this, you don't have a pulse. And if you don't hate Dallas - HATE Dallas - you are not a Redskin fan. If you are a Skins player and you don't come to play Sunday - against your archrivals with your season in the balance - then you are a bum.
With the ghosts of rivalries past echoing through the corridors, the Washington Redskins march this week as to battle....as to WAAAAAAARRRRRRR.
Here's the basic storyline as it has been hyped this week: is the Skins defense frisky enough to attack Drew Bledsoe, the stick in the mud who plays quarterback for the Cowboys? The Skins defense was built to attack him, the Cowboys offensive line was built to protect him. Both sides have suffered injuries. Something's gotta give, and something's gonna give.
Personally, I think a good portion of this game will come down to Clinton Portis. This game will show whether he's a "true Redskin", if you want to use that phrase. If he's just collecting Snyder's paychecks, he won't be a factor. If he cares about the team and winning and such, he'll show up and be a horse. Simple as that. This game isn't about Xs and Os. It's one of those rare times when it just comes down to who's ready to ball. Who's willing to go the extra mile in this, the NFL's top rivalry, to keep their playoff hopes alive? And so forth.
In a bit of gamesmanship, Redskins coach Joe Gibbs has listed all his injured players as probable, so as not to tip his hand. This list includes LaVar Arrington, who reportedly had so much blood and other fluid built up in his thigh muscle that it was dangerous for him to get on an airplane last week.
If you are one of the literally fives of people who read this blog, you'll know what I think about the Skins - I think they're out of it, playoffs-wise. But with a win Sunday, they can say it was a decent season, and who knows? Playoffs wouldn't be impossible (like they will be if they lose). So I hope I'm wrong.
And you know what? I think they can win this game. They just need to be energetic, avoid dumb mistakes, kick ass, get dirty, play hard, play together, play to win. It ain't rocket science.
In a similar note, it's an early season fulcrum test for the Washington Bullets, errr, Wizards, as well, as they begin the dreaded West Coast swing tonight in L.A. The Wizards don't tend to do well against the West because they aren't physical enough, but they've beaten the Spurs and Pistons this year, among others, and they've got Gilbert Arenas back, so we'll see what happens. Looks like current Laker and former Wizard Kwame Brown is chomping at the bit to play us. Yikes. I shudder to imagine a "motivated" Kwame Brown tearing up the Wiz with his usual monster game of six points and four rebounds. He's going to be like King Kong out there. Anyway, hope the Wiz handle their biz out West.
But really, as of right now, all eyes are on the Skins. Come on, guys. Don't roll over this time. Let's go - BEAT DALLAS!
(Photos credit respectively: www.quarry.com, www.endzone.it, Sports Fans HQ)