- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 19, 2013


Disappointment swirled through stuffy air in the Redskins locker room at Lincoln Financial Field on Sunday.

Pierre Garcon could hardly spit out a complete sentence.

Trent Williams complained about an official’s mean-spirited comments while teammates warned him to quiet down.

DeAngelo Hall couldn’t figure out where everything wrong.

The dank room made the extravagant, unbridled expectations that followed these Redskins into the season seem flat-out silly.

Remember the easy talk of double-digit victories?

Remember when Dr. James Andrews declared Robert Griffin III’s recovery from knee surgery “superhuman” and the self-aggrandizing August documentary about the rehabilitation seemed quaint?

Remember the trendy predictions of a deep run into the postseason?

Remember glaring weaknesses on the 53-man roster, from returning kicks to the offensive line to the defensive backfield, being explained away because if the Redskins emerged from last season with 10 wins, the next time around would only improve, right?

Hindsight, of course, makes this year’s still-unfolding 3-7 debacle easy to see coming. Same for the crush of unmet expectations. So desperate is Washington for a consistent winner that the cycle is predictable. Build up a team. Paper over the flaws. Suck the marrow from every bit of success and forget, if only for a moment, that the good times may be more illusion than reality. That the bad old days of struggle may not be as distant as hoped.

The lesson in disappointment and tempered expectations isn’t new. Not in a city thrust back into the well-worn position of another lost season.

Not so long ago, one strike separated the Nationals from the National League Championship Series. They then tore through the offseason, winning trades and press conferences, as general manager Mike Rizzo transformed a good roster to a great one. At least that’s what we all thought. The question wasn’t how if they’d make the postseason, but if the once-moribund franchise would win the World Series.

Who could argue?

The expectations couldn’t survive 162 games, replete with key injuries, an erratic bullpen, inconsistent offense and bench that did less than the inflatable “Air Screech” mascot.

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