- The Washington Times - Monday, August 20, 2001

As you know, the NFL preseason schedule is meaningless.

The Redskins, alas, are taking the notion to the extreme. They don't bend. They don't break. They don't express an interest in the goings-on at all.

Are you ready for some football?

That is as good a question as any to ask of the coach and the team.

The Redskins complete the pre-game introductions with the best teams around. They shake, they shimmy, they do the twist, and then they roll over.

They are on pace to lead the NFL in turning the other cheek. The opposition smacks them. They don't smack back. When they get knocked down, they say, "Thank you. Was that as nice for you as it was for me?"

This is shaping up to be a long preseason, and never mind the regular season. The traffic outside is bad, the team inside is worse. Heaping amounts of Prozac are helpful in either case.

They don't call these the dog days of August for nothing. Many of the dogs are wearing the burgundy and gold. They sit, fetch and get out of the way on command.

The Redskins are still trying to master the extra point, after which, they promise to minimize the number of times they cross the line of scrimmage before the ball is snapped.

The Redskins have a Pepper and a Sage, but no Rosemary and Thyme, and not a darn clue.

Jeff George is 50-50, Tony Banks is in uniform, and, at this rate, Heath Shuler could become an option.

Marty Schottenheimer hired his family to save the franchise from the owner. Now it's the owner who may have to save the franchise from the family. Meddling is preferable to mismatches.

They call this rebuilding, which is a euphemism for 47-6 after two preseason games. Who's at quarterback, What's on both sides of the line, and I Don't Know is all around the franchise.

The Redskins haven't looked this anemic since Bill McPeak was the coach and Norm Snead was just out of Wake Forest.

At least the Redskins are at one with their unnatural environment by the Beltway. Their self-styled wrecks go with the tractor-trailer spills.

There is road rage outside the bowl. There is old-fashioned rage inside the bowl. The quarterback goes hut-hut, the Redskins go splat, and the crowd goes boo.

The Redskins are on pace to be everyone's homecoming opponent. They can't block, they can't tackle, and they can't kick the ball, which pretty much covers it all.

Schottenheimer vowed to familiarize the players with the basics. At this pace, he might want to scale his lesson plan back further. You have to be able to crawl before you walk, and crawling is a reach for the team at the moment.

The Redskins are not dead, but they are doing a mean impersonation of the dead. They don't get mad. They don't get even. They just take up space.

They don't look bad in their uniforms. Give them that. They should be favored to complete their team picture without embarrassment, doing what they already do well, which is to stand in one place.

Of course, the Redskins are learning a new system, and it takes time to process the information, especially if the information is dispensed in hieroglyphic form, as it apparently is.

Thankfully, Michael Westbrook is ready to go. That is assuming the team has a quarterback who is ready to go.

Darrell Green is still trying to be forever, only forever is starting to come with qualifiers.

They say a tie is like kissing your sister. A tie in the Redskins' case would be like kissing Pamela Anderson Lee, and leave Tommy Lee out of it.

It is hard to believe that Norv Turner is starting to represent the good, old days. His teams couldn't get the small stuff right, which made them maddening. But at least, when the fourth quarter rolled around, his teams were usually in the games.

The news around Washington could be worse. Michael Jordan has not broken any ribs lately, and Jaromir Jagr and the e-Caps remain virtual.

The Redskins, meanwhile, are looking to make half a game of it this week.

The way they are going, if they achieve half a game, it just might merit a parade in their honor.


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