- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 6, 2002

Redskins fun is worldwide now, baby, from Carlisle to Osaka.
Far East Fun.
Steve Spurrier, International Minister of Fun.
The Fun Bunch? Oops, already taken. Sorry.
Fun on the Run.
Green Acres is the place to be, fun living is the life for me.
There's no denying that winning your first game is fun, and winning it 38-7 is really fun. So by all means Spurrier, as well as owner Dan Snyder and Redskins fans, should enjoy his coming out party win over the San Francisco 49ers.
But let us remember that it is preseason football, which is on par with professional wrestling in terms of credibility. The NFL doesn't call it exhibition football anymore, even though that is far closer to the truth. They could call it the NFE during the preseason National Football Entertainment.
It's the biggest scam in sports. In order to see the real deal when the season begins, teams force their fans to buy tickets to these shams. It is really no indication of how good or bad your team is. We've seen teams go undefeated in the preseason and go 4-12 during the regular season, and vice versa.
The 1982 Redskins championship team went 0-4 in the preseason, hammered by Miami 24-7 in their first game. The great 1991 championship squad went 1-3, scoring just 64 points in four games with an offense that would go on to score 485 points in 16 games that year.
George Allen lost his first preseason game as Redskins coach, 19-10 to San Diego.
Norv Turner went 3-1 in the preseason the year he was fired. In fact, Norv had a much better fake football record 14-14 than his real football record of 49-59-1.
So it really doesn't mean squat except it feels better than losing 38-7. So first string vs. third string, starters vs. reserves, boys vs. girls whatever the matchup was, it felt good to win, if for no other reason to give the players something they can hang their helmets on.
It is a validation of the "system," which is better than the questions that would have arisen about the "system" if Spurrier's team had looked bad in Osaka.
"This isn't about an individual," receiver Darnerien McCants told The Washington Times. "This is about the offense, the team. Everybody believes in this offense. It works."
Of course McCants believes in it. He caught two touchdown passes. It worked real well for him.
Stephen Davis might not have been too thrilled with what he saw, since the team rushed for a total of 45 yards. I keep hearing pitch it and catch it. I don't hear carry it too much in Spurrier-speak.
And contrary to what McCants believes, it is very much about an individual Spurrier. This entire thing is about the system, not the players. The notion is that whatever players you put into the system, if they follow the system, it will succeed. And the system is Spurrier.
So if the point of this first game was to validate the system and therefore, Spurrier to the players and perhaps the rest of the league as well, then it succeeded.
And if the point was to validate the notion that Danny Wuerffel can play quarterback in the system, then it succeeded as well. Spurrier's former Gators quarterback completed 16 of 25 passes for 269 yards and three touchdowns. Of course, it was against a secondary that he might have faced in the SEC, but they were still live bodies. There was real pressure, and, at the very least, Wuerffel showed he could make the right decisions within the system of course.
"Anytime you go in later in a game, you're not playing against the best people on the team," Wuerffel said. "But you still have to do what you can do, do your best and see how it goes."
Let's face it, we've seen quarterbacks in Washington over the past 10 years that couldn't throw three touchdown passes with nobody on the field.
To get in and out of Osaka without anyone getting hurt was a victory in itself. And if they can look halfway decent on the field against Carolina on Saturday in the next preseason game, given the after-effects of traveling around the world, that, too, will be a victory.
There's only one victory that really counts for the Redskins though. The first game of the real season, the opener against the Cardinals. If Spurrier and the system win that game, then the fun can really begin. Until then, it's all pretend.

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