- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 5, 2003

As far as clown shows go, Steve Spurrier and the rest of the red-nosed gang are one of the best.

A team in the throes of self-destructing is rarely this entertaining.

If you live by the false start, you die by it.

“We are what we are,” the outgoing coach says.

That is one signal to raise the white flag. There are plenty of others.

Bruce Smith, Dead Man Rushing, has decided it is time to be “a little selfish,” with Reggie White’s sack record seemingly on eternal hold. At his interminable pace, Smith may need a couple of more seasons to overtake White.

As usual, the national press is more hip to the clown show than those who must coexist with this frazzled football operation.

Cris Collinsworth, the announcer who ripped the Redskins the most during the telecast Sunday, flirted with a piling-on penalty. In his defense, he left the team’s water boys out of his lengthy list of indictments.

Jerry Rhome, hopefully, is available to consult with quarterback Patrick Ramsey this week, following up on Joe Bugel’s visit.

As the leading victim of the chuck-and-duck offensive scheme, Ramsey should be outfitted in an armored suit. If not, a season-ending injury is possibly just up ahead.

If Ramsey is the future of the franchise, the outgoing coach and the owner/general manager have a funny way of protecting the future.

Ramsey is consigned to the fetal position, with a stretcher available, if necessary.

The premium on his health plan goes up by the week.

It is an old-fashioned numbers game.

The Cowboys rushed 15 defenders on each play, while the Redskins sometimes tried to block with five. This led to a heap of bodies in the backfield, with Ramsey flattened like road kill against the surface.

It is up to Ramsey to recognize a blitz before it unfolds, whereupon he is obligated to dispense a life-altering audible at the line of scrimmage. He perhaps changes more plays at the line of scrimmage than any other quarterback in the NFL.

The change in the play rarely works. If anything, it works against the Redskins.

Sometimes they have to burn a timeout. Sometimes, in their confused state, they barely beat the play clock. And sometimes they revert to their false-start proclivity because of a hearing disorder.

Earwax build-up is another problem with this team.

The Redskins have become the white Bronco in a low-speed freeway chase. They even rise to the level of “surreal,” the favorite word of the talking-head brigade since O.J. Simpson vowed to find the “real killers” on a golf course.

A fake beard and $10,000 in cash would be useful to the Redskins, along with deep-breathing exercises.

Unfortunately, Ron Lynn is no longer around to take the fall.

Although the outgoing coach is inclined to retain his assistants, firing someone, anyone, would be considered an act of mercy at this point.

As bad as it is, it could be worse, as linebacker Jessie Armstead points out.

Dan Snyder could impose a midseason hike in parking prices in the area formerly known as Raljon.

Bleeding the masses is the sport within the sport, ever conspicuous with Snyder.

The little fellow, who tries so hard, is morphing into an object of pity. Let’s be fair to him. He is just trying to win a football game. There are more important things in life, such as the Wizards reaching the playoffs this decade.

If Snyder ever sold the team, Washington probably would celebrate the transaction with a local holiday in his honor, possibly with a ticker-tape parade and the keys to the city. In an odd way, he has become a special figure to the community, if as a target of all that is wrong, Jaromir Jagr’s inert state included.

In the good, old days, Jack Kent Cooke was the owner, Joe Gibbs the coach, and Joe Jacoby and Mark May appeared in the worst commercial ever, as wide bodies next to a wide-screen television. There was a sense of continuity and order to it all.

Now LaVar Arrington is getting ready to play for yet another coaching staff, his 90th or so defensive coordinator since landing in Washington in 2000. Who, really, can keep track of all the changes?

Welcome to clueless in Washington.

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