- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 21, 2004

The Redskins are endeavoring not to have another Dan Rather-like moment this season after dropping the ball in the Jimmy Hoffa Mausoleum.

One of the questions all about Washington after two games is: “Kenneth, what is the frequency?”

Another is: What about Tim Hasselbeck?

This feels like a mugging to our previously restored football psyche.

To which the ever-eerie Rather might suggest: “Courage.”

Miscommunication is an awful thing to watch on a Sunday afternoon, especially as Patrick Ramsey throws the ball to one part of the field, Laveranues Coles winds up on another part of the field, and Giants defensive back Gibril Wilson waits under the pass, as if he is preparing to return a punt.

So concludes the halcyon period that has marked the second coming of Joe Gibbs.

We have a season.

The Redskins do not have a dependable quarterback.

Are you ready for some turnovers?

Most teams try to establish the running game. The Redskins have established the faulty exchange between the center and quarterback.

The latter is more unsettling than the false-start maneuver that was established in the Steve Spurrier era.

To be fair, the legend of Gibbs was not forged in the Meadowlands. In fact, if there is one image that has stuck with Washington recalling the Gibbs-coached teams of bygone years playing in the Meadowlands, it is the one of a punch-drunk Jay Schroeder following the NFC title game in January 1987. Schroeder took a beating in the 17-0 loss and was barely ticking afterward. He was reduced to hair by Don King and eyes by a knocked-out Mike Tyson.

Fast forward to Team Hamstring in the Landfill State.

The only thing worse than a kicker with a hamstring injury is a starting quarterback with one.

The hamstring injury appears to be contagious with the Redskins. Gibbs only can hope that hamstring injuries do not happen in threes, like celebrity deaths.

We live in strange times. One week the city is making plans to attend the Super Bowl, and the next, the city is draped in black.

The Redskins could not even beat Kurt Warner, who no longer beats anyone in the NFL unless you give him seven turnovers and a touchdown by the defense. Even then, the Redskins could have won the game if Ramsey had not come down with Vinny Testaverde’s colorblindness.

It is hard to imagine what Ramsey was thinking on a couple of those passes other than the following: “I think I will just throw the ball up for grabs and make the sign of the cross.”

Ramsey merely confirmed what Gibbs already ascertained in preseason. Ramsey has too much gunslinger in him, which was why Mark Brunell was awarded the starting job.

We know it was not because of the strength in Brunell’s left arm. His passes float like a butterfly and do not sting the hands at all. His idea of the deep option is a 7-yard out pattern.

Yet, unlike Ramsey, Brunell is not inclined to throw a pass 50 yards up into the sky, whereupon all 11 members of the defense converge to the landing spot like outfielders circling under a pop-up, with each calling off the other.

For now, the Redskins cannot throw the ball or catch it and are only 50-50 on the center-quarterback exchange. They also allow one fumble to be returned for a touchdown each game. On the plus side, their defense is fairly tough, and Joe Bugel still has an impressive head of hair, which he slicks back in the fashion of Gordon Gecko, Pat Riley and Chuck Daly, the three icons of the ‘80s.

After the Redskins defeated the missing throwing arm of Brad Johnson in the opener, the team’s tarot-card readers envisioned a 6-0 start. Now they are up to their eyeballs in anxiety with Coach Tuna coming to town Monday night.

Please, it is not time to panic yet.

Courage, everyone.


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