- - Thursday, December 14, 2017

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

So we’ll get another look at FedEx Landfill on Sunday, with the game against Arizona the first time the Washington Redskins will step foot on their home field since it was battered and brown on Thanksgiving night.

The ugly condition of the field became a topic of conversation in an otherwise dreadful 20-10 win over the New York Giants — the big brown stain in the middle of the field looking particularly bad in the aerial shots on the national television broadcast.

The Redskins, in an email response to questions from the Washington Post, said the condition of the field was a “non-issue.”

“Our field was in good condition last night, although a recent freeze made the Bermuda grass turn brown between the numbers,” Redskins senior vice president of communications Tony Wylie responded to the Post. He also said, the team would offer no further details.

But in an interview with me and Andy Pollin on 106.7 The Fan on Nov. 27, Capital Sports Field president Nicholas Gammill said he heard the heating system beneath the field was broken.

The Bermuda grass has gone dormant,” Gammill said. “What they do is they put rye grass on top of it. I heard they actually had resodded the middle portion of it. That’s why that looked so much better. And they overseeded it at the farm, but they did not overseed it again at the field.

“The heating system at FedEx Field is not working,” Gammill said. “They have an underground heating system. They put blankets over it to help it but it just didn’t come up.”

Wylie did not respond to an email asking if any work has been done on the field since the Thanksgiving night game and if the heating system beneath the field has been repaired.

Then again, the team has made it clear that the condition of the field is a “non-issue.”

But if that’s the case, why did Kirk Cousins make such a big deal about it?

Cousins never complains about anything. He never has a bad word to say about a person or even a blade of grass. You want to take away his two 1,000-yard receivers? You want to embarrass him by publicly revealing a disingenuous contract offer?

“There have been a lot of changes in our organization since the end of last season,” Cousins responded in a 106.7 The Fan interview. “So I want to allow time to help make this decision. I believe wisdom is never impatient, and so I think it’s smart to slow the process down, and to be patient and to allow things to play themselves out, to gather more information. I want to make the best decision I can.”

No shots fired.

The condition of the field, though — Cousins had plenty to say about that.

“It probably doesn’t look like a professional NFL field should, first of all,” Cousins said on 106.7 The Fan the day after the Giants game. “Second of all, I watched last year’s game at the end of the season, and had forgotten how many times running backs, receivers, people had slipped while playing. You know, I don’t know if we need to get longer cleats on or what it is. But if you think the field is rough now on Thanksgiving, we’ve got two more home games in mid-to-late December, and that’s probably going be a bigger challenge.”

“So it is what it is,” Cousins said. “I don’t know why it is that way or what causes it. I’ve kind of learned to just accept it and understand it as a part of the deal: that playing here the field just has never been that great in the second half of the season for whatever reason. I remember even going back to the playoff game my rookie year [in 2012], that it just gets in rough shape as the year goes on. We’ve got to control what we can control, which is put on the right set of cleats or have good footing, but we can’t use it as an excuse. There’s too many times where we have crucial plays where we have to have better footing, because it could be the difference in a win or a loss, or in staying on the field or punting, when a guy slips and we don’t make the play.”

For Cousins, this amounted to a diatribe.

He’s talking about his boss, owner Dan Snyder’s, stadium. He is saying that the owner of the Washington Redskins does not have a professional NFL football field.

He might as well have walked into Snyder’s mansion and said he wasn’t impressed with all the velvet paintings of Elvis and dogs playing cards.

Maybe, though, Cousins wasn’t just talking about the playing field at FedEx Landfill. Maybe he saw this as his chance to take a shot at the organization without directly insulting anyone in particular, or criticize a fellow human being, which doesn’t seem to be in Cousins’ nature.

Maybe the FedEx Landfill Field, which wasn’t an “issue” for the team, represented every issue Cousins has with the Washington Redskins.

Thom Loverro hosts his weekly podcast “Cigars & Curveballs” Wednesdays available on iTunes, Google Play and the reVolver podcast network.


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