August 30, 2011
So far in the preseason, the 6-10 Redskins of 2010 have looked like a team of the past. The plethora of new faces has helped of course, but the change is far deeper than a new roster. The Skins are 2-1 in the preseason, and if their defense had stepped up to the plate in their last game against the Ravens, they would be 3-0. Unfortunately, in the grand scheme of things, preseason games don’t amount to much more than the coaches figuring out whom to keep or cut. Just ask the Colts. They have the league’s worst preseason record at 4-24 in preseason games (since 2005), while simultaneously boasting the league-best regular season record of 75-21 with several division title wins and two Super Bowl appearances — winning the title in 2007.
Still, it stands to reason that a team which actually looks good for the first time in years would be given some kudos for their positive upturn. Instead, their preseason victories are being met with criticism (myself included), that this won’t transition into the regular season and they’ll be just as bad, if not worse, than last year. It doesn’t help that their division rivals seem to only get stronger since last January. The Eagles have acquired a roster of who’s who in football, while the Cowboys blossomed under new leadership in the second half of last season.
Dan Steinberg wrote an interesting piece on his blog (DC Sports Bog) today, entitled “National Magazines predict Redskins will stink” which showcased various magazines essentially saying the same thing: The Redskins will suck this season. Skimming through the magazine clippings, it appears many are predicting the Redskins to win less than five games, with several placing them with records of 2-14 or 3-13, and almost all of them ensuring the Skins will finish the season in last place. If that’s true, then the dismal 6-10 of last year would be a Godsend.
All of the negative predictions don’t seem fair to a team that’s looked better on the field during preseason than even the “dream team” Eagles. Still, if the third preseason game is to be believed, then nothing much has changed: the Skins blew their lead and the game in the last minute of play, once again proving they don’t have what it takes to be champions.
At 62-70, the Nats have 28 games left to bring their season average to .500. They’ll need to win at least 18 of those games to hit that mark. Luckily for them, they may be getting some help: Stephen Strasburg could be returning to the majors next week after over a year away from the mound. Despite the threats of Hurricane Irene, Strasburg pitched Saturday night in Syracuse, marking his best start yet: five perfect innings followed by two base hits before calling it quits after 64 pitches in the sixth. He has appeared to progress well through his string of minor league starts and is no doubt itching to get back to the big leagues. Strasburg is slated to make one last rehab start on Thursday, before possibly making his long-awaited return to Nationals Park on Sept. 6 against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Even with all the rain this weekend, the Mystics managed to have their own damper Sunday afternoon when they lost their eighth game in a row. The matchup between the Phoenix Mercury (16-12) and Mystics (5-23), seemed to tilt in favor of the Mercury to begin with. Phoenix led 11-1 in the first few minutes. Crystal Langhorne had 27 points and 12 assists for the Mystics, though it didn’t seem to help as the team gave up more than 80 points for the third consecutive time. One positive note was that Sunday’s game was the franchise’s fourth annual Breast Cancer Awareness Game, so the ladies were decked out in pink, and an auction was held after the game, with proceeds benefiting the Sullivan Center for Breast Health at Sibley Memorial Hospital.