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Om Field: Setting the Stage

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Old 09-03-2008, 02:17 PM   #1
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Om Field: Setting the Stage

Begging your indulgence, one man's stab at ...

Setting the Stage
Sept. 3, 2008

Listen … do you smell something?

I do. And I’d be rich beyond the dreams of Avarice if I could bottle pebbled leather, icy beer, sizzling brats, cool breeze, manicured grass, spicy wings, pungent cigars, nervous pre-game sweat … and some other stuff. I’d call it NFL Chanel, and live out my days managing my fortune and cruising the seas in tasteful luxury.

Meanwhile … we’re just a few hours from kickoff of the Redskins 2008 season. Time for a last quick look around before the rollercoaster finally crests the long offseason climb and plunges into the regular season fray.

What can we expect from Jim Zorn’s team? To answer that, first we need to place them somewhere on the Expectation Scale. For me, the NFL boils down into three basic groups of teams. Not everyone will agree on my categorization of each specific team, of course, but it’s a solid jumping-off point.

1) At the top of the ladder are those few teams coming into the season having already proven they can win, and, assuming nothing too unexpected happens (Tom Brady breaks his throwing arm, Peyton Manning gets amnesia, Norv Turner remembers he’s Norv Turner), we reasonably expect to be there at the end.

The short list of teams that belong in this category heading into 2008 includes New England and Indianapolis at the top, followed one step below by teams like Jacksonville, NY Giants, Pittsburgh, San Diego … Dallas (sorry). You can finish/fine tune/flesh out the list yourself, but chances are our lists will be very similar.

2) At the other end of the spectrum are the expected also-rans—teams not on the realistic playoff radar at all. I’m talking Detroit, Atlanta, the Raiders, Arizona, San Francisco … again, not offering an exclusive list, just an example of teams I think most would agree don’t figure to be players when the snow flies.

3) And then there’s the rest—the majority—of the NFL. Teams for whom a casual thumbs up or down from the football gods can spell the difference between working weekends in January and top ten draft picks in April. Teams with enough positives on paper to merit attention, but enough questions to keep your smart money neatly folded in your pocket.

Unlike popular opinion, the gridiron gods aren’t punitive, just fickle. They manifest themselves in key injuries (or lack thereof), scheduling breaks, the unpredictable bounce of an odd-shaped ball, in a few “That one could have gone either way, Bob” whistles … the cumulative weight of which can ultimately make the difference between 6-10 and 10-6.

The Washington Redskins are such a team ...

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Old 09-03-2008, 02:55 PM   #2
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Re: Om Field: Setting the Stage

Wow...damn good article. That's what top QB's do, make their team seem bigger, stronger, faster. That's what we need from JC this year.
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