You Can’t Fire Everyone
As the Northern Shenandoah Valley shakes off it’s first snowfall of the year, we plow ahead (no pun intended) into a brand new year, hopefully filled with winning seasons for your favorite teams, not to mention health and prosperity.
I got a little memory jolt this morning as I looked out over the frosty snow-covered field in front of the radio station. I got that old feeling of how great snow days were when I was growing up. All of the kids on Talbott Avenue & Holmes Street in Pikeside would grab our sleds, and venture back through the fields toward Capitol Cement. We had to climb about 3 different fences to get to that hill,and often we would walk through knee-deep snow to get there. There was a frozen stream at the bottom of the hill and there was an old metal barrel perfect for a warming fire. And the hot chocolate was always waiting on us when we got back home. When I visit my Mom and look back toward that field, it doesn’t seem like such an expanse of territory, but then, that sled-riding hill seemed miles away from our houses…
Now, on to today’s main topic. There’s a line from one of the Godfather movies where Al Pacino’s character is trying to escape mob life and go “legit” with his businesses. He says something like (I’m paraphrasing), “every time I try to leave, they pull me back in!” Such is the case with the Washington Redskins. After the embarrassing loss to the Giants last Sunday that knocked the Skins out of playoff contention, I needed a break from the Burgundy & Gold. But they pulled me back in with this weeks firing of Defensive Coordinator Joe Barry (and several of his assistants).
I don’t disagree with the move. The Washington defense was at times horrible, and finished near the NFL’s bottom-feeders in many defensive categories, and struggled all year to get the opposition off the field on 3rd down. There was a stretch of games toward the end of the season where the Skins inexplicably deferred after winning the opening coin-toss, followed by opening-drive scores by the other team.
But let’s be fair. Barry was asked to build a mansion with toothpicks. The Washington defense was a patchwork unit, a ragtag bunch of castoffs, and players not in their natural positions, etc. In addition, injuries took their toll on the defensive side of the ball. I think Barry probably did the best with what he had.
That being said, everyone has to share the blame. In the NFL, injuries mean opportunities for those who have to step in. The old saying “coaches coach, and players play” applies here. The Redskins player personnel built an offensive juggernaut, while ignoring the defensive side of the ball. And, Barry & his staff obviously didn’t do their jobs. But you can’t fire everyone, so it’s usually the coach who takes the bullets.
And now the search begins for a new defensive braintrust out in Ashburn, and the question looms: will the Skins go for a “re-tread” like Wade Phillips, or a fresh new talent we’ve never heard of (remember saying, “who is Joe Gibbs?”). Only time will tell.
Now, I’m taking a break from the Redskins…I swear…honest.
Enjoy Wild Card Weekend, Good Luck JMU Dukes in your quest for a FCS National Championship, and until next week,