Rock Bottom Redskins: How Low Can You Go?
In this morning's Washington Post, Michael Wilbon's column about the Redskins, with a secondary headline of They've Hit Rock Bottom, and That Starts at the Top, hits the nail on the head with his assessment of the Redskins' problems. It made me think, though, that the Redskins have spent a lot of time in the post-Joe Gibbs I days at rock bottom. I think what we have here is what is known as a "recurring theme."
So, thanks to Google, here's a chronological history of the Rock Bottom Redskins:
December 5, 1994
In an article by Jim Ducibella of The Virginian-Pilot, Norv Turner said, “I told the team five weeks ago that we’d hit rock bottom. It wasn’t. This is as low as you can get.” The Redskins lost to Tampa Bay 26-21, with the Redskins running game gaining 10 yards on 12 carries. Nice.
December 18, 1994
The Newport News Daily Press observed that “Every time Washington Redskins coach Norv Turner thinks he and the Redskins have hit rock bottom, it seems his sneakers sink a few more feet…After losing 17-14 to Tampa Bay on Sunday in RFK Stadium, Turner is finding that this disastrous 1994 season is a bottomless pit. Seven weeks ago, Turner said he thought the Redskins had bottomed out. Two weeks ago, he changed his mind and said a 26-21 loss to the Bucs was the real low point. Sunday, the Redskins dropped a peg lower.” Hey, at least they only have to play the Bucs once this year…
October 19, 1998
In a Post article, Redskins Hit 'Rock Bottom' with 41-7 Loss, Norv Turner called the team’s offense “totally inept.”
October 29, 1998
In an article headlined Redskins Crash, Hit Rock Bottom, Post writer Mark Maske wrote that “The calendar hasn’t turned to October and already the Washington Redskins’ season of high hopes appears to be slipping away. Even without quarterback John Elway, the defending Super Bowl Champion Denver Broncos raced to an early lead on a steamy afternoon yesterday at Jack Kent Cooke Stadium and never looked back, defeating the Redskins, 38-16.” The Skins were booed off the field. After the game, Leslie Shepherd suggested, “It’s rock bottom.” I remember that game. I was at my cousin's wedding reception that Saturday evening, which was at the same hotel that the Broncos were staying. The Broncos kept trying to crash it.
September 1, 2000
Adam Kamans of the Tufts Daily News took a break from his studies and weighed in that things had hit rock bottom after a 16-15 defeat by the Arizona Cardinals. Those Cardinals losses were always painful.
October 17, 2001
Clay Fowler of the Daily Texan took a break from whatever they do at the University of Texas to correctly note that “the only reason the Cowboys haven’t hit rock bottom was because the Redskins were there to break their fall.”
December 21, 2003
Mark Zuckerman of the Washington Times wrote that “Things hit rock bottom last week. Quarterback Tim Hasselback suffered through a nightmare of an afternoon…posting an embarrassing 0.0 rating.”
October 4, 2004
Mark Zuckerman of the Washington Times wrote that, after the Gibbs II-era began with a victory followed by three losses, "the Redskins have hit rock bottom."
November 14, 2004
After a 17-10 loss to the Bengals, the USA Today noted that “It took 10 weeks for Joe Gibbs’ comeback to hit rock bottom.” As if... In this game, Gibbs finally benched an ineffective (1 for 8 for six yards, with one interception) Mark Brunell at halftime and replaced him with then-quarterback of the future Patrick Ramsay. Talk about recurring themes. This move, poor Mark Zuckerman of the Washington Times noted, signaled Gibbs' acknowledgement that things had hit rock bottom.
November 29, 2004
Jim Rodenbush of the Pittsburgh Tribune wrote that “The Washington Redskins thought they had hit rock bottom with their offensive struggles when they gained just 213 net yards in their 28-6 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles last week… But that was before they ran into the No. 1 defense in the NFL.” That would be the Steelers, who held the Skins to 156 yards, beating them 16-7.
November 13, 2006
After a 27-3 loss to the Eagles, Rick Snider of the Philadelphia Examiner suggested that the Redskins add yet another consultant, Leslie Shepherd to teach players to say “rock bottom.” Good one, Rick.
There we have it. It's not a pretty cycle -- bad individual losses, bad strings of losses, confounded coaches and bad quarterbacks, who often had the benefit of some awfully misguided loyalty. I can't say I'm expecting things to improve anytime soon.