By Rob Whittle
The Washington Commanders not only ruined my Sunday, but, worse, they ruined this column. I was all set, after they went 2-0, to tell you not to believe in them. I was going to point out that the last time they went 2-0, which was 11 years ago, they won a total of three more games that season.
As they lost to the lowly Lions, you don’t need any warning. They are the same old ill-prepared, under-achieving group they’ve been for years. Much is made of clock management by NFL head coaches. Head Coach Ron Rivera needs to work on alarm clock management, as he failed to wake up his players until after halftime. Before that, the Commanders managed 56 yards of offense and politely declined to enter the Lions’ side of the field.
In their opening game, in which they managed to eke out a win against the equally lowly Jacksonville Jaguars, these marketing geniuses introduced their new brand with their newly designed W emblazoned on coffee cups over the background of the state of Washington. No, I’m not kidding.
I don’t want to say that new quarterback Carson Wentz is “big hat and no cattle.” Rather, he’s “big arm and throws to players on the opposing team.”
Much has been made of the distractions created by Snyder and his crew in just about every off season. The organization has racked up enough accusations and controversies to put congress to shame.
I had my own encounter with the team years ago, when then new coach Steve Spurrier was going to record radio spots for a client of mine.
The Old Ball Coach could not have been more gracious as I personally visited their facility in Ashburn, recording equipment in hand. He had to excuse himself before we got started so I was left alone in his office. Using my highly developed skill of upside-down reading, I perused a hand-written note headlined “Quarterback Dos and Don’ts” “Oh boy,” I thought. “This guy is supposed to be an offensive genius.”
From what I remember, the list went like this:
1.It is ok for the QB to run from the pocket and pick up 4 or 5 yards, maybe even a first down.
2. Make sure to lead the receiver over his outside shoulder when throwing toward the sideline.
3. Make sure you vary the snap count.
4. Be confident in the huddle.
It was about what a coach would tell a junior varsity high school player. I thought, “This is what an offensive genius looks like?”
When the coach returned, he recorded the spots in his Southern twang. Unfortunately, the Spurrier radio era never happened, as team officials nixed the spots because Spurrier sounded too country.
It is said that if you get angry it’s because you are passionate and you care. Washington’s football team makes me angry. I hate caring about them because they will and do break your heart every year. Without exception. It’s like Charlie Brown trying to kick the football every fall.
Yet some little flicker of light still burns deep in my weather-beaten breast. Maybe this is the year they’ll win, what, eight games?
The writer is CEO of Williams Whittle Advertising and is the author of two historical novels, “Pointer’s War” and “Pointer and the Russian.”