Is it over yet?
It’s hard to tell when you’ve been hunched over, eyes closed and your head in your hands, scared to look up because who-knows-what else might be coming next.
It’s hard to tell whether the nation’s laughter has stopped for good or everyone is just catching their breath, wafting for the next joke.
It’s hard to tell after the local NFL franchise has become an even bigger punching bag this week, absorbing enough head shots to warrant the concussion protocol.
Fans at FedEx Field Thursday night witnessed the fourth and, mercifully, final preseason game. Players on each sideline battled for final spots on the roster – or the practice squad at worse – with Jacksonville’s would-be reserves beating Washington’s would-be reserves, 17-16.
But more importantly than the final score or which players were Nos. 48-53, the exhibition season has reached its conclusion.
Thank goodness the NFL doesn’t play five such games.
The news cycle might’ve blown a fuse if Washington had another week to practice its dysfunction.
Over the course of six days, the team reversed course on the presumed starting quarterback’s health and elevated the presumed backup quarterback to the starting job. Just when we thought we couldn’t be shocked any further, the general manager’s wife drew unwanted national attention Wednesday for tweets that vilified her husband, Scot McCloughan, and ESPN reporter Dianna Russini, claiming that the former was leaking info to – and sleeping with – the latter.
“I deeply apologize for the disparaging remarks about an ESPN reporter on my personal Twitter account,” Jessica McCloughan said in a statement released by the team. “The comment was unfounded and inappropriate, and I have the utmost respect for both the reporter and ESPN.
“I regret that my actions have brought undeserved negative attention to the Redskins organization and its leadership. My comments in no way reflect the opinions or attitudes of the organization and I regret that my behavior has in any way negatively impacted the team and its loyal fan base.”
Just like that, the Ashburn circus erected another tent and added another ring, taking its off-field act to a whole new level of crazy. The regular season couldn’t come at a better time to distract us from the distractions, though Washington left tackle Trent Williams said the regular season never comes fast enough..
“Everybody’s always anxious to get through the preseason,” he said after sitting out the game with virtually every other starter. “That’s just how it is. I don’t think there’s anything added (this year). You can’t anticipate it ending any more than you do. I don’t pay attention to the other stuff; that’s for you guys to judge.”
He’ll pay attention if the latest buzz puts McCloughan on a downward slope. The GM is a proven professional when it comes to building a team, but he has struggled to manage his personal life. Excessive drinking was a previous issue and now problems at home (or, worse, in the workplace) could be brewing.
Second-year coach Jay Gruden just solved his Robert Griffin III problem, albeit clumsily, and now his new boss is at the center of a flare-up. Nonetheless, Gruden said this go-round was much smoother than his maiden voyage and should bear fruit when the season starts Sept. 13.
“I think we’ve done an excellent job getting our players ready to go,” Gruden said. “I feel like the players have been competing and they play hard. That’s what I like about our guys. We compete every day in practice and it carries over to the games. If we just continue with that approach of competing every single day, great things are going to happen for this franchise.”
No more practice games. No more inverted depth chart under center. No more (hopefully) tweets from the GM’s wife.
The Miami Dolphins are coming to town soon and no matter what happens over the next 17 weeks, at least it will count for something.
It would help if that’s all we’re talking about. The preseason wasn’t very encouraging in terms of keeping the focus on the field. If Washington wants to move ahead, it needs to leave the nonsense behind
Is it over yet?
Hopefully. Just don’t bet it.