'Twas a few days before Christmas and what do we see? A Washington Redskins football team controlling it's own destiny.
A month ago, with a 3-6 record, who would have thought that this group (that was going under evaluation by the head coach) would not only be in position to get into the postseason, but host a playoff game. That is where they are. Win and they're in.
The eighth win of the year, the most since 2008, was a statement game for two of the coaches. I mentioned at the beginning of the year that I would not be looking at the players as much as I will be looking at the coordinators. I have criticized with good reason, but now it is time to praise. The game against Cleveland was probably the best-called game from start to finish for both Kyle Shanahan and Jim Haslett.
How offensive coordinator Shanahan spread things around in Kirk Cousins' first professional start is worthy of much praise and should be something that is commonplace, not a fluke. This is the seventh time this season the offense has reached the 30-point plateau. As far as Jim Haslett and the defense, The way they stymied the Cleveland running game (allowing only 58 yards) and turned the Browns over twice was fun to watch. That's now 26 interceptions for the season. Who knew? I'm sure more is to come with Eagles rookie Nick Foles up next and the Cowboys' Tony Romo to end the regular season.
Back in April, many people questioned head coach Mike Shanahan's decision to get a QB in the fourth round to back up Robert Griffin III. Here in December, not many are complaining that he did. Cousins was as good as advertised, but let's not get carried away. This is RGIII's team and moment to shine, and the most popular jersey in the NFL is the reason why this team is in this position.
This Redskins team reminds me a lot of the Nationals. Many saw they had talent, but the way that baseball team gelled was a pleasant surprise and came a year ahead of schedule. The same can be said with the burgundy and gold. A franchise QB, a valuable back-up, a pure NFC East-caliber running back, a clutch field goal kicker, a go-to wideout who is making the entire receiving corps better and a number of players hurt on defense that will finally give this area something to smile about.
I only have one concern now. Many of you who know me can guess what it is. This team has dodged a major bullet, having its offensive line intact the entire season. Now some injuries and a suspension have come up. If you ask me, this unit is in the discussion for co-team MVP. I just hope that they can survive two more regular-season games and a playoff run.
The next few days should be a lot of fun and the song is right: It's the most wonderful time of the year.