The congressional lame duck session has become a biannual rite in Washington as lawmakers try to see what they can do after the election.
Unfortunately, lame duck time has become an annual even for the Washington Redskins.
After taking their eighth loss of the season, the Redskins can’t attain their first winning season since 2007. Any faint hopes they might have had of running to table and stealing a playoff spot are gone. The might not be mathematically eliminated after the day’s games are over but not even the players seem to think there is a chance of playing past the Jan. 1 season finale.
So what we have are four games that have no bearing on the standings, but that does not mean that they are meaningless.
“We are trying to build a team here,” said safety Reed Dougty, a member of that 2007 team that won its last four games to finish 9-7 and sneak into the playoffs as a wild card. “Obviously playoffs are not in the picture this year, but next year, we need to see the young guys step up and we need the old guys to really take leadership.”
This is the second straight year that Mike Shanahan’s Redskins will go into the final quarter of the season with nothing to play for. They were 5-7 at this point last season and they dropped three of their last four. Rex Grossman started the final three after Shanahan decided that Donovan McNabb would not be in the team’s plans for the future and benched him.
There is unlikely to be such drama this year. It appears that Grossman, for better or for worse—and we saw both against the Jets today—will be the quarterback for the last three games. John Beck got his three games earlier this season and he does not appear to have what it takes to be an NFL quarterback. The Redskins are stuck with the inconsistent Grossman, who is 31 and will be a free agent at the end of the year.
The question that has been asked and will be asked more and more is why the Redskins did not draft a quarterback last April. This would be the perfect time to give that player—whether he was a first-round pick, a middle rounder, or a late-round project—some playing time and seasoning. Even though they might not be playing their future starter maybe they could have been grooming a solid, young backup.
The Redskins do have a few younger players to work into the lineup. They could give DeJon Gomes some more playing time at safety. It would be good to see wide receiver Niles Paul get a few more catches. And more playing time will help current starters like Roy Helu and Perry Riley play better in 2012.
Things could get hard to watch with offensive stalwarts Trent Williams and Fred Davis suspended. But they’ll play the games and we’ll be here to talk about them.