Not gonna make the playoffs...which sucks. Gonna have to swallow the Rams loss, and the Bungles loss...which sucks. And let's not forget that the other team in MD also has a first-year coach, with a rookie QB, and they are still in the thick of the playoff hunt...which sucks, though the Ravens' defense is good enough to carry a team into the postseason. I got carried away with our great start. I allowed my hopes to skyrocket. But...
Since when was this our year to win it all? Starting 6-2 makes missing the playoffs a hell of a kick to the groin, but let's face it--the only difference between the first half of the season and the second half was turnovers, for the most part. I mean, we got worse at run blocking by the minute. But for some miraclulous reason, we didn't turn the ball over during that opening stretch and it was the difference between winning and losing. Did anyone think we would not turn it over all year? Our offense was never explosive, and we never dominated anyone on the scoreboard.
The perfect analogy for our season might very well be any one of a handful of the balls that fell through our defense's hands at various points of the season. From the opener against the G-men, to yesterday's miserable loss, we have had our chances to take control of games with key INT's. I am not blaming the defense for our record--not only have they been a strength for our team, the kinds of misses they had happens to all defenses (except the Ravens, Steelers, etc.) At 6-2, we had a shot. It was in our hands. And we dropped it.
It really bothers me to hear people calling for Zorn's job or to cut ties with JC, or Portis, or all of the above. I just don't get it. Aren't we in Year 1 of the process of putting something together that won't be fleeting? From Steve Young, to Mike Holmgren, to Matt Hasselbeck, to Steve Mariucci, etc, etc...everyone has been saying since we hired Zorn that it would take more than one year to install the new offensive philosophy. Sure we all thought we were coming of age this year. But the reality is we weren't. We have a lot of young players who are in the process of figuring things out. We have holes on the offensive and defensive lines. We have players learning a new offensive philosophy.
Oh, and for anyone out there who thinks Zorn "lost the locker room", I think that is a ridiculous, even asinine notion. Part of becoming a good franchise means that inmates don't run the asylum. Portis, like many elite players is afforded a longer leash than most other players (for better or worse...probably worse.) What I saw yesterday was players get beat by other players. That happens every week. Our veterans need to stand up and recognize they got beat. Our coaches did not block poorly, or drop INT's, or fumble on the goal line. Zorn could give in a little too and be a little more Belichick-esque, but he is doing nothing wrong if he doesn't coddle divas. If we weed out a few malcontents during this rough patch, that goes a long way towards teaching our young players what is and what isn't acceptable.
Given our history of dysfuntion under Snyder, it is easy to see how fans in this town have been conditioned to react harshly and somewhat absurdly to adversity. This organization needs to prove through example that it is ready to show its fans a new way of doing business. That includes sticking to Zorn, Campbell, and unfortunately Cerrato for at least the next season if not two more seasons. The next draft will be a key moment for Cerrato to prove that he is not blind to our woes along the lines of scrimmage (so far, not so good in this department.)