Not too shabby

Nov. 29, 2001, midnight | By Ben Meiselman | 19 years, 1 month ago

D.C. football heats up

How about those Redskins! What fickle fans we are. Six weeks ago we were ready to tar and feather Marty, but now I'm hearing praise of how quickly his methods have translated into wins. In any case, this will be a year to remember football around D.C.

While Schottenheimer felt the hate of the nation's capital for five weeks, University of Maryland Coach Ralph Freidgen was been shown nothing but love. He turned the flagrantly mediocre Terrapins into a top ten team, though a weak schedule led the Bowl Championship Series rankings to claim otherwise.

The Terps were strong all season, but the Redskins may yet make up for their embarassing start. They have improved their third-down conversion rate from 22 percent during the five losses to 41 percent over the five wins. They are netting an average of 142 yards more per game, and their
average possession time has gone from 23:01 to 33:50.

Washington's turnaround has been impressive, but these numbers merely indicate success. They don't explain it. Such a complete change seemingly defies the laws of football. But the truth is that they make sense in the context of the small changes that occurred that fateful week at Carolina.

LaVar Arrington came back from an injury and the Redskins finally decided to focus on their running game and make use of Stephen Davis, which they should have been doing from the beginning. Rushing inherently has a higher completion rate than passing, Washington quarterbacks are nothing special, and Davis has always been incredible. His numbers only lag when he isn't given the ball.

Arrington on the other hand gets the ball or pummels it's carrier whether the opponent wants him to or not. He's a Washington sports legend in the making. Eagles' quarterback Donovan McNabb is notorious for his rushing game, but was held to six yards against Washington. Arrington covered him.

And for all the excitement caused by the Redskins reaching .500, Blair still ended its season with a better record than the Redskins have right now. Led by seniors Junior Jabbie and James McCrae, the Blazers set out to "just win" and did. Next year is promising as well, with current juniors Felix Ruiz and Max Pollock on the rise.

So which is the greatest accomplishment: constructing a winning season after three years with a combined record of 2-25, going 10-1 thanks to ESPN's Coach of the Year en route to a bowl appearance, or following up five straight losses to indecent teams with five straight victories over formidable opponents?

It's hard to say. The Redskins' and Terrapins' finales have yet to be seen, but at least we know that Blair won't be intentionally scheduled for other schools' Homecomings anymore.

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Ben Meiselman. Ben Meiselman is a senior in the Communication Arts Program at Montgomery Blair High School in Silver Spring, Maryland. He enjoys playing sports, especially baseball. Ben is seventeen years old, born May 16, 1985. He has played the trumpet since fourth grade when he began … More »

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