A win is a win is a win

August 06, 2002|by AL DITZEL

So, how many of you watched Saturday's American Bowl?

The Washington Redskins looked mighty impressive while plastering the San Francisco 49ers, 38-7. Danny Wuerffel was 16 of 25 for 269 yards and three touchdowns. Sage Rosenfels was 10 of 20 for 172 yards and two touchdowns. And Shane Matthews, who didn't play, is expected to compete for the starting quarterback spot.

How about those receivers? Derrius Thompson had three catches for 105 yards and two touchdowns, including a 65-yard TD and a 31-yard score on a fourth-and-1 call. Darnerien McCants, all he did was catch four for 86 yards and two touchdowns. Chris Doering added four catches for 66 yards. Hey, aren't Rod Gardner, Jacquez Green and Reidel Anthony considered the best of the receiving corps?

All told, the Redskins were 26-for-45 for 434 yards and five touchdowns. No, I'm no Washington Redskins fan, but I was impressed.


Shouldn't Redskins fans everywhere be jumping up with glee? Isn't this just the first blowout victory in a long line of blowout victories with Steve Superior at the helm? Make room for more Vince Lombardi trophies!

"Oh wait," a friend said. "Don't you think Spurrier showed too much? It's preseason. It's the first preseason game!"

Yes, it was the first preseason game. Yes, Washington threw the ball like Spurrier loves to do, like he did at Duke, Florida and even with the USFL's Tampa Bay Bandits. Yes, the defense stopped a highly regarded San Francisco offense. The Redskins allowed only 186 total yards from scrimmage and sacked the quarterback seven times for 44 yards.

All these things are true. But, is it ever too soon for optimism?

Way back in 1970, living in Virginia, the Redskins were the "home" team. Washington's football team was a laughingstock. Only a few players - Sonny Jurgensen, Larry Brown, Charley Taylor and Jerry Smith were even known. A dismal 6-8 season left little hope for 1971.

Then, came George Allen, who was inducted posthumously this past weekend into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Allen brought in the Over-the-Hill gang, defensive players he'd coached in Los Angeles, where the Rams used to reside.

With the cry "the future is now," Allen emphasized the preseason. He made sure his teams were well aware that playing hard was important. Sure, it didn't count in the standings, but it got the Washington Redskins used to winning.

Winning football games on the professional level is important any time, whether it's the first preseason game of the year or a playing-it-out 16th game or, of course, any playoff game.

Sure, Spurrier showed quite a bit this past Saturday.

He showed that he is emphasizing winning.

No, I'm no Washington Redskins fan. But, winning starts early, even if it's a late-night Saturday-Sunday-in-Japan preseason game.

Al Ditzel is a staff writer for The Morning Herald. His column appears every other Tuesday. He can be reached at 301-733-5131 ext. 7520 or by e-mail at

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