Two weeks ago, if you had been told that Rex Grossman would be the most productive quarterback in the NFC East or that the Washington Redskins would also be the sole undefeated team in the division, you may have thought the person making the prediction was crazy. However, the Skins have emerged, from the second week of the season, as the sole possessor of that first place title in the division, leading other star football teams, but with a chance to do a lot more.
There seems to be a bit of disarray as you look around the NFC East division. Michael Vick’s concussion could raise some issues in Philadelphia, just as the rash of injuries across the Giants defense, which has left them far from the aggressive club they have been for so many years. The Cowboys are barely holding their arms onto their bodies, with nearly every impact player on their offense (most notably and once again, Tony Romo) either battling injuries or being nearly crippled by them already. In the midst of all of this, the Redskins have moved along seamlessly behind their unlikely star behind center.
It isn’t always pretty, but Grossman is getting the job done. After winning the quarterback job at the 11th hour over John Beck he has played like he still has a bench, instead of linebackers, chasing him with every snap. After a big opening with a 300 yard effort to drop the Giants in week one, he came back with a clutch performance in week 2, despite battling some demons that have haunted him for many years popping up briefly. After nearly sinking their own ship via multiple interceptions, he stood tall when it mattered most, turning a fourth down trap into a Santana Moss touchdown. Eventually, the team’s final drive was capped by a Graham Gano field goal, but Grossman’s gritty play made it all stay together for the club.
How far can they push it? The schedule is finally taking them away from FedEx Field and into Dallas and St. Louis over the next two weeks. However, those are two clubs that are currently reeling from some critical injuries. A tough return home to face the Eagles on October 16th will be the club’s biggest challenge to date. However, the horizon afterwards is very bright. It features a three week stretch against teams that averaged four wins combined a year ago (and a 3-5 mark this year), with trips to face off with the Carolina Panthers and Buffalo Bills, before returning home again to face the San Francisco 49ers. If that wasn’t enough, the Miami Dolphins and Seattle Seahawks wait after that, and neither have touched the win column yet this year.
The first eight weeks of the season look favorable for Washington and its enigmatic quarterback to make one of the most unexpected impacts of any team across the league. It will all come down to how they play against their division mates at the end of the year, but they could have enough distance from the pack by the time they play again, although it may not matter. The opportunity will be there, and for a team most people didn’t give a serious look to, the Redskins could be the one club that’s a risk of being upset atop the division, without even having to run through it twice.