Okay, fine, so we don’t have the most photogenic quarterback, or one who inspires excitement or confidence when he steps on the field — his modest stats are hampered by a trail of asterisks — and perhaps the biggest upside we can hope for is that he’ll be Alex Smith-ish once the team being assembled around him grows up (1/3rd of our roster is made up of rookies, and we’ve had something like a 60% turnover from last year) and heals (pretty much every member of our already questionable offensive line has gone down with at least one injury) and settles down.
But we won A GAME. A maddening game, sure, one of the worst officiated spectacles I’ve ever seen (this, a week after a timekeeping error helped us lose), full of things to be embarrassed and angry about on both sides of the ball. But when your team has only won ten games over the last three years, and only a single game in September going back four, and hasn’t had a winning season for almost a decade, and has been unable to put points on the board (and this week, we scored two legit TDs that went unrecognized by the officials, and were weirdly unchallenged by our coach), you learn to savor every point and every win.
This particular win was important, strategically. At the draft we solidified our rebuilding plan by handing Washington their charismatic, exciting, confident QB, and beating his team should muffle the whiners for a week. And because we get Washington’s first-round draft pick next year, every game they eat helps raise that pick’s value.
But mostly it was just important to win, this early, to show all these kids they can. As much as our new coaching staff has focused on toughness and preparation, using grit and approach to mask inexperience and instability, it’s clear that one goal was to purge the culture of losing that had made every stretch of turf on which this team set foot a glue trap. There may be little chance at a winning season, and we’re going to get clobbered a bunch down the line, but maybe this team can avoid being just another bunch of guys who learn to lose and stay satisfied with the effort.