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Keeler: Painful truth is obvious in NFL

Tommy Keeler

By Tommy Keeler Jr.

This may be the most painful column I've ever had to write.

I've been a Dallas Cowboys fan since I was around 7. I was a Washington Redskins fan before that (I was young and naive). Sick of seeing the Washington Redskins lose, especially to the Cowboys, I made the decision to become a Cowboys fan. Ever since then, one of my favorite passions in sports has been to root against and hate the Redskins.

Don't get me wrong -- I still hate the Redskins, but I suddenly find myself enjoying watching them play (I can't believe I just typed those words).

They have the No. 1 running offense and they are sixth in the NFL in scoring, averaging 26.4 points per game. I know defense wins championships, but like most people I like offense. I want action, and the Redskins provide that.

A big reason for the excitement in D.C. is Robert Griffin III. I wasn't a fan of RG3's even when he was at Baylor. Everybody scores and has success on offense in the no-defense Big 12, so I didn't believe the hype when the Redskins took him with the second pick in the NFL Draft.

Even when he had his great start to the season, I wasn't buying into it. There were people calling him the savior, and claiming that the Washington Wizards beat the Miami Heat only because he was at the game. If that's the case, Tom Brady needs to go to more Boston Celtics games.

I still think he's over-hyped, however over the last few weeks I've changed my mind about RG3. The reality is the Redskins are as good as they are because of him. His ability to make plays with his legs and his arm is what makes him special. And again, he's simply fun to watch.

This isn't the first time the Redskins have been successful. Certainly, there's been a few rough years for me and other Cowboys fans. I was not a fan of Joe Gibbs, and his ability to win as a coach. The Redskins had some very good teams in the 1980s and early 1990s. At least the Cowboys were still strong in the early 80's -- the late 80's were a different story. That was clearly rock bottom for any Cowboys' fan. That 1-15 season will not be forgotten, although of course the one win came against the Redskins (almost like winning another Super Bowl).

The Cowboys, of course, became dominant in the mid-90's, and have managed to at least be respectable most of the years since then. The Redskins, on the other hand, have been just plain awful for a good part of the last 15 years.

Life as a Cowboys fan has been great, and I thought it would continue this season as well. I didn't think there was any way RG3 would turn things around for this woeful franchise. There's no way an aging Mike Shanahan would get this team on track, especially after a 3-6 start.

I thought wrong. I think the team is finally coming together, and RG3 is getting better and better.

The Redskins have now won four games in a row, including beating the Cowboys, and are one of the hottest teams in the NFL right now.

With RG3's injury, there's no telling what might happen over the next three weeks, but the future for the Redskins look bright. Rookie running back Alfred Morris is almost like a mini-John Riggins and could have a solid future in the NFL. The Redskins' receivers aren't great, but they can make some plays when they have to.

Washington's defense is 31st (that's next to last) in passing yards, although they are seventh against the run. Luckily for the Redskins, they've been able to outscore teams over the last few weeks.

There's certainly some pieces to the puzzle the team needs to add in the offseason, but when you have a quarterback like RG3 that's a huge piece that's already in place.

Of course, keeping RG3 healthy is the biggest key of all to the Redskins' success in the coming years. With his playing style, I'm not sure he will be around for the long term. I would still rather have an Andrew Luck on my team, or of course a Tom Brady or an Eli Manning. If the Cowboys had one of those guys, maybe we would stop being a .500 team.

If RG3 can stay healthy and continue to get better, the Redskins will have solid teams for years to come, and that's not good news for myself and the rest of Cowboys Nation.

On the bright side, if I to suffer through seeing the Redskins win some games, at least they'll be fun to watch.

Contact Assistant Sports Editor Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 155, or tkeeler@nvdaily.com


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