Welcome to another installment of our ongoing series, Better Know a Football Team.

Epiphanies are mysterious things. They are moments of clarity that result in paradigm-shifting realizations, and that’s some pretty heavy shit. But you don’t have to be named Stephen Dadelus to have one, nor are they always accompanied by sunsets and choirs of angels. Nope, a person can have an epiphany while they are sitting on their ass watching TV. Take me (please, ladies. Take. Me. Anywhere.) This weekend I was on my couch, firmly ensconced in faux velvet, when the following occurred to me:

1 – That poster on my wall may be the reason I’m single
2 – No way those pills actually work . . . although that guy does look awfully confident.
3 – My job is my credit
4 – I don’t actually dislike the Redskins

Now, that last one shocked me. I went to college in a REDskin state and, for a guy from New York who didn’t like the Skins, being amongst their fans in the 1990′s was a glorious carnival of schadenfreude. Norv Turner. Gus Frerotte’s headbutt. The inevitable late season losses to the Cardinals. Those were the salad days.

But times change, grasshoppers. MNF is on ESPN instead of ABC, MTV doesn’t play music anymore, and Al Roker is skinny. In short, it ain’t the 90′s anymore. It’s the 21st century and not only do the Skins look like they are on the verge of stopping traffic in suburban Virginia and Maryland so people in khaki pants can get out of their Volvos and sing Hail To The Redskins, there are things I actually like about them. Here are three:

1 – Joe Gibbs –In the movie about the old coach who returns to a league that may passed him by, Gibbs’ character last season went from Hume Cronyn to Wilford Brimley. And in a league where assistant coaches have become increasingly visible (and therefore more important? Not sure which came first), he’s got two pretty good ones.

2 – Clinton Portis – On the field, we all know the guy can play. But it is off the field where Clinton stole our hearts.
be will ban them by the start of the season. In fact, Joe
Buck is already sorry they ever took place and thinks we are all worse off for having seen them.

3 – Dan Snyder – Short, rich, and apoplectic. He’s Kim Jong Il but without the nuclear capabilities.

Even if this wasn’t enough for me to tune in this season, the fact is that this was a very good team last season that got better during the off-season. Despite a disappointing playoff loss which these guys did not take well, the Skins should be able to continue playing like they did during a an impressive run in the 2nd half of last season in which they seemed to gel as a team. They’ve got Portis, they’ve got Santana Moss, and now they have Antwaan Randle El. And despite the loss of amateur reality game show host LaVar Arrington, Gregg Williams’ defense still is going to be fine, with veterans like Marcus Washington and rookies like Rocky McIntosh and Anthony Montgomery.

If there is a question mark for the Skins, it is at QB, where Mark Brunell will continue his quest to prove he is not Patrick Ramsey, and where Jason Campbell will hold a clipboard better than a lot of other guys could. (But hey, if the Washington D.C. football team is looking for a quarterback to step in and save the day, I think I know the guy.) Despite the QB situation, though, the Skins seem to have fewer question marks than most NFC East teams – the Skins could run away with the division -T.O. could be T.O. and help destroy the Cowboys from the inside (and kill Parcells in the process), Eli could decide he’s not ready yet, and McNabb could just implode (especially after a week one loss to Houston. Do not doubt me on that one). Or they could all have excellent seasons and the division race becomes a tight one. Either way, the Skins are probably a good bet to get out of their division.

So those are your 2006 Redskins: talented, and not entirely unlikable. I had asked Julie and Travis, close friends of mine and the two biggest Skins fans I know, to offer their predictions for the 2006 season. One is in the process of rebuilding South America. The other has probably hit on you at The Angry Inch. Both have enough dirt on me to keep me from ever running for public office. Anyway, neither got back to me in time with a response (we run a pretty tight ship here at KSK). So instead, a friendly reminder that right about the time the Skins wrap up a playoff spot would be a great time look into financing that new automobile, and when you do there’s really only one place to go: