I am watching the Arizona game for the 3rd time and I am getting a familiar sense of mixed emotions. I only get these feelings when watching the offense. When I watch the defense I only feel one thing. A big raging...sense of pride. The D is awesome. I know it. You know it. Elderly women on remote islands in the Pacific know it. They don't know they know it but somehow they do. And maybe that is part of the reason for my mixed emotions when watching the offense. It is a weird sense. It is three parts excitement, five parts frustration, ten parts hope, and 1 part dread.
A brief glimpse into my head after the jump.
Let me start with the excitement. I love the way the offense looks. It has a familiar look to it. It looks like the WCO. It reminds me of the glory days. When Crabtree caught that 2-point conversion against the Giants I almost... lets just say I almost erupted with joy. That is everything an offense should be. It was creative, efficient, and well executed. Awesome. The first half of the Browns game made me feel that way in certain ways. I think Alex had completed passes to something like seven different receivers. That is WCO football. The second half of the Eagles game, was obviously exciting. The Tampa game was pure excitement. Parts and drives from almost every game. I also get excited when I think about all of the weapons. Frank Gore and Vernon Davis are already established. Kendall Hunter has shown flashes of greatness and has been really solid. Michael Crabtree just had a breakout game and I think he and Smith are really starting to click. Kyle Williams has a chance to really produce. Delanie Walker is solid and so versatile he really helps the O operate. Then there is Braylon Edwards who could be potentially the best one of all if things can come together for him. Then on top of all of that there is Ginn. He is just a little cherry on top. He doesn't make the sundae but sometime it can be just the perfect bite. And I am also excited because I think they are getting better.
Now lets go over the frustration. I don't think I need to list every reason I am frustrated I am sure some of you feel it as well. Part of the frustration is because the D, and SP are so great I want the O to contribute a fair share. Part of it is because of the excitement and all of those pieces I just mentioned yet the seemingly low level of output and the fact that those exciting moments are inconsistant and spread out. They only happen during parts of games or drives or halves. Overthrown balls, penalties, dropped passes, occasionally (what seems to be) mundane play calling. A pass just a little high or just a little out of reach or just not quite in stride. The team's inability to consistently produce on third down, so many FG's instead of TD's, all these things and more.
Yet, and there is a big yet, the emotion I feel the most is hope. Hope feeds off of the excitement AND the frustration. Hope because of the man on the sideline. Hope because I believe in the front office now and more good pieces are going to come. Hope because I see stability going forward. Hope because a good organization, team, and coach do one thing in my opinion...they get better over time. This offense has done that. At the beginning of the year the line couldn't block or avoid penalties. Now they are a strength for this team. I feel hope because at one point this season it seemed like Alex thought Crabtree was 13 feet tall. But now he catches some great passes over the middle right in stride. Hope because that is all we had at the beginning of the year when the offense was really struggling. Hope because players kept telling us that this is only the beginning and they have only just touched on what the playbook actually contains. Hope because of the past and how it ties into the future. Hope because for so many years that is all we had. And mostly I feel hope because all of those things that are frustrating can be fixed and seem to be getting better. Hope that those passes just off the fingertips become catches. Hope that those toes that didn't come down inbounds start to. Hope that the team is ready to execute all of those plays in the playbook when the time comes that they need them. Hope because the players have bought in, they care, and they want to get better. Hope that eventually they will get better.
Dread, because I worry they can't.