Washington Redskins

Have the Washington Redskins Quit on the Season?

LANDOVER, MD - DECEMBER 08:  Quarterback Robert Griffin III #10 of the Washington Redskins is sacked by Eric Berry #29 of the Kansas City Chiefs in the second quarter of an NFL game at FedExField on December 8, 2013 in Landover, Maryland.  (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
Patrick McDermott/Getty Images
Matt Bowen NFL National Lead WriterDecember 9, 2013

Have the Washington Redskins shut it down for the year?

That's the question we all have to ask after Washington’s embarrassing 45-10 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs Sunday at a half-empty FedEx Field.

This team looked disinterested and lacked pro-level execution on offense, defense and especially in the kicking game. There was a lack of focus on the poor technique, tackling and the same tired, worn-out offensive game plan.

That doesn’t win in the pros.

Come out flat in this league, or fail to play with the basic techniques that are taught back in minicamp, and you will get blasted.

This league is too hard, too talented to play a suspect brand of football and expect to see results on Sundays.

Are there bad losses in the NFL? Sure there are. And I’ve been a part of many as a player when the wheels fall off, the game plan stinks and you go home with a humbling defeat.

Hey, stuff happens. I get it. We all do.

Dec 8, 2013; Landover, MD, USA; Washington Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan  on the sidelines against the Kansas City Chiefs during the second half at FedEx Field. The Chiefs won 45 - 10. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports
Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

But this latest Redskins defeat is starting to look like a true reflection of the entire season in Washington. A season that should be viewed as a major disappointment. Or a major failure.

That includes Mike Shanahan, Robert Griffin III and even the guys who cover kicks for a paycheck.

The entire team should be held accountable, because everyone is in it together when a season goes south in the NFL. It’s not one player or one coach that screws it up and makes coming to work (after yet another loss) a miserable experience.

I’ve read the report on Shanahan's future from Bleacher Report's Mike Freeman and how we should expect the coach to go (soon). It's almost inevitable at this point with Mr. Snyder running the show in D.C. He wants to win and has no problem making a change if he deems it necessary.

And with that possibility, plus the 3-10 record, comes the idea that this team has shut it down for the year.

I was in this same situation in Washington under Steve Spurrier way back during the 2003 season. After a 3-1 start, the season imploded down the stretch.

That included a 27-0 loss at FedEx Field to the Cowboys in Week 15 where Dallas fans took over our stadium.

We knew Spurrier was on the way out and we played like it, too.

I don’t think we mailed it in physically. The game is too violent for that type of nonsense. And no one wants to blow out a knee because they are standing around on the field.

But did we check out mentally? Yeah, that’s a different story.

We made simple mistakes in the secondary that cost us points, we couldn’t move the ball on offense and our special teams were average at best.

Sound familiar?

The next week, we dropped a road game in Chicago and were whipped by Donovan McNabb and the Eagles to close out the season with a 5-11 record. 

Spurrier even tried to throw us a bone after the Cowboys game with a promise of drastically reduced practice time if we could beat the Bears in Week 16.

ATLANTA - SEPTEMBER 14:  Head coach Steve Spurrier of the Washington Redskins talks with quarterbacks Patrick Ramsey #11 and Rob Johnson #17 during a timeout against the Atlanta Falcons on September 14, 2003 at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Georgia. The Re
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

It didn’t work.

The focus wasn’t there. Nor was the attention to detail in our game prep those final three weeks of the season. Meetings and film work became a chore, the tempo of practice slowed and, well, we just played out the string.

That was the drill, really, and I was relieved when the season ended. I had no problem turning in my gear, my playbook and going through the exit meetings.

Move on. Get it over with. Forget about the season.

Shake hands. See ya next year.

Well, that next year brought Joe Gibbs, defensive coordinator Gregg Williams and an enormous amount of change in the locker room.

Is this current Washington team headed down the same path? It sure looks like it on the field, as I see the same lack of focus and detail when it plays.

But can we really say these players and coaches have “quit”?

Maybe that’s the easy narrative to follow right now, but I feel like I’m watching a team that simply is playing out the schedule before everything gets flipped upside down in D.C. this offseason.

And everyone in the building knows it's coming. 

 

Seven-year NFL veteran Matt Bowen is an NFL National Lead Writer for Bleacher Report. 

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