By Kevin Ross II
After three weeks of NFL football, the Washington Redskins must deal with the harsh reality that they are a bottom-feeder team in the National Football League. But the truth of the matter is, even at bottom-feeder level they still have reason for optimism. The Redskins are fortunate enough to live in a division where seven or eight wins could take the throne. Right now they are tied with the 0-3 Giants, a game back from the 1-2 Eagles, and two games back from the 2-1 Cowboys who strike fear in the hearts of no one.
The statistics might say that Washington’s chances of making the playoffs are razor thin, but the statistics also counted them out last season. “We were in this situation last year, sitting at 3-6,” said Robert Griffin III. “We have to dig ourselves out of this hole. We’re the only ones that can do it; no one else is going to do it for us. And nothing that we say at these press conferences or any of that is going to change it. It’s decided on the field, in between the lines, and that’s what we’ve got to do.”
With 13 games to go, the vibe following the loss to Detroit was surprisingly upbeat at FedEx field today. “Like I told our team, I was proud of the way they fought,” said Coach Mike Shanahan. “We have to eliminate some of those mistakes in the football game. We had the opportunity to do it and get it done, but you can’t make those mistakes that we made and expect to win. We have to play cleaner and be more consistent. Like I said, we did have some great effort out there.”
The “great effort” that Coach Shanahan talked about had to be at least partly directed at Robert Griffin III whose play drastically improved against Detroit. Griffin once again threw for over 300 yards, as he became the first Redskins quarterback to throw for 300 yards in three consecutive games.
Griffin also displayed great accuracy and poise in the pocket. Those who question if he can play the role of a traditional pocket passer learned today that he can. He kept the chains moving as he completed 21 first down passes, a number that had not been reached by a Redskins quarterback since 2010.
Griffin’s play alone is a reason for optimism, and his knee seems to be getting strong enough to carry this team. For Griffin, his last bit of rust seems to be the turnovers that have uncharacteristically become a problem for him this season. Coach Shanahan, spoke about the turnovers that plagued his ball club, “You can’t turn the football over – you can’t do that, and we haven’t done that in the past. If you don’t have those mistakes you win football games.”
And that’s life in the NFL, where a turnover here or a turnover there decides the outcome of the game. For Washington, it’s time to clean up the mistakes and get a win in Oakland. The division is still there for the taking.
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Kevin Ross is a freelance writer covering all things Washington Redskins. His work can be found on Examiner.com.