By Kevin Ross II
The Washington Redskins 2013 season will finally come to an end this Sunday at MetLife Stadium against the 6-9 New York Giants. The burgundy and gold who sit at 3-12, will seek their first division win of the season, and they also will seek to end their miserable seven-game slide.
Things won’t come easy for Washington, as they typically struggle on the road against New York. And the Giants will enter the competition with a small dose of momentum following their 23-20 overtime win against the Detroit Lions. New York’s win over the Lions not only silenced Detroit’s playoff aspirations, but it also silenced the naysayers who claimed that Tom Coughlin had lost his player’s attention.
Going into Detroit, the talk in New York City focused on the Giants potentially folding with nothing to play for but New York stood tall against that notion. And this week the players are looking to again show that they have everything to play for as Washington comes to town.
The Giants follow the lead of their head coach, Tom Coughlin, who scoffs at the idea of “playing for nothing” and had a few choice words for the media in Monday’s conference call:
“It’s almost like the media has a series of questions ready to go and as soon as you’re out of contention for that playoff spot, the questions turn to how you have to motivate your team? How are you going to inspire your team? What does your team have to play for?” Coughlin said.
“The point that I make is that you have everything to play for. You’re being heavily scrutinized by the powers that be within your own organization. The coaches want to know what you’re made out of. The former players, I talked to Antonio Pierce and Jesse Armstead and the experiences they had and the way in which you can tell when a teammate is really zoomed in and maintains that intensity about his current season and his current standings versus drifting off and losing focus.”
He added, “For me, it’s a matter of pride, it’s a matter of who you represent, it’s a matter of your teammates depending on you, it’s a matter of your character and who you are. You’re making a strong statement about who you are, whether you’re a fighter or a competitor, how you’re going to be influenced.”
Such a stern message by Coughlin was obviously the fuel that drove the Giants to dig deep in their overtime win over Detroit. Washington will have to match New York’s intensity as the G-men seek to end the season on a winning streak. For Washington the key to the game will involve winning the turnover battle. And for New York they will seek to mute Alfred Morris and force second year quarterback Kirk Cousins to go out and win the game.
In New York, the message is clear from top to bottom, there will not be any quitting if you represent the Giants, just ask offensive tackle Justin Pugh who told the media, “I mean, it’s still a job at the end of the day. You have to go out there and fight with your teammates and fight for the fans. There’s no quit in these guys, I think that would just be a negative thing, to say that we quit or we gave up on the season. That’s not something you want going into this offseason and trying to build off of. So I don’t think there’s ever been quit in this team or anyone’s ever giving up. Coach [Tom] Coughlin’s real big on that, so I think we’ve done a good job of going out there and fighting week in and week out and we’re just going to continue to do that.”
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Kevin Ross is a freelance writer covering all things Washington Redskins. His work can be found on Examiner.com.