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Although the Redskins won't be going to the playoffs, Coach Mike Shanahan said this week that his team still has plenty to play for over the final four contests.
Every player on the 53-man roster will continue to be evaluated on a daily basis, he said, and the staff won't tolerate a lack of focus or effort, whether it's a walkthrough or a game. Shanahan also said he hopes the locker room embraces its new role: spoiler.
“I’ve got a lot of confidence in this football team that they’ll keep fighting,” Shanahan said. “If not, then they won’t be with us in a year.”
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Sunday’s loss to the Giants mathematically eliminated the Redskins (3-9) from postseason contention just a year after they claimed the NFC East title. But they can still play a prominent role as the playoff picture comes into focus.
This Sunday’s opponent, the Chiefs, are 9-3 and currently occupy the fifth playoff position in the AFC. After playing at 3-9 Atlanta, the Redskins host the Cowboys before closing out the season at the Giants. Dallas and Philadelphia are currently tied atop the NFC East at 7-5, while the 5-7 Giants' postseason hopes are on life support.
“You’re very disappointed when you’re out of the playoffs,” Shanahan said. “You play to get into the playoffs like we’ve been talking about from day one. But after it’s over, you go out there and play and the way you prepare, you play just as though you are in the playoffs.”
He added: “You want to spoil somebody else’s year. You want to play at a high level. You’re always being evaluated for the future. That never changes.”