Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, October 13, five days before the Washington Redskins play the New York Jets.
An opportunity lost
The Redskins’ loss to the Falcons represented something beyond another mark in the “L” column in the standings. It was a lost opportunity.
This team is trying to flip the script and change its reputation. They want to go from being soft to being tough, from chokers to clutch performers, from a group of inconsistent performers to a machine, from road kill to road warriors. And, most important, from losers to winners.
The Redskins had a chance to take a step in in the right direction in all of those negative areas against the Falcons. They came close. They were tough and came through in some key situations. The Redskins had their chances to knock off an undefeated team on the road.
But the opportunity was lost. Instead of being played over and over again in top 10 highlights, Bashaud Breeland’s fourth-quarter interception and deft 28-yard return to set up what could have been the clinching points, the play is a mere footnote. The drive in the final 24 seconds of the game to set up Dustin Hopkins’ tying field goal from 52 yards out could have been the stuff of legend. Instead, any recounting of the drive will be followed by, “yeah, but . . .”
The good thing about the NFL in October is that there always are more chances coming. The Redskins have another on coming on Sunday in the Meadowlands. They face a 3-1 Jets team coming off of the bye. They aren’t perceived to be quite in the class with the Falcons but they almost certainly will be a popular pick giving anywhere from four to seven points to the Redskins.
But even if they manage to spring the upset, there still will be questions about consistency. The Redskins have alternated losses and wins so far in their first five games. Even slightly better than mediocre teams put together a winning streak every now and then. Since winning seven in a row to finish off the 2012 season in style, the longest winning streak the Redskins have put together is two, and they've done that just once. That is it in terms of winning streaks, even if you want to call it that. And with a trip to Foxboro to play the Patriots coming up after the games against the Jets and Bucs (and the bye), the prospects for winning more than two in a row starting here are pretty dim.
You never know how things are going to go. The glass half full scenario is that they are improved over last year when the adversity could have crushed them, and that they are moving in the right direction. At some point that will show up in the win column.
But it doesn’t always work out that way. Sometimes a team just can’t get over the hump and continues to lose winnable games. Nobody can say for sure where the Redskins are headed.
They say that a good team is one that can play at less than its best and still win. I don’t know how you would describe a team that can’t do the two main things it was built to do (run the ball and stop the run), has an erratic day from its quarterback, gives up a go-ahead touchdown with 24 seconds left to play and still almost pulls out a road win over a 4-0 team.
I guess we'll just call them the 2015 Redskins and see how it all turns out.
—Today’s schedule: Player meetings, no media availability
—Days until: Redskins @ Jets 5; Bucs @ Redskins 12; Redskins @ Patriots 26
In case you missed it
- Another reason for hope
- Gruden: Falcons’ game-winning pick six ‘an unfortunate play’
- Report: Former Redskins coach Steve Spurrier will retire
- Jay Gruden calls fourth-quarter play call 'awful'
- Gruden on why the Redskins' rushing attack has been ineffective
- Another cornerback joins the Redskins' injury list
- Williams illustrates toughness that the Redskins are looking for
- Putting Gruden's coaching decisions under the microscope
- Since earning 'MoJo' moniker, Morris and Jones have been quiet
- Takeaways finally come for the Redskins