With the Redskins coming off a humbling loss in Pittsburgh and in desperate need of a victory, there was a palpable sense of urgency Wednesday in Ashburn.
“We’ve had a chance to win some games that we haven’t,” Coach Mike Shanahan said. “So our backs are against the wall right now. We’ve got to find a way to win this game before our break. The only way we’re going to enjoy the week off is to win the game. Anything less than that, it won’t be enjoyable.”
After the Redskins (3-5) host Cam Newton and the Panthers(1-6), they don't play again until Nov. 18 against the Eagles.
Quarterback Robert Griffin III said practice was noticeably sharper -- for both units.
"I don't feel a greater pressure, but I know there is a sense of urgency," Griffin said. "I thought we had a good practice, both offense and defense. Guys just know, hey, we have to go out and get a win."
The rookie added: "Of course, everybody wants to go on a bye week, to get away and rest your mind and get ready for the second part of the season. But right now the biggest thing is making sure we come out with a win on Sunday."
Shanahan stopped short of calling it a must win, but acknowledged that a turnaround must begin at FedEx Field four days from now.
“You want to play your best football in November and December,” Shanahan said. “It’s a November game. Everybody talks about the ‘musts’ and all those types of things. Our backs are against the wall. So we’ll see how we step up and play. We know [the Panthers] are very, very disgusted as well. You’re going to find two football teams that are wanting to win.”
Asked if he’s worried his players may overlook the Panthers and ahead to the week off, Shanahan said: “Not where we we’re at.”