Redskins return to work with ‘sense of urgency’

Defensive coordinator Jim Haslett and his unit must prepare for a Cowboys offense that scored racked up 48 points and more than 500 yards on Sunday. (John McDonnell/The Washington Post) Defensive coordinator Jim Haslett and his unit must prepare for a Cowboys offense that scored racked up 48 points and more than 500 yards on Sunday. (John McDonnell/The Washington Post)

The Washington Redskins on Monday returned to the practice field following their bye week and began laying the foundation for the game plan for their matchup with the Dallas Cowboys, whom they face on Sunday in Texas.

Despite the fact that the Redskins opened the year with a three-game losing streak before last week’s win over the Oakland Raiders, hope remains alive.

Because of struggles across the NFC East, Washington finds itself only a half-game back for the Division lead. Dallas and Philadelphia both are 2-3 and lead the division. The New York Giants are last at 0-5.

“It’s real crazy,” cornerback DeAngelo Hall said of his team’s fortunes despite the poor record. “In this league – and we were talking about it last year – but in this league, you don’t get a lot of opportunities, so for us to be blessed with that opportunity to not have played good football at all, but to still have a chance to be talking about winning our division or being a half a game, or a game out of it, we’ve got a lot to play for and a chance to seize opportunities Sunday night, so we have to go out there and play good football.”

Redskins coach Mike Shanahan didn’t speak to reporters Monday, but wide receiver Santana Moss said, “everybody was flying around” during the practice session, and defensive end Stephen Bowen added, “There’s a sense of urgency. We still have a fighting chance.”

Players say Shanahan had a simple message for them as he addressed the team for the first time in five days.

“He just told us, he hoped we enjoyed our time away, and now it’s time to get back to work again,” tight end Jordan Reed said.

Moss said long, motivational speeches aren’t necessary, and that the Redskins can’t afford to look back, or look ahead. The Redskins all understand that they have little room for error on this 12-game stretch ahead of them. But the key for now, Moss said, is focusing solely on this week’s game.

“They know what time it is, they know what’s at stake. It’s about, just keep working, man,” Moss said. “People get caught up into records and wins and losses. We could’ve went into the break at 4-0 and if we don’t handle this week, then that [start] doesn’t even matter. Like I said, you just have to look at that week, and that day, because that’s the only thing that matters. And 1-3 doesn’t even matter because we have a chance this week to get a win, and then we can do that every week, and that’s how you make it happen. You can’t look at what’s done, or what’s to come because you have to handle your business right now.”

Have a Redskins question? E-mail Mike Jones at with the subject line “Mailbag question” for him to answer it in The Mailbag on Tuesday.

What’s ahead:

● Mike Jones’s mailbag, Mark Maske’s top 10 ranking and an Outsider post on Tuesday.

More on the Redskins and NFL:

Forbath ‘feels good’ | Paulsen, Reed and Morris each practice Monday

At a crossroads under Shanahan: Will the real Redskins please stand up?

NFL officials to meet with Oneida Nation; owners won’t urge franchise name change

Redskins might get NFL funds for $27 million renovation of FedEx Field

D.C. Sports Bog: John Madden visits Redskins food truck | More Bog

The Early Lead: NFL benches pink flags | Vick out vs. Bucs? | More

Follow: @MikeJonesWaPo | @MarkMaske | @Insider | Insider on Facebook

Mike Jones covers the Washington Redskins for The Washington Post. When not writing about a Redskins development of some kind – which is rare – he can be found screaming and cheering at one of his kids’ softball, baseball, soccer or basketball games.



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Mike Jones · October 7, 2013