As ineffective as the Redskins have been, they’ve at least tried hard. If the Redskins check out on the season, you’ll see opposing ball carriers gain chunks of yardage as defensive players simply stand around waiting for the game to end. On offense, wideouts and backs will step out of bounds instead of fighting for extra yards.
The drop-off in effort will be obvious, “but that’s not really something I ever worry about here,” said linebacker London Fletcher, in his 15th season in the NFL and sixth with the Redskins. “Guys have a lot of professional pride, so I just can’t see that happening. And if we ever saw any of that, we have guys in here [the locker room] who would put a stop to it.”
Fletcher is one. Robert Griffin III is another. In his first nine games, the rookie quarterback proved there’s absolutely no quit in him.
Griffin engineered a fourth-quarter drive that put the Redskins in position to kick a game-winning field goal against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He sealed the Redskins’ victory over the Minnesota Vikings with a thrilling, 76-yard touchdown sprint in the game’s final minute. And a Griffin-led rally against the Giants fell short because Washington’s defensive backs give up even more big plays than Griffin makes.
With Griffin on the field, the Redskins always have a slight chance. To improve their odds, they’ll have to give him more help.
On defense, it could come from the return of safety Brandon Meriweather. Out all season with a knee injury, Meriweather has practiced this week and hopes to play against the Eagles. He figures to be rusty whenever he rejoins the lineup. Still, he couldn’t be any worse in coverage than Madieu Williams.
The Redskins also need many of the players at the top of their depth chart to start playing like they want to stay there.
If outside linebacker Ryan Kerrigan has been waiting to unveil some new pass-rush moves, this is the time. Acrobatic catches from wideout Josh Morgan would be welcomed. The Redskins don’t have a moment to waste.
You’re judged by the company you keep, and the Redskins play in a weak division. But it’s not too late for them to be the best-looking team in this flawed bunch.