By Jason La Canfora
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, October 11, 2006
Fullback Mike Sellers was fuming after Washington's 19-3 loss Sunday at New York, stalking around the locker room, animated and agitated and not in the mood to talk. He had badly wanted to be on the field during a critical third-and-one play in the second half, but was watching from the sideline as a pass was called -- and fell incomplete.
With the Redskins driving in New York territory, trailing by 13 and needing a yard for a first down, Sellers, who is having a stellar season as a lead blocker, was off the field for the pass play. On fourth and one, with Washington in need of a spark to get back in the game, Coach Joe Gibbs opted to try a 42-yard field goal, and John Hall sent it wide.
"It's very frustrating when you stand there watching," Sellers said. "It's frustrating to be on the bench when you want to be out there when certain people take you out of certain formations. I'm just one of those guys who wants to get on the field as much as possible, and whenever possible, and it just didn't seem to work out for us. So it was frustrating, that's all."
Sellers said that regardless of the play called, the result rests with the players in third-and-short situations. "A lot of guys question a lot of stuff, but when it came down to it, us as players just didn't get it done," he said. "And as the coaches point out, that [third and one] is something that should be guaranteed we get."
Dwelling on that failure could be costly, Sellers believes, as the team prepares for this weekend's opponent, the winless Tennessee Titans. He said the Redskins were perhaps too high after their Oct. 1 overtime victory against the Jacksonville Jaguars heading into the Giants game.
"It's the past, and you've got to let it go and go on to the next week," Sellers said. "If you drag the previous week into it like we did in New York, thinking we're going to be all that, then you get your butt whipped."Leaning to the Right
The Giants thrived again Sunday by doing the same thing they did a year ago at the Meadowlands -- attacking the right side of Washington's defense. New York gouged away at that side in a 36-0 win in 2005, and tailback Tiki Barber found big chunks of yardage outside the hash marks there again last weekend, rushing 23 times for 123 yards, often making end Andre Carter and linebacker Warrick Holdman miss.
"Obviously, that's how they feel they can be successful against us," reserve lineman Demetric Evans said. "They had a couple of runs outside the numbers."
Left end Phillip Daniels said: "They ran right into our right side. I don't really understand that, but maybe they saw something. I don't know."
That side struggled much of last season and opposing teams might choose to continue the trend in coming weeks.A Need for Consistency
The Redskins will play the 40th game of the second Gibbs era on Sunday -- including the playoffs -- and stand at 19-20. Six of those wins came during the team's winning streak in December and January of last season, the only momentum the team has shown since this staff took over in 2004.
For all of the big salaries and talent among the players and coaches, the Redskins have been inconsistent much of this coaching staff's time, playing well only when their backs seem to be against the wall.
"That's kind of been the story here since I've been here -- not being consistent and coming out every week with the same kind of intensity," said tailback Ladell Betts, a 2002 draft pick. "It's tough to put your finger on how that happens or why it happens. It's just something that is right now, and we have to try to change it."