Brunell Says Sunday Is a 'Must-Win' Game
Thursday, October 19, 2006
In a departure from his season-long belief that the Redskins had not yet reached their desperate hours, quarterback Mark Brunell yesterday said the team is at the same point as around Thanksgiving of last year, when they needed to win out or forget about the playoffs.
Though the Redskins are traveling to face Indianapolis (5-0) for arguably their toughest challenge of the season, Brunell said he was not increasing the ante as much as he was simply stating a fact.
"Hopefully we can come away with a win. We understand it's going to be a challenge against one of the best, if not the very best team in the NFL right now," Brunell said. "But we are at a must-win stage of the season. It is [different], because we lost last week. So now we're 2-4, and you have to win one. It's good for our hopes down the road and good for this football team right now."
During the worst points of last season, players prided themselves on not disintegrating into factions. Brunell said this season has provided a similar test.
"You have to do what you've been doing. You work hard. You maintain a positive attitude, though it's not easy night now," he said. "But we have the guys who will stick together and work hard.
"We're in the same situation [as 2005], but it's earlier," he said. "We're going to find out about the character of this team. It's going to be an opportunity to display what we're made of, and hopefully we're made of all the right things and we can get this thing turned around."
Washington the Colt
There has been a reunion virtually every week for a Redskins player. Brunell and Renaldo Wynn played against their former team, the Jaguars. Joe Salave'a and assistant head coach-defense Gregg Williams met Tennessee for the first time. Wide receivers Santana Moss and David Patten played the New York Jets and New England Patriots, respectively, in the preseason.
This week, linebacker Marcus Washington goes back to Indianapolis to play the Colts, the team that drafted him in the second round in the 2000 draft.
"I played against Marcus in college, and Marcus was one of the guys who really helped get the Colts turned around," Indianapolis quarterback Peyton Manning said. "Just as far as changing our identity, where you stopped thinking that playing the Colts was a sure-fire win. It was a tough place to play, and when you saw the Colts on your schedule you'd better be prepared. You have to go 60 minutes and Marcus was a huge part of that turnaround."
Defensive end Wynn was aware that it wasn't an illusion, but yes, he said, that was him playing defensive tackle in a few sequences last week against Tennessee.
With the Redskins beset by injuries and their defensive interior ineffective -- injured starting tackles Joe Salave'a and Cornelius Griffin were inactive while rookie Kedric Golston and Anthony Montgomery were overpowered by the Titans' offensive line -- Wynn was put into active duty.
It had been s ome time since Wynn played inside. He was drafted in 1997 out of Notre Dame by Jacksonville as a defensive tackle, but he quickly moved to end.
"Things happen a lot faster on the inside. You have to have a predetermined idea of what could happen and what you'll do if it does happen that way," he said. "You have to react. But whatever I can do to contribute, I'll do it. I'll do anything to help our situation. Whatever happens with Griff or Joe, either way, we'll wait and see what happens."