Redskins Stay Positive After Negative Result in Opener vs. Giants

Brian Orakpo (98) and the Redskins aim to bounce back from the Giants loss on Sunday against the Rams.
Brian Orakpo (98) and the Redskins aim to bounce back from the Giants loss on Sunday against the Rams. (By John Mcdonnell -- The Washington Post)
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By Rick Maese
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, September 15, 2009

One day after his team's bruising Week 1 loss to the New York Giants, Jim Zorn stood behind a podium and before taking reporters' questions, he ran down the team's brief injury report.

"We didn't have many injuries," the Redskins' coach said. "We had Brian Orakpo [who] has got an owie on his elbow. He's going to be fine. Chris Samuels got dinged a little bit out there, but he's fine. Probably got a headache. Really, I can't tell you any more than that. We came out of it pretty good."

Translation: The Redskins emerged from Sunday's 23-17 loss at New York in good physical condition. Players said Monday they'll enter this Sunday's home opener against the St. Louis Rams in a good emotional state, as well, despite the team's struggles at New York and the lopsided nature of the loss.

"I really wasn't upset because after all we had done -- which was nothing, offensively -- we as a team, we were still right there in that game," said wide receiver Santana Moss, who had just six yards on two receptions against the Giants.

As the team returned home to take stock of its wounds -- both the physical dings and the mental owies -- they reviewed game tape and discovered a laundry list of to-do items, perhaps none as important as the identity questions the team faces on both sides of the ball.

The Redskins' offense struggled to find its rhythm Sunday until the waning moments, while the defensive unit, ranked No. 4 in the league a season ago, failed to pressure Giants quarterback Eli Manning, whiffed on important tackles and allowed New York to continually convert on third and long.

Hanging over the entire locker room this week is Zorn's concern about the team's lack of discipline at Giants Stadium, where the penalties were few but costly.

"I think our challenge was to become more disciplined on the field," Zorn said after the game. "That's going to be our challenge from Week 1 to Week 2."

But reconciling the team's physical nature with Zorn's disciplined and controlled ideals is no easy task.

"That's how we play -- physical, tough ball," said cornerback Carlos Rogers, who was cited for illegal contact in the fourth quarter against the Giants. "Excuse my language; we just not going to be no punks."

In the first half, safety LaRon Landry was called for a personal foul for a late hit on Giants' running back Brandon Jacobs, and shortly after, Moss got into a scuffle with cornerback Corey Webster, exchanging blows and personal foul penalties.

"Whatever happened when it took place, that happened. After it was over with, it should've been over," Moss said Monday. "And that's what I did. I left it where it was at."

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