At 3-7, Redskins fans must be at the point where most hope is gone. Sure, technically 9-7 is still possible, and with that access to greater dreams, but first you have to see a win. And given that Washington has beaten Oakland, Chicago and San Diego, one could argue that they haven’t beaten a good team. (The Bears are 6-5, the Chargers 5-6). No one would argue that they have not lost to some bad ones.

But even more than a win, don’t you just want to see them play well? Make progress? Of course you’ll take any win, but at this point, almost of equal concern is the way they play. It’d be helpful to see young players play better, and guys in contract years play better — that describes most of the team. And if someone doesn’t play well, let it be someone who’s on the way out, so at least you leave this game and this season with clarity.

Maybe I’m too into the nuance, but I’d guess from a fan’s perspective, that’s as important as anything. The question, then, is whether you see it happening against San Francisco. On one hand, the teams are stylistic matches — Both have quarterbacks made their names with the read option, and who are currently struggling. Both teams are among the rushing leaders. The big difference is the 49ers have a defense that carried them to the Super Bowl last season, and the Redskins have a never-know-what-you’re-going-to-get bunch.

What’s your honest expectation for how tonight plays out?

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

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