With Mark Sanchez at quarterback and a pair of tackles starting at guard, the injury-ravaged Redskins’ offensive struggles shouldn’t have come as a surprise and could even be excused to a degree. The more concerning part of Washington’s fourth consecutive loss, as articulated by several former Redskins, was that it appeared many members of the team would’ve rather been anywhere else than fighting for their playoff lives.
“I don’t think the effort was there,” Brian Mitchell said on NBC Sports Washington’s postgame show. “They’ve said they don’t want the fans to give up on them. They want everybody to stick behind them, and then you come out with that type of performance early in this game? You look at how Josh Johnson came off the bench and played. Well, I guess he hadn’t been here long enough to fall into what they’ve been doing, because the guys that have been around did not seem like they were interested in a football game.”
I hate to say it, but it seems like this team has no motivation, enthusiasm, or guidance. Those are signs that the message has become stale or they aren’t being motivated and led properly!! I know we have injuries, but WHERE IS THE FIGHT?!?! #NYGvsWAS #HTTR #Redskins— Brian Mitchell (@BMitchliveNBCS) December 9, 2018
After the Redskins’ blowout loss to the Saints on “Monday Night Football” in Week 5, Mitchell said the players “think everything is a joke” and suggested that attitude was a reflection of Coach Jay Gruden. Mitchell returned to that point on Monday, saying the uninspired and unmotivated Redskins looked like they were “going through the motions” against the Giants.
“It was an embarrassment [Sunday],” Mitchell said on the “Inside the Locker Room” show he co-hosts on The Team 980. “That’s the only way you can describe that crap. It was embarrassing to watch a team go out there and say that they want to be contenders and give you that type of damn effort. You can take a loss if the person is fighting. … If you lose fighting, people can respect it. Ain’t a damn thing about [Sunday] that I can respect.”
During his weekly appearance on 106.7 The Fan, Clinton Portis said he saw much of the same from the Redskins on Sunday.
“You look at guys who begin to prepare for vacation, and all of a sudden you stop caring,” Portis told Grant Paulsen and Danny Rouhier. “That’s the effort you show. You go back to calling out for fan support and wanting the fans to be out and support you, and all of a sudden you’re down 34-0 at halftime at home. That’s something that you can’t have, that’s something that can’t happen. Especially to a losing team . . . When you go out and you allow a rookie [Saquon Barkley] to demolish you that you held in check [earlier in the season], that’s just attention to detail. That’s guys who are already on vacation.”
Portis’s former teammate, Santana Moss, was equally disappointed in the Redskins’ apparent lack of effort.
“A lot of us didn’t pick them to win, but at the same time, one of the things I speak on more than anything is just the fight you have in you,” Moss said during his weekly appearance with Chad Dukes on 106.7 The Fan. “I hate to see a team that doesn’t seem like they’re really playing together and have the same goal in mind. I understand when you’re down and you feel like you’re at your last straw, but please, show me some effort. Offensively, you can understand some of the things you saw. Defensively, there’s no excuses.”
Doc Walker, who experienced three losses by at least 24 points at home during his five years with the Redskins, also questioned Washington’s pride in the wake of Sunday’s rout.
“[Sunday] was one of those situations where all I could think of was, man, I wish this was winner-take-all,” Walker said Monday on The Team 980. “That means the losers wouldn’t have made a dime. You wouldn’t even eat. You wouldn’t have transportation. You’d have to walk home, or get a ride by someone. But it’s not winner-take-all. This is a feast, no matter what the outcome, and that’s the sad part about it. Because unless you have pride, and unless it really matters to you — and they’ve got some guys that would shed a tear, that it means that much to them — the problem is they don’t have enough of them.”
It wasn’t just the former players who sensed the quit in the Redskins on Sunday. The Team 980 host Steve Czaban noted that it’s been all downhill for Washington since Josh Norman and D.J. Swearinger criticized the fan base for not supporting the team after a win at Tampa Bay.
“This team is now 0-4 since getting lucky at Tampa Bay, after allowing 500 yards of offense, after getting lucky in Tampa Bay when they didn’t realize that they got lucky and they thought they were good and they’re sitting at 6-3,” Czaban said Monday. “Two of our so-called star players on defense, who had just given up 500 yards, decided that was a good time to start lecturing the paying fan base about their attendance habits at FedEx Field. … That guy, [Norman], he’s checked out right now. You can see it in his eyes, you can see it in how he’s playing. And D.J. Swearinger, all hat, no cattle at all. Both guys will be gone next year. They better be gone, they’re not helping your team. The problem is these are the guys they’ve marketed as their star players.”
On his podcast, Kevin Sheehan called for an organizational reboot while acknowledging that owner Daniel Snyder won’t be selling the team anytime soon.
“It starts with the admission, if [Snyder] hasn’t made it before, that he is the owner of one of the worst organizations in professional sports,” Sheehan said. “He should start by getting rid of [Redskins team president] Bruce Allen and Jay Gruden immediately, and then he must find someone to help him pick the next head of this organization. I don’t have the confidence, nor do you, that he’s capable of determining who that person is on his own.”
One person Sheehan mentioned as a candidate for that role was his former radio partner and former Redskins tight end, Chris Cooley. Another former Redskin, DeAngelo Hall, told 106.7 The Fan’s Sports Junkies on Monday that he would be willing to support the team’s decision-makers in the front office, but only if he received some assurances that his opinions would actually carry some weight.
“I’m a pretty young guy, I just came out of that locker room,” said Hall, who retired after last season. “I know how to relate to players. I know, ultimately, who can play and who can’t play, who really is about football and who’s about all the shiny, glamorous things that football gives you, because that’s ultimately what you want. You want a locker room full of guys who love football, who want to do what it takes to win each and every game, and watching what we saw on the field [Sunday], I don’t feel like we had a lot of those guys out there.”
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