It was just six months ago when training camp kicked off for the Washington Commanders and ownership changes filled the atmosphere with the repeated sentiment of a "new era." Fans were filled with hope, and players were excited about the enthusiasm the DMV community brought to the table.
And throughout this season, the entire Washington Commanders community has come to realizations on what this truly means. The good, the bad, the ugly.
However, despite what's been a tumultuous season with a 4-12 record going into their last game, there's one thing that's remained a win for this organization: the team's dedication to one another.
"Honestly, I'm blessed to be in this position to play this game and one day I'm going to look back and miss it," Terry McLaurin said. "I don't take any opportunities for granted and I try to play for my teammates, and my family, try to represent myself and glorify God with my play. That's going to be my attitude and I'm going to enjoy this last week with these guys because we have a great locker room of guys. This same team of guys won't be together next year. That's how the NFL works so that's my mentality going into this week."
McLaurin has remained as a leader for Washington throughout the season. He remained a beacon of hope throughout the toughest losses and carried on working with different quarterbacks, with grace.
A year from now, things will look very different for Washington. Awaiting those changes can fill players with anxieties and doubts, but for the team, it's still about what they can do to finish out their season as one unit.
"For me, I'm just trying to enjoy the time with my guys in this locker room," Logan Thomas said. Because I got love for every one of them, we all got good relationships with each other, and just cherish it because it's going to be completely different next year when it rolls around. Just enjoying my last seven days with the 53-plus we got here."
There's been various adjustments to the locker room throughout the season. Whether it was the trading of Montez Sweat and Chase Young or sending several starters like Darrick Forrest and Jamin Davis is Injured Reserve.
It'd be easy for players to point fingers and place blame on various factors. At the end of the day, however, the team has never been about the blame game and the last week of the season is no different.
Sam Howell and Jacoby Brissett have been a sentiment of this leadership, through various quarterback adjustments the last three weeks.
"Obviously an interesting week, I wasn't expecting until two hours before the game to have to play today," Howell said after Sunday's loss to the San Francisco 49ers. "But every opportunity I get to come out here and play in the National Football League is a blessing and a great opportunity. Every single opportunity I get I try to go out there and give it my all and make the most of it."
Between Brissett and Howell, there's been a value in learning from two different experience levels and being able to come together to support one another, no matter who gets pulled in the game.
"You never know what the future holds," McLaurin said. "Honestly, I'm not really focused on that right now. I just want to enjoy this last week playing with this group of guys trying to have fun playing the game that we love and after the season, you evaluate things and see where you stand."