Being 3-6 through the first nine games of the season certainly wasn't what Redskins head coach Jay Gruden envisioned when the team started the 2014 season.
But with one more day of practice left before the team gets a few days off for its bye week, Gruden said Monday he hopes his players will get well rested so they can come back and turn in a much more successful second half of the season.
"We still have a lot to play for," Gruden said. "Whether it's for the playoffs, whether it's for the Super Bowl, whatever, we're playing for the Washington Redskins and the city here, and we're going to go out and compete and we're going to go out fighting, that's for sure."
The Redskins are coming off Sunday's deflating 29-26 loss to the Minnesota Vikings in Minneapolis, in which Washington had a chance to extend its season-best win streak to three games heading into the bye week, but couldn't quite keep up with the host Vikings at TCF Bank Stadium.
After a last-second victory against the Tennessee Titans and an emotional overtime win against the Cowboys in Dallas, Gruden said he was disappointed that his team couldn't capitalize on the momentum Sunday against the Vikings.
Asked to grade his team to this point in the season, Gruden said it's hard not to look at the team's 3-6 record and simply say, "It is what it is."
"Well, when we are 3-6, the grade can't be very good because we are judged on wins and losses," he said. "So, the grade is 3-6, whatever – that is the lower half of the league, bottom half of the league so that is probably a D or an F-plus, maybe. So, from a football standpoint that is not very good."
But Gruden said he's been encouraged by the type of players he has in the locker room and on the field, and that if they continue to compete and play as hard as they can, positive results will surely follow.
"You know, from a personality standpoint, from an effort standpoint, from a human being standpoint, I give them an A. I think we have a lot of good guys in our locker room, so that's a good thing," Gruden said. "I do feel good moving forward that we have the right type of guys in here. We just have got to play better and coach better and we are going to continue to compete. That's what I'm looking for, competitors, guys to compete."
ExtremeSkins.com's Brian Murphy gives you another look at the Redskins' Week 9 matchup against the Minnesota Vikings on Nov. 2, 2014 in Minneapolis, Minn.
Gruden said the team obviously would've liked to have escaped Minnesota and headed into its Bye Week with a 4-5 record instead of 3-6, but added the team's goals change little for the rest of the season.
"We really want to look for guys that compete every day and we're not going to stop competing. We're going to preach competition every day. We're never going to give up," he said. "We've got to claw ourselves out of this thing and we've got a good group of guys."
Gruden said the Redskins "had a chance to put the [Vikings] game away in the first half," but "it just didn't happen."
"I want to stick with our guys," he said. "I want to see them fight their way out of it, see who the competitors are and try to get this thing turned around."
That starts with tomorrow's practice and ensuing few days off, which conclude Nov. 10 when the team meets again to begin preparing for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
"I think sometimes getting away for four or five days will be good for them, get their families and really think what's important from a football standpoint and come back here and get ready to compete," Gruden said.