One day after the Redskins defeated the Carolina Panthers 17-13, head coach Joe Gibbs challenged players to develop and maintain consistency, starting with next Sunday's matchup against the Atlanta Falcons at FedExField.
Gibbs has emphasized consistency at various times this season, but it has taken on significance now that the Redskins have played a hard-nosed, run-oriented brand of football in Sunday's win over the Panthers.
"To consistently do it, that's our challenge," Gibbs said. "Can we consistently come back and do it?"
Gibbs hopes that building the team around dominating line play and a strong ground game helps the team rediscover its identity.
"I felt like we played was our brand of football [in Sunday's win over the Panthers]," he said. "It was what we wanted to do. We talked about that last week and what type of football team we are.
"I felt like it was very physical all the way around, with special teams leading the way and dong their part. It was the defense and offense controlling the line of scrimmage against what I felt was a real good football team. It was a big step up for us."
The Redskins won back-to-back games in Week 3 and 4 this season, beating the Houston Texans by 31-15 and the Jacksonville Jaguars by 36-30. But the team followed that up with three consecutive losses.
-- REACTION TO INTERNET REPORT
During his Monday press conference, Joe Gibbs was asked if a recent ESPN.com article had ramifications among coaches and inside the locker room. The article, published last week, quotes an anonymous Redskins player and suggested that there were deep divisions among players on the defense.
Said Gibbs: "We kind of go through a lot of things here together. You kind of live together--12-14 hours a day with the players and 18-20 hours with the coaches. We're all grinding here. When you're 3-7, you have to understand that bad things are going to happen.
"I think I know our football team. Last week, I had more players come into my office with suggestions about how to do things differently here. I think I have a good feel, the way the team feels and how they react.
"I think it's just part of life and you have to understand up here that there are going to be some tough things you're going to go through and tough things are going to be said and written."
Asked if he was concerned about the statements in the article, Gibbs said: "I'm not going to address [anonymous quotes]. I think our football team, like I said--I have a good feel for it. What you have to do is realize, 'Hey, we control a lot of this. What we have to do is win football games.' That's where we are and that's what I focus on."
-- NEW KICKER COMING?
Joe Gibbs indicated on Monday that the team could work out free agent kickers this week. Nick Novak has proven inconsistent since rejoining the team in October to replace injured John Hall.
Novak has connected on 5-of-10 field goal attempts this season. Along with missing a 37-yarder in the first half of Sunday's Carolina game, he was also conspicuously short on kickoffs.
Gibbs had mostly positive things to say about Novak on Monday, but it's possible that the team could look to upgrade at kicker for the remainder of the season.
"You make a certain number of field goals and you miss some," Gibbs said. "The things we like about Nick are that he gets the ball up high. Whenever we work him out, he has been real consistent in what he has done. He has won two games for us in the two years that he has been here, and that means a lot.
"It's a matter of evaluating things and working hard with Nick. We need him to be consistent."
The Dallas Cowboys released Mike Vanderjagt on Monday. Vanderjagt has been among the most accurate kickers in NFL history, playing mostly indoors at the RCA Dome in Indianapolis. He has struggled this season playing in Dallas.