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Redskins Enter Bye With Sting of Defeat


As players filed into Redskins Park for a team meeting on Monday morning, there remained a sense of opportunity lost.

The Redskins had squandered a 17-3 halftime lead in Sunday's game against the New York Giants, ultimately losing 24-17 at FedExField.

They lost a chance to send the game into overtime when the offense was stopped on three tries from the 1-yard line with 58 seconds left in the game.

They lost an opportunity to have a 3-0 record and stay atop the NFC East with the undefeated Dallas Cowboys.

Finally, they lost a chance to go into their bye week without the sting of defeat hanging over their heads.

Said Jason Campbell: "We let one get away. That's what's really tough because we had an opportunity to go 3-0 and three games up on the Giants. We had an opportunity to be at the top of the division with the Cowboys."

Said Rock Cartwright: "We didn't capitalize and seize the moment. This is what happens."

Moving forward, coaches are encouraging players to take a break from football during the bye, according to head coach Joe Gibbs.

With a 13-game stretch on the horizon, players will get a week-long respite from football. Gibbs decided that players will be off until next Monday, Oct. 1, when they must report for the first practice in preparation for the Week 5 opponent Detroit Lions.

"We talked it over as a coaching staff and we decided that the best thing for us was to get seven full days of rest, come back on Monday [Oct. 1] for work, take Tuesday off again, and then go into the regular work week," Gibbs said.

Gibbs said that he considered holding practice this week, but the team would have been without at least 10 players due to injury and the workload for those who were healthy would have been limited.

"The other thing is, we are getting ready to go 13 straight weeks," Gibbs said. "This is an early bye for us. It's not like in the middle of the year.

"I really felt like this was a chance for players to get a breath of fresh air. They felt that way, and the coaches thought it was best for [players] to get a break, too.

Gibbs acknowledged that giving his players time off after a frustrating loss could bring out the critics.

Said Gibbs: "Can that be second-guessed? Absolutely. I'm sure it will. I'm sure that it will come back up depending on how we play against Detroit. And I'm sure that no one will remember to bring it up if we play well against Detroit.

"We wound up 2-1 going into the break. I think the most important thing for us is to get a good break, get some time off and get healed up. Then we have to come back here, play Detroit here and find a way to get to 3-1."

Of course, players welcomed the break, even if it meant having two full weeks to digest Sunday's disappointing loss.

"It's always tough coming off a loss and going into the bye week because it takes a little longer to get the sour taste out of your mouth," Antwaan Randle El said. "But we know what we're capable of doing.

"The biggest thing is that when [next week] rolls around, we're focusing on Detroit."

Added Phillip Daniels: "We'll get some rest, go back and look at the game we played and try to correct mistakes. We're still a good team."

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