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Redskins Intend To Enjoy The Moment But Stay Hungry


Though many Redskins players haven't experienced the playoffs before, veterans have tried to stay level-headed and preached consistency entering today's game vs. the Packers.

When defensive back DeAngelo Hall was just a rookie, playing for the Falcons in 2004, he had the fortune of participating in the NFC Championship game. Fresh into the league, the NFL didn't seem like such a challenging place to compete and contend for a championship. He figured that would be the norm.

The Redskins, and their rookies, haven't reached that postseason stage just yet, but for so many players new to the concept of meaningful football in January, Hall, preparing for just his third postseason, has made it his goal to cherish weeks like this, and make sure others do, too.

"You always feel a sense of responsibility with some of the younger guys, as most older guys have kind of been through this. You just try to tell everybody how important it is. How hard it is," Hall said. "You just never know when the opportunity is going to present itself again. So we're just harping on everybody to give everything they got, and we'll worry about what's next, next."

That was the prevailing theme at practice this week, one head coach Jay Gruden has called a little more intense, as the Redskins get set to host the Packers in the Wild Card round on Sunday afternoon. 

Even for a franchise that has been to the playoffs just three times since 2005, the influx of veterans from with playoff experience has given this bunch a different attitude. They'd prefer to go about their business, treat this week like any other and hope that equates to the same kind of result that's occurred in the last four games.

"We have to approach it like it's just another football ball game, just for the simple fact that the same rules apply," safety Dashon Golson said. "We can't just go out there and try to do magic because it is the playoffs. We just have to try to do the little things right and just catch, tackle, and do the fundamentals."

"The first thing we tell all the young guys is that there are 32 teams in this league and only 12 of them are working right now," defensive lineman Ricky Jean Francois said. "Everybody else has that black bag and the exit meetings. It's still not guaranteed because each and every week you can have that black bag sitting in front of your locker, and you can go home looking at the games from your couch next week."

Check out these photos of the Redskins' defense and special teams preparing for their Wildcard Round match up against the Green Bay Packers Friday, Jan. 8, 2016, at Redskins Park in Loudoun County, Va.

These are measured responses, though everyone is aware of the extra pomp and circumstance that occurs on game day and the buzz that's been building to 60 minutes of football. For the younger players, managing between the extremes of the stage and the fact that this is just another football game will provide the biggest challenge.

But to suggest that the Redskins locker room is content with just being a contender, one of those final teams into the party, would be to misjudge the edge Washington still carries with it.

"I think everyone in this locker room is hungry for what's at stake," wide receiver DeSean Jackson said. "It's a great opportunity, we're playing good. So you know we just want to continue the hot streak."

The Redskins may not be favorites to reach Super Bowl 50, but they also don't feel they have to find reasons to get motivated in order to make a run. Making the playoffs after compiling seven wins in the last two seasons is a sign of good things to come. But why not make those good things come now?  

"We're not selling to be mediocre," cornerback Will Blackmon said. "I mean, I kind of look at myself. I'm from Providence, Rhode Island. Just to get my name called to wear a uniform is a win. Just being from there. But for me, it's not enough and that's how it is with the team. We got a goal in mind and one of them was to win our division. We've done that, so now we're in the postseason, let's go get the big one."




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