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Ricky Jean Francois Finishes Second Season With Momentum


While the defense struggled as a whole, defensive end Ricky Jean Francois made some improvements to his game from 2015 and continued to be the team's vocal leader.

It took a while for defensive end Ricky Jean Francois to climb out of his locker, change out of his pads, shower and start to dress following the Redskins' 19-10 loss to the Giants on Sunday.

He, like his teammates and coaches, were not ready to call the season quits, and as he answered questions hunched over in between his locker walls, and then answered more the following day in Loudoun County, Va., before taking home his personal belongings, the gravity of the team's reality set in.

"It should have never ended like this," he said. "We shouldn't have ever been in this situation that we're cleaning out our lockers, but I said it so many times – what may happen, what could have happened, when we don't execute and do certain things – and it actually became the truth. Now you get one of those six foot silver bags and put all your stuff inside of it and now you're going home."

Jean Francois, 30, has one year remaining on his contract with the Redskins, but as one of the vocal leaders on the defense, the end of the season offered a sobering realization that Sunday's game was the last time playing with some of his teammates he worked hard to inspire before each contest.

"This team will never be the same, will never have the same pieces," Jean Francois said. "People will go elsewhere. Most people may stay. Coaching staff may change. This team won't be the same and it just hurts so bad to know you had the team to go out there and do everything."

Refusing to linger too much on the past, Jean Francois can at least be proud of a more memorable season with the Redskins in his second year in Washington.

Aside from becoming engaged and having his first child in the offseason, the LSU product played a more prominent role on the defensive line, one which relied on a heavy rotation of veteran players including Chris Baker, Ziggy Hood and Cullen Jenkins.

After starting in just one game in 2015, Jean Francois ended the season with six starts, 32 tackles, 1.5 sacks and a pass defended.

He collected eight tackles against the Giants last Sunday, his best game to date, and collected five tackles, and a half sack, against the Cowboys in Week 2.

"I had a good season; I made plays," Jean Francois said. "I made plays, came ready to play, one of my biggest things, but there were still some more plays out there I could have made. There were a lot of things I still could have adjusted, but as the weeks went on I did that. Just with this last week coming up and what happened, I feel like I didn't do enough, myself as an individual, didn't do enough work to put us in better position to win."

Still, the defense struggled as a whole, surrendering 377.9 yards per game, good for 28th in the league, while ranking last in getting off the field on third down, allowing opponents to convert 46 percent of the time.

"All of the players in this locker room know why we were in this position, all of the coaches upstairs understand why we were in this position, there's no need to explain," Jean Francois said. "If I actually have to explain, it means you were never listening throughout the season."

The defensive end was also bestowed the Redskins "Media Good Guy Award," which is chosen annually and given to a Redskins player who has best helped the media do its job. And earlier in the season, he spent a day with wide receiver Pierre Garçon in Haiti to assist with hurricane relief efforts.

He plans to spend the offseason at home, helping to raise his son, and to travel overseas quite a bit to get away from the game before he returns to Redskins Park in the spring.

"Just getting more in tune with myself, understanding who's Ricky and understanding my abilities and what I can do," he said. "That's really about it."

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