As all fans can by now recite, the Redskins made tremendous progress in the 2005 NFL season, finishing 10-6, qualifying for the postseason for the first time since 1999 and making it to the second round of the playoffs.
Jon Jansen, who has been with the team in a continuous way longer than any other teammate, may have said it best in the aftermath of the Redskins' 20-10 season-ending playoff loss at Seattle last Jan. 14.
In something of a state-of-the-Redskins message, Jansen commented late on that rainy Saturday afternoon in the Pacific Northwest: "This team has a lot of character. You saw that. Getting back to the playoffs was great. We look at it as a building block for 2006."
Jansen's sentiments certainly still have a ring of truth but at the same time the team and the organization have been somewhat stalled in their overall development in the past year by a pair of serious and bewildering predicaments involving exceptionally talented and high-profile players.
One such matter came to rest earlier this offseason when three-time Pro Bowl linebacker LaVar Arrington, a fan favorite, was released following a complex and long-standing row with the team over such items as contractual terms and playing time.
For the Redskins and for the player, who is now a New York Giant, the best way forward involved separation and closure to a sometimes tempestuous relationship.
Also heading to a resolution is the status of Sean Taylor, the third-year safety out of the University of Miami who has been involved in a South Florida felony assault case for the past year.
Late Wednesday night, reports out of Miami indicated that a plea deal had been reached according to which Taylor will avoid jail time and felony charges.
Taylor faced four decades in prison over charges that stemmed from his part in a June 1, 2005 incident in South Florida. As part of his plea deal, he will provide various community service activities and make donations to South Florida schools.
To be fair, the situation involving Arrington bears no resemblance to that of Taylor, which obviously is not related to his profession and took place some 1,000 miles or so from Redskins Park. What they do have in common is this: Both the Arrington and Taylor situations hung over Redskin Park like a dark cloud.
It can be accurately pointed out that Arrington appears on his way to health and happiness as a Giant. Perhaps one day soon it can be stated that Taylor has fully grasped the severity of the situation in which he was involved and that an enduring and genuine measure of maturity on his part will help him to reach his full potential as an NFL player.
The NFL, it is expected, will weigh in on the situation surrounding Taylor.
The league's statement on Thursday read: "It will be reviewed for possible discipline under the terms of the league's personal conduct policy."
Redskins head coach Joe Gibbs gave a brief response Thursday afternoon, saying the following: "We are glad that Sean's situation seems to be working towards a conclusion."
Before Sean Taylor can look ahead, though, he has to learn from the past and take into account that chilling notion, that there are consequences to all of our actions. There is a right way to respond when you feel your rights have been violated.
He's a 23-year-old with an unbridled passion for football, and, it is hoped, an acute ability to pay heed to the lessons learned in a Miami court room.
In terms of the football team as a whole, to have a pair of thorny matters now referred to in the past tense--to the extent that it is possible--can become an equally significant building block.