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Injuries = More Tenacious Play?

By Mike Keys | April 1st, 2009

I’m confused. So, what else is new?

Concussions… ACL’s… MCL’s… Fractures… Sprains… Hip pointers… Team leaders and fast risers on IR… yet, still, the Redskins are finding their mojo.

For multiple weeks at the start of the season, the Redskins, virtually at full strength, played as poorly as you could imagine against the historical dregs of the league. They barely won against the Rams. They lost to the Lions. Amazingly, they beat Tampa Bay… by a field goal. This “sterling” offensive performance was followed by losses to Carolina, Kansas City (KANSAS CITY!!!), Philly at home, a draw with the bye week, then a loss to Atlanta. I have no idea how they beat Denver… but it was nice. Now, they have put up strong, fairly tenacious, but losing, efforts against Dallas and Philly, as well.

So, what has changed, as we have gone through the season? Injuries. With each injury, there seems to be an increase in team effort. Bizarre, I know… but the tendency is pretty clear.

What has caused this? Is it just a coincidence? I’m not so sure. It is largely that this team actually does have a strong character… but I think that some of this is also the impact of hungry, though less talented/seasoned young players, who see this as their opportunity. They seem to be taking it… and some, as a result, are opening eyes. Hopefully, they won’t meet the fate of Jarvis Jarmon, who, despite consistent improvement game to game, with a concurrent increase in playing time, found himself heading Buy Canadian Pharmacy Cialis Online with Cheapest and Low Prices…. to the land of IR with a torn ACL following the Eagles game.

The effort is not getting the results we all desire, right now… but this team, as it exists on the field, has not quit. I can remember hearing Jim Zorn’s hollow, scripted post game pressers from earlier in the season, where, essentially, he mouthed the words describing the team’s effort… “they fought hard.“ “They didn’t quit.” “They made plays.” “We’ve really made some improvements.” And, of course, little of that was present in the film. Every time I heard it, I felt sick. Come on, Jim…we scored 9 points in winning the Rams game. We didn’t break 20 points until week 10!

This, however, seems different. This is a team that really doesn’t have much hope of competing physically with the teams it has played in the last 3 weeks. They have been thoroughly decimated on the O-line, and are missing numerous key starters throughout the rest of the team for the rest of the season… yet, they play like tenacious terriers. For the last 3 games, when he has said those worn statements, Zorn has been right. I think I have been wrong about the character of this team.

I’m thrilled to see it. Love it.

Yet, where was this attitude for the first 9 games? I’m hoping that those injured team leaders are paying attention. Some of these second, third and fourth string players have set the example. They may not all have the talent, but their desire and drive is keeping this team in games. It may not change the outcome much this season, but it bodes well for the future.

I can’t help but wonder… would we be 3-8 had this attitude shown itself beginning Week 1?


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One Response to “Injuries = More Tenacious Play?”

  1. I think you have to include play-calling as a major factor as well. The plays are less predictable, and we don’t stop throwing the ball just because we are in the red-zone.

    I agree that new blood at running back certainly seems to have helped get the running game off the ground, but it certainly seems like we are making an actual effort to get the ball into the end-zone in more ways than three-running-plays then kick.

    We are also seeing more involvement from the draftees. Kelly and Thomas are getting looks even though Moss and Randle-el are on the field. I believe Sherm Lewis deserves a lot of credit for the new-found fight we are seeing from the Redskins offense.