ASHBURN A football team never would admit to weakness in the moment, but after an appropriate amount of time, it can do so in retrospect.
The Washington Redskins believe they have reached that point, having played four games, each of them better than the last. In revisiting the topic the past two weeks, they’ve painted a picture different from the one they offered in the moment.
Facing the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 1, defensive coordinator Jim Haslett expressed confidence he was ready for whatever first-year NFL coach Chip Kelly had to offer.
“I’ve watched 23, 24 Oregon films. I watched what they did in preseason,” Haslett said. “If they can do anything else, God bless them.”
Earlier this week, he changed his tune.
“The first game, we got stuck in this situation where we’re not sure what we were going to get, and all that, so I told you I’ll take the blame for that first game,” Haslett said.
Linebacker Brian Orakpo echoed those sentiments, saying “we kind of went into it blindfolded.”
Week 2 brought a demoralizing loss to the Green Bay Packers, but since then, the Redskins have turned in respectable performances in a loss to Detroit and a win at Oakland.
“We played much better in the second two games than we did the first two,” Haslett said. “That’s kind of obvious.”
Offensively, the story unfolded in much the same way, with quarterback Robert Griffin III saying this week he didn’t expect to be as rusty as he was in the opener.
In Oakland, he was able to do more of the scrambling and playmaking that have defined him as a quarterback, but acknowledged he has a ways to go.
“We got the win going into the bye, which is real beneficial to us,” he said. “But aside from that, we didn’t really play like I know we can play.”
Instead of dwelling on the negatives, the Redskins chose to spin them into positives during media sessions this week.
Several players offered a variation on the phrase “trusting the system,” noting the team has had success before, and its incremental improvement shows that more success is just around the corner.
That confidence will be tested in Dallas, where the Cowboys will reveal whether the Redskins have come far enough to be contenders in the NFC East this season.