Redskins need Thanksgiving win to maintain momentum
Ryan Summerlin November 21, 2012
ASHBURN, Va. – Robert Griffin III felt it was time for the Washington Redskins to dominate an opponent, so that’s what he told his teammates.
Sure enough, they went out and beat the Philadelphia Eagles by 25 points, the Redskins’ largest margin of victory in more than five years.
“There were a few things that I think I needed to say,” Griffin said Tuesday. “And it wasn’t because they voted me captain, it was just there’s things as a quarterback you have to say to your team. And I just tried and echoed those throughout the locker room- and we went out and dominated.”
He’s not changing the message for today’s Thanksgiving game against the Dallas Cowboys.
“It’s the same message,” Griffin said Tuesday. “I haven’t seen this team play as physical as they did this past Sunday, both offense and defense. It wasn’t perfect by any means, but there was a certain tenacity, a certain attitude that was brought to the game, and you could feel it.”
If the Redskins (4-6) are truly serious about making a playoff push, they can’t rest after a runaway victory over an Eagles team in disarray. They need to put together a streak, and a victory over the Cowboys (5-5) followed by another against the New York Giants (6-4) would get Washington to .500 and truly make the team a legitimate contender for the NFC East title.
And it has to be worked around a tight schedule. While it’s a thrill to be a part of the NFL’s Thanksgiving tradition, it’s a busy week for everyone involved. The Redskins caught a bit of a break because they recently had a bye, giving the coaching stuff two full days to start putting together a game plan for the Cowboys before turning their attention to the Eagles.
“Physically you’re not meant to do it,” defensive tackle Barry Cofield said, “so it’s just got to be a mental thing. We’ve just got to think about everything that we’re playing for, trying to build on the momentum of last week.”
The Redskins held a special teams walkthrough Monday and a regular practice Tuesday. They were back on the field Wednesday before flying to Dallas.
“These last 30 hours have been a grind,” offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan said. “Just trying to get a full game plan in. Four days of work in one day. But you’re excited to play on Thanksgiving, this is my first time doing it. I think it’ll be fun.”
Griffin is returning home to Texas for the game, and he had plenty to say about his family. The underside of the tongues of his shoes were camouflaged for Sunday’s game, and the names of his parents – who both served in the military – were inscribed on the tops. He spoke again about how his father is one of his worst critics and was asked how important it is to make his father proud.
“It’s paramount to me. I didn’t even know what that word meant until he taught it to me a few years ago,” Griffin said with a laugh. “It’s really important. … There are some games like the last one where you go 14 of 15 and he’s chewing you out, and you’re like, ‘C’mon, Dad.”‘
Robert Griffin Jr.’s criticisms centered on whether his son sufficiently protected himself from big hits against the Eagles. The quarterback did take a few shots, but he said he felt fine and was physically ready for the quick turnaround – even if some of his older teammates aren’t.
“You can tell the young guys right away,” head coach Mike Shanahan said. “They’ve got a little hop in their step. When you’re 22 years old compared to a little bit older, I think the body recovers a lot quicker. You ask Robert that 10 years from now, and I think he might have a little difference in opinion.”
Notes: LB London Fletcher (sprained right ankle) did not practice, putting in jeopardy his streak of 234 consecutive games played. … WR Pierre Gargon was limited on his injured right foot. His availability will be determined by how well he can take the pain while running on the artificial turf during pregame warmup at Cowboys Stadium. … The Redskins signed CB Jerome Murphy to replace S Brandon Meriweather, who was placed on injured reserve with a torn ACL in his right knee.
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