Redskins See Errors of Ways; Only Complete Effort Can Beat Buccaneers
Byline: Mark Zuckerman, THE WASHINGTON TIMES
A week of frustration over penalties, consternation over trash-talking and speculation over injuries comes down to this: The Washington Redskins must find a way to put together their first complete game of the season today against their toughest opponent to date.
A win over the Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers at FedEx Field would go a long way toward erasing the mistakes and doubts that surround the Redskins (3-2), though some continue to paint a rosy picture of the situation.
"We're OK," coach Steve Spurrier said. "We're 3-2. Hey, we've got a better record than the Bucs. How about that? Did you all know that? And they're considered the best team in the world."
Despite a pedestrian 2-2 record, Tampa Bay is still considered the gold standard in the NFL. The defending league champs are coming off a devastating overtime loss to Indianapolis and are beset by injuries, but they still boast one of the best defenses ever assembled. And as coach Jon Gruden pointed out this week, the Bucs have the maturity to put Monday's 38-35 loss behind them and refocus on the task at hand.
"You can't live your life in the rear-view mirror," Gruden said. "The life you've lived, the games you've played are all dead and gone, man. You can't get them back. ... We were 2-2 in our first quarter; we felt we could have done better than that. But there are a lot of people in pro sports who have to prove their mental toughness every day, and I feel real strongly about this group of men that we have."
The Redskins are looking to rebound from a difficult loss of their own, 27-25 to the Philadelphia Eagles. Despite rallying late and falling one two-point conversion shy of a dramatic comeback, the team left Philadelphia in dour spirits, frustrated over the way it continues to beat itself with mistakes and penalties.
The Redskins committed 11 infractions in the loss, including seven false starts, and remain well on pace to break the NFL single-season penalty record of 158. The frustration boiled over Wednesday, when members of the offense called a players-only meeting before practice to discuss the penalties and the overall lack of production.
Though Spurrier, who has been blamed by some for contributing to the problem with his audible-heavy offense, continues to address the problem by bringing in college officials to monitor practice, some feel the Redskins might be better off clearing their minds and forgetting about the penalties. …