No panic for Redskins ... yet

No panic for Redskins ... yet
October 26, 2011, 10:44 pm
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The 3-1 start is a distant memory.

The injured reserve list is at standing room only status.

The once-resurgent defense has allowed 829 yards the last two weeks.

And their next two games are against 4-2 Buffalo and 5-1 San Francisco.

Panic time for the Redskins when they face the Bills Sunday in Toronto as six-point underdogs? They say no sort of.

We have to understand the urgency, obviously, receiver Donte Stallworth said Wednesday at Redskin Park.

Understand it yes. Dwell on it no. But how?

By not worrying about the last couple games, Stallworth said. More importantly, our focus is on the Bills. If you start worrying about the last two losses, you start pressing more to make plays and you end up not making plays and start making errors.

Said safety Reed Doughty: Last week was important and this week is equally important. We cant compound the problem by stressing out about it. We need to concentrate on playing better football. Youre a professional and you have to come in, work hard and decide what you need to do to get better.

To a player, the vibe in the locker room is expectations havent changed despite losing running back Tim Hightower, tight end Chris Cooley and left guard Kory Lichtensteiger for the season. Receiver Santana Moss and left tackle Trent Williams are out this week and linebacker London Fletcher did not practice Wednesday.

The Next Man Up concept doesnt apply when there arent any men left. But the Redskins have confidence in the next wave of new starters and contributors.

Its a process, cornerback DeAngelo Hall said. I felt like coming into the season, we had a chance to be a good football team and I still feel like that.

Hall can still hold that feeling because at 3-3, the Redskins arent out of anything. But this stretch is crucial, especially with the last month of the schedule includes New England, the Jets, the Giants and Philadelphia.

History isnt kind to the Redskins, though. In each of the last 11 years, theyve had at least one losing streak of three or more games, including a whopping seven streaks of four or more games four in 2010, 2009, 2007, 2004, 2003 and 2000 and five in the 2001 season.

Two is a bump and three is a bigger deal, defensive end Adam Carriker said. But guys will step up, Im confident of that, and will lead the team.

But who will lead remains a question.

Moss is the offensive captain and hes done for awhile. Cooley led by words and example and hes done. Fletcher, the ultimate captain, is nicked up. With the two-year roster turnover, there are myriad new voices in the locker room.

Its not just about being vocal when youre a leader, Doughty said. A lot of us have been leaders Zo Lorenzo Alexander, myself, obviously London. Its not going to change even if hes unable to play, guys will still rely on him.

And particularly the young players could rely on Shanahan and his staff. To that end, following the Carolina loss, Shanahan said its up to him to get the Redskins to play better, setting a tone that everybody is all in, not just the players who havent performed well.

I believe hes saying, collectively as a group and individually, we all have to invest more and give more of ourselves to be ready to play the game Sunday, safety O.J. Atogwe said. Coach has to coach us and we have to receive the coaching and on our own, just be better on what youre coached to do.

Its up to Shanahan to decide which players are ready for increased responsibility but also to strike the right tone to break this skid.

You got to win, he said. Thats the nature of the game to try and find a way to win. The guys who will step up will be starters. Theyre on our football team for a reason. We have a lot of young players and well get a chance to see how much talent they do have and how quickly they can improve.

Hopefully its quick.

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