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Woody:Redskins' season collapses

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http://www.timesdispatch.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=RTD%2FMGArticle%2FRTD_BasicArticle&c=MGArticle&cid=1031772639260&path=!sports!redskins&s=1045855935462

Redskins' season collapses

Shutout by Cowboys underscores problems in multitude of areas

BY PAUL WOODY

TIMES-DISPATCH STAFF WRITER

Tuesday, December 16, 2003

If the Washington Redskins were stone, they'd be crushed. If they were glass, they'd be shattered. If they had a place to hide, they would head to it right now and stay there until Dec. 28, the day after their last regular season game.

When the Redskins fall, they fall hard. Every team tries to live by a simple credo: Never get too high when you win or too low when you lose.

The Redskins say that, then fail to follow it. Every victory is cause for celebration and evidence that their "talent" is coming to the forefront. Every loss is a devastating circumstance that leaves everyone in the locker room frustrated and puzzled.

"We had our expectations set so high this season, and 5-9 is somewhere we didn't want to be," said Redskins right offensive tackle Jon Jansen. "Things fell apart, the wheels fell off, and we never stopped to put them back on.

"It takes a team effort, and we don't have that right now. We may have more talent than the Cowboys, but it takes a team to get to the playoffs."

The Redskins lost to the Cowboys 27-0 on Sunday. If the Redskins have more talent than the Cowboys, or many other NFL teams, it's difficult to see it.

The Cowboys can generate a pass rush with their front four.

The Redskins can't.

The Cowboys have linebackers who can run and cover large amounts of territory.

The Redskins don't.

The Cowboys have three receivers who give opponents cause for concern.

The Redskins have one such receiver, Laveranues Coles. However, he failed to catch a pass against the Cowboys.

The list can go on and on. And the list can be compared against almost any team in the league.

"We haven't performed very well," Redskins coach Steve Spurrier said. "We don't have the worst record, but we're down there amongst them."

In the Redskins' defense, they have significant injury problems.

Starting quarterback Patrick Ramsey is out for the season with a foot injury. The Redskins are so thin at running back that Rock Cartwright, a fullback, started as the primary ballcarrier against Dallas.

Starting left tackle Chris Samuels is out with a knee injury and, on Sunday, his replacement, Brandon Winey, left the game with a knee injury. Darryl Terrell, who the Redskins re-signed last week after signing him and cutting him the previous week, finished the game at left tackle.

Each year, the teams in the NFL with the best records generally are the teams that have the fewest injuries. Signing players off the street one week and using them the next is not a formula for making the playoffs.

To his credit, Spurrier has not fallen back on any excuses.

"It doesn't matter if the whole team gets hurt, you are what your record is," Spurrier said.

The wear and tear of the season is showing on Spurrier. He's not despondent, but his voice is flat, and he has a sense of resignation after each loss.

He conducted his press conference yesterday in nine minutes.

The players have little to say either. There are no signs that anyone is simply going through the motions in games. But when the offense can't get first downs, the defense is on the field far too long to be effective.

"This is not basketball," said Redskins linebacker Jessie Armstead. "It takes more than a couple of guys to turn things around. Football is the sport that requires the most teamwork, ever."

Spurrier and the players vow they will continue to work. Whether they can pick up the pieces and make a better showing against the Bears on Sunday in Chicago now becomes the question.

AND FURTHERMORE - Ramsey had surgery on his right foot yesterday in Charlotte. He's expected back in Washington tonight or tomorrow, and expects to begin his rehabilitation in about three or four weeks. Samuels is expected to practice tomorrow and might be able to play this week. Running back Trung Canidate is not expected to practice this week, which means he's probably not going to play Sunday.

Contact Paul Woody at (804) 649-6444 or pwoody@timesdispatch.com

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The wear and tear of the season is showing on Spurrier. He's not despondent, but his voice is flat, and he has a sense of resignation after each loss

Now if he'd just give us his resignation after each loss...

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