The Washington Redskins are setting their sights on making the playoffs despite a 3-6 start to the season. New York Giants coach Tom Coughlin has been there, done that.
It was 1996 and his Jacksonville Jaguars, in their second year of existence as an expansion NFL franchise, were 3-6 at the bye week. They reeled off wins in six of their final seven games to make the playoffs.
“We started to play well. We started to feed off of the idea that the confidence was getting better and all the hard work that we had put into it was starting to pay off,” Coughlin said Wednesday. “And the players started to believe and as they started to believe and gain confidence, we applied the same kind of effort, the same kind of preparation and the players began to feed off of this and the quality of our game improved.”
The Redskins are at 5-6 now with three more NFC East games left. The ‘96 Jaguars were 5-7 before they ran the table to get into the playoffs as an AFC wild card.
The keys to surviving aren’t any different 16 years later.
“It’s just the same situation that we’re all in, and that is at this time of the year you’re desperately trying to play your best football and you’ve got to do consistently and you’ve got to be able to finish,” Coughlin said. You’ve got to be able to get the games into the fourth quarter and find a way to win them.”