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Even having a quarterback whose knee transfixes the city and much of the country shows the progress, even if the attention is wrapped in furor over the injury’s much-debated circumstances.

The Redskins are relevant again, and no longer as the butt of national jokes over which big-money free agent signing will go bust. The Nationals, of course, may have baseball’s deepest 25-man roster heading into spring training next month in Viera, Fla.

Losses hurt more when they mean something.

Washington’s heartbreak in the last three months points to the change, the sometimes-fitful but never dull return to relevance.

And that’s a reason for hope.