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But this is also the NFL. That’s not good enough. And several players in the room acknowledged that. Still, this sentiment from defensive coordinator Jim Haslett last Thursday wasn’t uncommon Sunday.

“I love the way our guys practice and they’re into it. Teams that are going downhill don’t practice the way we practice,” Haslett said. “Those teams are negative. We don’t have that here.”

That’s not entirely true. Wide receiver/returner Josh Morgan, inactive on Sunday, refused to talk to the media other than a few offhanded comments and was visbly angry.

“I’m not allowed to talk to anybody. That’s what [Shanahan] said,” Morgan said. He later used stronger words than that on his way out the door, leaving teammates who heard him taken aback. It was pure frustration from a player who began the year as a starter.

And so the Redskins will wrestle with all of this negativity over these last six games. But in this case the direction of the franchise may depend on the players themselves fending it off. Do they have it in them?

“Two games in a row we fell short in the fourth quarter and I’m disappointed that we did lose those games,” Shanahan said. “But I also tried to explain to the team that if we had won those games everybody would be talking the other direction. So it’s a fine line. You’ve got to believe in yourself.”