By John Solomon
How the government's punishing of the exposure of official wrongdoing can linger for years
Independent voices from the TWT Communities
Overall, coach Mike Shanahan lived up to his word. The Redskins mostly remained idle, limited by having only $3 million or so of salary cap space because of their $18 million cap penalty.
General manager Bruce Allen, in his first detailed comments about the penalty, called it a "travesty of fairness." Coach Mike Shanahan, meanwhile, expressed frustration but vowed to make the best of the team's financial limitations.
A slight smile finally brightened Jim Haslett's hardened countenance after midnight Monday morning. His wife, Beth, and daughter, Kelsey, walked alongside him up the ramp that leads from the Washington Redskins' locker room out of FedEx Field.
When Rob Jackson picked off Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo and sealed the Washington Redskins' NFC East-clinching victory Sunday night, the linebacker didn't immediately grasp the magnitude of his accomplishment.
At 3-6, the Washington Redskins were a mess. Coach Mike Shanahan talked about evaluating players and then, the next day, quickly clarified his meaning to explain he wasn't calling it a season.
Understanding the reality of where his Washington Redskins are after eight weeks, coach Mike Shanahan on Monday busted out the phrase that players agreed best describes the upcoming game against the Carolina Panthers: "I think everybody knows that it's a must-win game," he said.
When a team plays like the Washington Redskins did Sunday at the Pittsburgh Steelers, the result is predictable.
Robert Griffin III stood in the pocket in the rain and scrambled on the wet grass at Heinz Field looking for targets. Fred Davis, his most popular one this season, wasn't there.
When you've lost for as long as the Washington Redskins have lost, a kind of Battered Fan Syndrome sets in. A break will go against the team early in the game, and a here-we-go-again mentality will take over. But the Redskins weren't cursed Sunday, not in the least.
Coach Mike Shanahan likes to preach to his players that injuries shouldn't carry with them any drop-off to the next guy in line. As Chris Wilson and Rob Jackson battled this week for Brian Orakpo's starting spot, both assured there would be no noticeable decline.
Five questions to keep in mind when Washington hosts Cincinnati in the home opener.
The Washington Redskins are already hurting on defense after allowing 63 points in the first two weeks. But the pain doesn't end there.
It wasn't bad enough that the Washington Redskins gave up 810 yards over their first two games. It wasn't bad enough that they surrendered more than 30 points for the sixth time in their past seven games dating to last season.
Brian Orakpo was growing into a leader on the Washington Redskins' defense, but now the team will have to go through the final 14 games without him.
Aaron Hernandez left Gillette Stadium in a walking boot and carrying crutches.
"We made him run all over the place," defensive lineman Adam Carriker said.
"I'm sure they're going to be coming out on fire with everything that went on this offseason," Redskins defensive end Adam Carriker said earlier in the week. "A lot of people are saying without the coaches and without some players they won't be able to do it, so they'll be trying to prove people wrong."