- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 9, 2003

We obviously enjoyed a great result in Sunday’s win over the Giants. We were able to come out and make some plays in a tough stadium and a tough environment. It was cold. It was windy. There were a lot of things that were stacked against us. Obviously both teams had to play in the same conditions, but I was still proud of the way we held up.

To come out and run the ball 48 times, to have that opportunity and to be successful at it, I think that really gave us an edge in that game. They have a very good front seven. Their team has had their ups and downs, but their front seven has played extremely well. To be able to put up 150 rushing yards really shows the character of our team and the ability of the coaches to adapt to that situation.

I think you saw an offense that was hitting on all cylinders. There were times when we were able to take shots that our run game set up. Laveranues Coles was able to get in some one-on-one coverage, instead of double-teams and zones. And we didn’t ask Tim Hasselbeck to throw the ball 60 yards downfield, because we knew in those conditions we couldn’t. But he was very accurate and very controlled and he did what we asked him to do.

A number of readers wondered why I voiced my frustration about why we were passing the ball so often in recent weeks. Some agreed with me, others said I should have kept my opinion to myself and just gone along with whatever Coach Spurrier wanted to do.

I’ve never really been somebody who’s just gone along with the mainstream. Even when things are going well, I always question whether they could be going better. And when things are going bad, obviously everybody’s got questions. And I question myself, not just the coaching staff. Can I be doing something better in my pass protection, in my run-blocking, in my leadership on the team?

I think the questioning process has to happen. If all the questions are just swept under the rug, then nobody knows how anybody feels. Nobody knows that there might be a problem that we have to address. And if you can get those things out and address them, once there is some compromise on both sides, then you can really make some progress and have something to work toward.

Everybody who’s been married knows something about compromise. Whenever you have a relationship, there has to be give and take. It can’t always be my way. It can’t always be Martha’s way.

One of the things that Martha and I compromised on is that she likes to go downtown to eat. I’m not necessarily a big fan of downtown, but I am a big fan of food. It’s something that we talked about and worked out, and it’s turned out to be great for us. I’ve even enjoyed going down there, and I’ve instigated some of it because it’s been such a good time.

Coach obviously has a way that he’s done things for a long time. And we have a way that we’ve done things in the NFL and in here for a long time. Sometimes they don’t necessarily mesh. What we need to do is give a little bit and take a little bit. We’ll meet somewhere in the middle.

On Sunday you saw us in that meeting place, and we were able to win the game because of it. Now maybe we’ve learned a couple lessons — both players and coaches — and we can use those lessons to make us better for the 2004 season, so that we don’t have to go through these growing pains again.

When I voice my displeasure, I try to do it in a way that’s not demeaning to anybody, especially in the newspapers. I don’t think anybody would want to be demeaning to me. If I was a malcontent, or if I saw myself that way, I would look for another way to go about doing it. I try to do it in a way where I say what I feel, but I try not to point fingers.

And when I voice what I voice, I think I’m speaking for the team, for some other guys who have come to me and don’t feel comfortable in speaking the way that I do.

I’d like to think there’s a difference between me and somebody like Keyshawn Johnson. I’m not going to write a book, “Just Run the Damn Ball.” I hope that we’re all striving to be the best Redskins team we can be. I know that everybody in the organization is trying to do that, and I’m just trying to help the process.

Time for readers’ questions. One wonders how the team has been holding up in so difficult a season.

I think it showed on Sunday. Everybody wants to go out and win as many games as we can. With the season being the way it has been — out of the playoffs, all the controversy — we haven’t had any coaches quit and we haven’t had any players quit. There’s never been a point where there’s been any quit. We haven’t gotten the job done at times, but nobody has quit.

Another reader wonders how long we can expect Redskins fans to support the team through so many mediocre seasons.

This is going to sound like we just want people to hang around, but if you make it through the tough times, it really makes the times that you’re successful that much more special. If you won the Super Bowl 10 years in a row, it wouldn’t be as special in year eight as it was the first time. The fans that stick around, and who still believe in us when we’re down, will have a real sense of satisfaction when we get to where we’re going.

Thanks for the e-mails at [email protected] See you next week.

Staff writer Jody Foldesy collaborates with Redskins tackle Jon Jansen on this column. It appears every Wednesday.


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