- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 5, 2003

At 3-5, we have to find reasons within ourselves to go out and get better, reasons to go out and play. And we have to realize that while everything may be stacked against us, we’re by no means out of it. Yeah, we would have to have a great effort to come back and do well, but it’s still out there.

When a season starts to go this way, people ask, “What’s your motivation?” My answer is this: When I step on the field, I always think of two things. I play because I have pride in my heart and because my name is on the back of my jersey.

When I talk about the name on the back on my jersey, I mean this: Anybody who knows me knows that I’m kind of a traditional guy. And my name represents, first of all, my wife. And it represents the life that we have together. It represents my parents and the way they brought me up. It represents Clawson High School. It represents Michigan football.

Would I ever go out and lay an egg and say, “We can’t win. We can’t do anything with this season. I’m just going to make it through without getting hurt?” No. That’s not the way I work, and it’s not the way most guys work.

I’m going to go out there because I have an individual matchup every week. I still have a one-on-one matchup with Michael Strahan coming up. I still have a one-on-one matchup with every left defensive end our opponents have. And at the end of the season, I want to say I played the best I possibly could against this guy — he didn’t make the plays, and he didn’t beat us.

Every time somebody says, “Michael Strahan makes a tackle,” they might as well be saying, “Jon Jansen didn’t get the job done.” I really do think about it: When I carry that name on my back, I’m carrying my whole family, my whole hometown, my friends — everybody who believes in me and has pride in me. I’m taking them down with me.

What’s also at stake is the pride of the people who coached me along the way. If I’m a great player, then it means I had great coaches. If I go out and don’t perform, then it makes them look bad. And that’s not fair to them, because I’ve had some great coaches. To let those people down just isn’t fair.

Every day when I go out there, every day when I wake up, that’s what I think. We may be 3-5, but nobody’s going to point and say Jon Jansen didn’t show up to work today. That’s one thing that won’t change no matter where I’m at or what I’m doing.

But this isn’t just an individual thing. The Washington Redskins are an organization with history. They have championships, great former players. There’s an expectation when you’re a Washington Redskin that you have to perform in a certain way. Some people say that it’s hard to perform in Washington because the media’s so hard on you. But the expectations are there. It has been done before.

One of the things I’ve always believed is that the expectation is for the position, not necessarily the player. And when you look back at the great offensive lines of Michigan, that’s your expectation. Same thing here. The expectation is for the Russ Grimms and Joe Jacobys and all those guys. They set the standard. If you’re going to play their position, you have to play just as well as they did.

Another thing that has been on my mind is how fleeting these moments are. I’ll never get my 27th year back. I’m going to turn 28 in January, and that’s the only chance I get to be 28. I don’t get the 2003 football season back. When it’s done, it’s done. And a player only has so many football seasons in his body.

OK, time for a couple questions. One reader wants to know whatever happened to the “three-year plan” that was mentioned so frequently during the offseason.

Well, we’ve got 2 years left. The only thing I can say to fans is don’t give up on us now. I know it has been a long time since we’ve had a playoff run. The fans never have given up on us, and I don’t expect them to. We’re going to work at being a good football team and a good organization.

Another reader wants to know why he’s never seen Patrick throw the ball away. The reader asks whether that tactic is frowned upon.

It’s not, but there’s a lot of things going on out there, and Patrick is still learning about the NFL. Those things will come along. Are there probably times when he could throw it away? Sure. But it’s part of the learning experience. He’s learning more every game.

Finally, a reader asks why he didn’t see teammates picking Patrick up off the turf in a recent game.

It’s hard to speak on that. Any time somebody’s around somebody who got knocked down — no matter who it is — we always help somebody up. A lot of times when Patrick gets knocked down, I may still be 10 yards away. Helping guys up is part of being that cohesive unit that we want to be.

Thanks again 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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