- The Washington Times - Monday, November 14, 2011

Some were speechless. Others shook their heads in disbelief. For some, it was a new feeling they had trouble describing. For others, it was a familiar feeling they had no wish to revisit. For Mike Shanahan, the five-game skid is the first of his 17-year career as a coach in the NFL.

“You don’t think about desperation,” Shanahan said. “You think about preparing to win. If you start thinking about what’s going to happen three or four days from now, you have no chance of doing the right thing.”

Still, the magnitude of the Washington Redskins’ situation is evident to the players, as expressed most honestly Monday by veteran defensive tackle Barry Cofield.

“There’s no guarantee that we can win another game,” Cofield told reporters. “We just don’t have a team on our schedule that’s just going to lay down and let us beat ‘em. If we don’t play better, then there’s no reason to expect to win any games. The ball’s just not going to bounce our way, and so it could very ugly. It could get historically ugly.

“Hopefully, guys are fearful of that, and hopefully guys focus in and just come together and do whatever it takes to get a win - because if we don’t, then it’s going to be a very, very long winter.”

The Redskins will do what they can to avoid that kind of ending, with players drawing on experience for optimism.

“When I was with St. Louis, we lost like a billion in a row,” defensive end Adam Carriker said.

Five may be less than a billion, but for Carriker, it doesn’t really feel like it.

“Five losses in a row, that’s tough. But that’s part of the NFL, that’s part of the job,” Carriker said.

During tough times, Carriker said he draws inspiration from the movie “Any Given Sunday.”

“On any given Sunday, anybody can beat anybody,” he said. “We know that if we show up and we play well, hold the ball, force some turnovers, stop the run, we can get a victory.”

Defensive lineman Stephen Bowen had trouble putting the losing streak into words. After shaking his head for a few moments, Bowen admitted, “I don’t know what to say.”

He raised his head and gathered his thoughts, before finding the words to express his frustration. “I’m just trying to do my job, trying to help the team to the best of my ability. Hopefully, we just shake out of this and start playing well like we did in the beginning of the season.”

Like Carriker, Bowen hopes playing the Cowboys turns out to be a good omen, despite the Redskins’ 18-16 loss in Arlington, Texas, on Sept. 26.

“We held them to field goals, we just didn’t make the big play at the end of the game,” Bowen said. “I think we just have to take the same approach [Sunday]. They’re a powerful offense, and they know how to move the ball. We have to hold them make them punt, do whatever it takes to give our offense an opportunity to put points on the board.”

Linebacker Ryan Kerrigan said the team has to rely on inner strength and be resilient.

“Losing five in a row can really be frustrating, but we just have to find a win to win this week,” Kerrigan said. “I know this group. We’re a resilient bunch, and we’re going to come out fighting this week and give it our best shot.”

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