With a Giants loss to the Ravens, the NFC East will come down to the final game with Dallas at Washington. It’s all on the line and as they come into the game, the Redskins held on against the Eagles to win while Dallas lost at home in O.T to the Saints who have a losing record.
If Dallas defeats the Redskins, they would have tie records overall, split two games, and tied in the division however the tie breaker would be common games where Dallas holds a slim advantage. Giving them the NFC East title.
Back on November 4, the season hit a low point for the Redskins after losing to the lowly Panthers. It was their 3rd straight loss and to say the least Coach Shanahan, who has a super bowl win, wasn’t a bit happy about it. They were heading into their bye week and at the post game press conference Shanahan stated coldly,
“Now you’re playing to see who obviously is going to be on your football team for years to come,” Shanahan said, via the Washington Post. “Now we get a chance to evaluate players and see where we’re at. “Obviously, we’re not out of it statistically, but now we find out what type of character we’ve got and how guys keep on fighting through the rest of the season.”
Since then the Redskins have won six straight games including defeating the Cowboys on Thanksgiving Day. I would say his team got the message.
At the time, some were critical of such a blunt approach to his players but now there is no arguing the results.
You are not going to hear that kind of evaluation talk from the Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett, who often coddles his players when they perform poorly and lose. No more was that on display when he had Josh Brent hanging out on the sideline after he killed a teammate in a drunk driving accident.
Garrett’s support of players mistakes goes too far and sends a message that we are one big happy family. But are they really? What happens if they continue to represent mediocrity and not make it to the post season? Does the family get broken up?
I think Shanahan has it right when he treats his players like men and tells them if you don’t perform, your career with this team may be short. It’s only a disservice to the players to make them feel like it will all be OK even if they fail to perform or win. History in the NFL would suggest other wise.
It has been inspiring to see how Shanahan’s team has responded with a determination to win since that call out from the coach. It’s like every week has been a playoff game for them.
The way the Cowboys have responded to their head coach hasn’t been a complete failure by any means as they won three straight after losing to the Redskins, before losing to the Saints in O.T. today. But few would argue with the fact that the Redskins are coming into the final game with more momentum and are the hotter team right now.
Earlier in the season former Cowboys coach Jimmy Johnson described the Cowboys environment as “country club” like where everyone feels the love. Will it remain that kind of environment if Dallas loses at Washington next week to go 8-8 and miss the playoffs again this year?
Or will it become a more realistic environment where coaches and players are fighting to survive every week? Looks like it’s working for Washington but we will see next week right?