Redskins have a special feeling about this season

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Sports,NFL,Redskins,John Keim

Redskins have an edge with favorable schedule

ASHBURN -- After returning from the bye week, Redskins fullback Darrel Young felt energized and fresh. Maybe too fresh, based on what he told a couple reporters.

With a straight face, Young said: "We have something special going here. We're going to do something."

The Redskins were 3-6 at the time. So the obvious response, muttered under one's breath, was this: Yeah, right.

Three straight wins later, the Redskins indeed have something special going. And they are doing something. Washington (6-6) now is one game behind New York for the NFC East lead. The Redskins also are one game behind Seattle for the final wild-card spot.

They also have an edge when it comes to scheduling. The Redskins have one game left against a team that currently has a winning record (Sunday vs. Baltimore).

Their road games: at Cleveland (4-8) and Philadelphia (3-9). New York, after facing New Orleans on Sunday, plays at Atlanta and at Baltimore before a finale vs. Philadelphia. And the Seahawks, after games vs. Arizona and at Buffalo (in Toronto), finish vs. San Francisco and at St. Louis. They also might be minus their starting cornerbacks who, like the Redskins' Cedric Griffin, both tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs.

This conversation was an unlikely one after the bye week. But Redskins veteran linebacker London Fletcher said that perhaps the team was tired and the break helped them regroup.

"We looked at our situation and knew, hey, we win a couple ballgames it can be totally different for us," Fletcher said.

And it is.

"It's just a different atmosphere," said Fletcher, in his sixth season with Washington. "It's a different feeling, a different preparation."

The first win over Philadelphia came vs. a struggling team starting a rookie quarterback for the first time. Dallas has been inconsistent, though it was a road game on Thanksgiving. But the Giants are the defending Super Bowl champions coming off an impressive 28-point win over Green Bay.

Now the confidence is soaring. Receiver Joshua Morgan, who played for San Francisco last year, said people looked at him like he was crazy when he compared this team to the 49ers' 2011 squad that reached the NFC championship game.

"Now they're looking at me like, 'OK, now I understand what you mean now,'?" Morgan said. "You've got to go through adversity, and you've got to overcome adversity and just keep going, and that basically builds the character of the team that you need to win."

The Redskins' good karma was dulled by Griffin's suspension announced Tuesday afternoon. But they've overcome player losses all season, from safety Tanard Jackson in the summer to linebacker Brian Orakpo and defensive end Adam Carriker earlier this season.

"It's taken us a while to fight through that, but I have felt we have a special group with a lot of character that plays hard," coach Mike Shanahan said. "With that type of character, you always feel you have a chance. We're learning how to win, and that's what you've got to do."

jkeim@washingtonexaminer.com

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