Rick Snider: Redskins need to play with passion to salvage their season

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Sports,NFL,Redskins,Rick Snider

It's time for the Washington Redskins to man up.

The Redskins have one chance to salvage this season -- beat the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday. Making the playoffs is a long shot at 3-6, but three straight NFC East opponents provide what former Redskins coach Marty Schottenheimer called, "A gleam."

Unfortunately, the Redskins have been notorious for losing to bad teams over the last two decades. They lack the fire, the hunger.

Quarterback Robert Griffin III said he's "hungrier" after the bye. OK, skip Subway and go eat fresh eagle.

It's not always about who's the better team in the NFL. They're largely pretty close. It's often who wants it more and who has forgotten they're paid no matter the outcome. Go play like it's personal, a rivalry against those punks in the next neighborhood who want to date your gal.

Sadly, that doesn't happen much in the Redskins' locker room anymore. That passion from high school and college days has been worn down to the mentality of punching a time clock. It's a job.

Well, lots of people have a job and still bring it every day. The Redskins haven't for years.

And that's on the coaches. You can't motivate grown men? Don't tell that to Phil Jackson's 11 rings. To Bill Belichick's Super Bowl stranglehold. To Davey Johnson raising the Nationals to real contenders.

Don't tell it to the Marines, Army, Air Force and Navy. The first responders. They're often younger men risking their lives. Football players are just being asked to play a game as hard as they can. To care like the outcome matters.

This is all on coach Mike Shanahan now. The roster is what it is -- his in-season job is to motivate them, not talk about next year. Shanahan needs a pregame talk that makes men want to win.

Shanahan has it in him. That raised speech, the sense of urgency. That's all the Redskins have left to beat a division foe that's lost five straight itself.

It's not about Pierre Garcon shrugging off a bad toe to play. If you're hurt, you're hurt. There's no blaming him for missing most of the season, but if there's a chance of playing, do it now.

Coaches say many marginal players are out of the NFL after two or three years when they lose their edge. After giving 100 percent to make the league, they stupidly stop training or studying as hard. Suddenly, there's another youngster that will and takes the veteran's job. Stupid, right?

So for one day, this Sunday, the Redskins have to play their Super Bowl. If Washington loses to Philadelphia, there will be no heart left for the final six games.

Examiner columnist Rick Snider has covered local sports since 1978. Read more on Twitter @Snide_Remarks or email rsnider@washingtonexaminer.com.

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