Even with one tick in the win column, the Washington Redskins come into a critical Week 6 matchup with the understanding that they have underperformed to their own expectations.
The locker room echoed with "we never expected to" through the first quarter of the season, but after a much needed win and bye week, the team comes into the Week 6 trip to Dallas with a confident, business-like attitude.
It's time for this team to get to its winning ways that set the tone for last year's division championship season.
"Everybody’s got a lot more energy coming off the bye week, just ready to do what we know we have to do," quarterback
Part of that comes from the confidence Robert Griffin III has gained in moving on from the injury that ended his rookie season.
Critics have pointed out that ACL-to-MVP story of Vikings running back Adrian Peterson didn't take off last year until Week 4, when he finally had his first 100-yard rushing day.
Robert Griffin III had his best 2013 performance to date in Week 4, posting his first game with no turnovers and leading his team to victory.
“I was just more comfortable with everything going on," he explained. "I think as a team, we played better each week in general and specifically with the offense I feel like we played better each week.
"That’s what we have to do, we have got to go out and execute. It takes all 11 of us and every guy has got to look in the mirror and say, ‘What can I do better to help this team win?’ That’s the message Coach gave us, and that’s kind of the message that we have to take on.
"For me, in general, that’s just going out and being the playmaker that they need me to be."
Griffin III will be challenged by a new-look Cowboys defense that is determined to attack him in the pocket and keep him from breaking containment.
"He’s a very dangerous athlete and he’s very comfortable out in space, so making sure you contain him and keep him in the pocket is critical," Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett told the media this week. "That’s what you’re trying to do every week.
"When the quarterback does have the athletic ability, you want to limit those plays they make out in space."
This will be the Redskins' first look at the 4-3, Tampa Two style defense implemented in Dallas this offseason by respected defensive mind Monte Kiffin.
Top defender DeMarcus Ware converted to defensive end and has four sacks through five games, which is less than his six in five games last year en route to 16 on the season.
But Redskins offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan said the offense has no intention of sleeping on Ware, who has 11 sacks in 14 career games vs. Washington.
“I know [Ware] hadn’t done it much in his career but I’ve always thought he’s one of the best players in this league," Shanahan said. "He still looks like the same guy to me. When he wants to come off the ball and rush that passer, he’s as scary as anybody there is.
"I don’t care whether his hand is in the ground or if he’s standing up, there’s not much of a difference to me because most of the time he’s coming after the quarterback. It looks like he’s getting better at it every game."
Robert Griffin III said the gameplan is in place not to stop just Ware, but to expose the Dallas Cowboys defense as a whole.
"You have got to take each game, each year as a new experience," Robert Griffin III saidl. "They have a totally different scheme and they’ve bought into that scheme, so we have to attack that.
"We can’t just attack those individual guys, so I think it is totally different but at the end of the day we want to have a similar result and that’s a win."