With the Redskins at 3-1 heading into the bye, a general feeling of optimism surrounds the team.
The plane ride home from St. Louis following the team’s 17-10 win was one of the more upbeat trips in years. Players walked around the cabin chatting with teammates and staff, enjoying the victory.
Head coach Mike Shanahan said on Monday that the team imust continue to improve as the season progresses.
“I was hoping to be where we are right now as a football team,” Shanahan said. “I think we have gotten a lot better as a team and as an organization. We have made some strides, not that we’re there, but we’re improving and that’s what you want to do is improve each day and each week – to give yourself an opportunity to do something special. I think we have that type of football team.
“We’re not there yet, but hopefully we can keep on getting better each week.”
One area of concern for Shanahan is penalties in key moments.
The Redskins had committed just 10 penalties in the first three weeks of the regular season but they were flagged 10 times on Sunday.
“The one thing that we have to get better on is eliminating penalties in the fourth quarter, which we had a number of penalties that kept us out of good situations,” he said.
Shanahan cited a roughing the passer penalty on linebacker
Jackson had recorded a sack of quarterback Sam Bradford but he appeared to drive Bradford into the ground, drawing a flag.
“Rob Jackson cannot take the guy to the ground like that,” Shanahan said. “You have to understand the rules. You cannot punish a guy. That was a heck of a job getting the sack, but you have to know how to finish the play.
Shanahan also discussed an unnecessary roughness penalty on cornerback
“With DeAngelo Hall’s [penalty], I can’t get into details,” Shanahan said. “They’re going to make their calls and some are going to be good and some are going to be bad. There are a few, as I explained after the game, that I thought should have went the other direction. The bottom line is you have to eliminate mistakes and we had some in the fourth quarter that cost us.”
The team must eliminate mistakes to be a factor in the postseason race in November and December, he added.
“We had dropped balls that kept us out of some chances to really change the game or at least put [the Rams] out of the game and of course an interception there late that did the same thing,” he said. “For us to be the type of football team that we need to be and win down the stretch, we have to get better as a team. You’re hoping to do that in October, November and December.
“It’s nice to go into the bye 3-1, but we know to do something special this season that we’re going to improve in all areas. Hopefully we can keep on doing that.”