All the class and poise that was missing on the field during the fourth-quarter unsportsmanlike penalty call on Redskins wide receiver Josh Morgan found its way to the back of the podium for the Redskins’ postgame presser.
“One thing that Coach Shanahan has stressed to us since he’s gotten here is just maintaining composure, walking away,” said captain London Fletcher. “You have to still maintain your composure. … Me, as a captain, I didn’t do a good enough job of emphasizing that to my teammates. So I’m pretty disappointed about that and I take responsibility.”
No blame game.
Enter the culprit, Morgan, whose loss of temper cost his team 15 yards right before a game-tying field goal attempt at the end of a game.
“I should’ve just kept my calm. We were driving. I should’ve kept my calm,” said Morgan, according to a report by The Washington Post‘s Mike Jones, who described Morgan as accepting responsibility for the situation.
From Robert Griffin III, who had another incredible performance, there was a similar shouldering of responsibility when it came to the final score of the game.
“We lost the game, so I didn’t make enough plays to help the team win, and that’s the bottom line. You’re judged on wins and losses,” he said. “We lost the game, so I didn’t play well enough.”
That’s the proper thing to say, but journalists are allowed to add a little more context: RG III’s 3 touchdowns, 81 yards rushing, 206 passing yards (and, yes, 1 interception) is not merely a full day’s work…it’s a good day’s work. But Griffin and Fletcher struck a similar tone in their postgame press conferences: football Atlases, shouldering their share of the loss.
And even though the sports world buzzed with fury against the replacement referees’ calls and non-calls, Fletcher, though acknowledging it was a “difficult” game, still turned the conversation back to what the Redskins can do to make the situation better.
A good leader is often discovered not just by where they lead you to, but also what they’ve led you out from. Losing a close and poorly-officiated game, if one has the right leadership, should make victory the next week all that more desirable, disciplined, and attainable. The Redskins have a good offense, they’ve shown they can put up points (although neither defense they’ve faced has been particularly heralded), and now they also need to make sure their defense can keep up. It’s not time to panic.
Unless you’re on the punt squad.