For the Washington Football Team, the next few weeks won't exactly go as originally planned. In a season filled with audibles due to the coronavirus pandemic, postponements and switch-arounds have finally reached Washington.
Washington will be playing its Week 13 matchup against the Steelers on Monday evening rather than Sunday due to an outbreak in the Baltimore Ravens organization that pushed back the AFC North rival's Week 12 game by nearly a week.
From there, Washington will travel to Arizona to play the 49ers in Week 14 due to Santa Clara County's COVID-19 restrictions keeping San Francisco from playing in its home stadium for now.
It's slight changes that don't throw off everything for Washington, but in a game built on routine, it can be easy for players to grow frustrated and flustered -- especially when none of this was their doing.
However, head coach Ron Rivera doesn't want his team to focus on the uncontrollable.
“But the biggest thing I’ve told them about this type of situation is everything is going to be fluid. So what’s going to happen is if something gets changed don’t make a big deal about it," Rivera said on ESPN Radio's 'Keyshawn, JWill and Zuban.' "Just accept it as the new normal, let’s go forward.”
“Because if you sit there and whine and complain about things, you’re going to lose your focus," Rivera said.
The focus for Washington is winning football games. After 12 weeks, the 4-7 record has it tied atop the NFC East with a real chance at making the playoffs. Picking up a victory over the Steelers or 49ers (or both) would be instrumental in their race to seven wins.
In order to do so, they'll have to win at unconventional times in unconventional places. Yet in 2020, a majority of the season has been unconventional, and Washington has dealt with its fair share of adversity. Still, they are right in the thick of the competition largely because Rivera has kept his players locked on the ultimate goal of winning.
"We got to keep out focus on winning football games or trying to win football games as opposed to ‘oh we got to play on Monday night, oh we got to play in Arizona,'" Rivera said. “That’s not the important thing. Don’t make things that are interesting, important. What’s really important is the game we’re about to play.”