The Washington Football Team followed up its exceedingly uninspiring performance against the Saints on Sunday with an exceedingly uninspiring round of press conferences.
To be fair, it's not like Ron Rivera or his players were going to provide something while at the postgame podium that would ease the pain of Week 5's loss.
Sadly, what they did end up sharing with the media actually made the club's current position feel direr.
Here's a rundown of a few particularly discouraging statements by members of the Burgundy and Gold after the meeting with New Orleans.
1) Rivera on his team's mental standing
The quote: "I think we lack a little bit of confidence right now. We had a little bit of confidence, we made some things happen, then we made a couple of mistakes and lost a little bit of confidence. We need to keep our confidence level up if we expect to give ourselves a chance to win football games."
The analysis: If the locker room is unsteady as of now, how will they feel after dealing with Patrick Mahomes and Aaron Rodgers the next two Sundays?
Perhaps the best trait that Washington possessed in 2020 was their resilience, and that resilience was only possible because they believed that they could overcome anything, whether that be a halftime deficit, issues at quarterback or a head coach in a cancer battle.
With a 2-3 record, the franchise could really use another round of resolve in 2021, though waiting for that will be fruitless if there's self-doubt already brewing among those who take the field.
2) Landon Collins on the defense just before halftime
The quote: "We were thinking field goal, not Hail Mary. When the ball went up in the air, we were, um, we just weren't prepared for that... That just wasn't what we were expecting."
The analysis: .............
Sure, wondering if the Saints would try to execute a quick throw in order to set up a field goal to wrap up the first half is legitimate. That's always a popular move in those spots.
Yet that doesn't mean that Washington's defenders shouldn't have also been ready to, you know, make an effort to retreat to their end zone (or perhaps even station someone there in the first place) once they realized what was going on, then make an effort to jostle with Marquez Callaway, then make an effort to knock Jameis Winston's pass down to the grass.
Instead, what Collins and Co. did was allow one of the most simple Hail Marys of all time thanks to their baffling confusion, which leads to quote No. 3 of this story.
3) Matt Ioannidis on the mood after that Hail Mary
The quote: "Those are tough, because then you go into halftime and everyone's reliving it, unfortunately."
The analysis: So, what do you get when you mix a shortage of confidence with a scarcity of preparation?
A collection of players reeling after the second quarter and before the third.
Though others tried to act like bouncing back from that Winston strike wasn't all that difficult, Ioannidis' take is much easier to envision. It's more upsetting to envision, too, because the act that contributed to their grief was totally preventable.
4) William Jackson III on the defense's performance
The quote: "I feel like we played better. I’m not gonna say we played worse but obviously there’s things we gotta work through and that we gotta get fixed."
The other quote: "We have things to build off of. Everybody wants to harp on the negative, but there were some great plays out there. We got some picks, we got some sacks, we did a lot of things today that we can build off of."
The analysis: Choosing between these two remarks was not doable, so let's just drop both of them into this space and marvel at them.
For Jackson III to come away from that outing convinced that things were "better" and his unit has stuff "to build off of" is interesting. There are other words for it, but interesting gets the nod here.
Jackson III and the rest of his peers on defense have maintained that their flaws are correctable as they emit optimism that's getting harder and harder to understand.
If they continue to make, and continue to buy into, these types of declarations, their breakthrough may never come. At some point, they must admit that they're outright failing and not just a tweak or two away.