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If the Redskins truly believe they're 'close' to winning, then they won't ever start winning

If the Redskins truly believe they're 'close' to winning, then they won't ever start winning

Over the last four seasons, the Redskins are 31-32-1. 

Mediocrity defined.

Problem is, the team believes they're on the verge of something grander.

"We're in the middle of the pack," Bruce Allen told reporters Tuesday at the Senior Bowl. "It means you're close, it means you're close to being better."

"Yeah, we were two games out of a playoff," Allen added later while reviewing the 2018 campaign. "No matter how you want to look at the season, we were two games out of it, and the year before we were one game out of it, and the year before we were one game out of it."

Four years. One forgettable playoff appearance followed by three misses.

If Washington truly thinks that they're legitimately close to breaking through, then they will never break through.

Think back to this past weekend, where four elite groups battled it out for Super Bowl spots in two epic duels. Can you imagine this iteration of the Burgundy and Gold ever reaching that level of football?

Sure, if you ignored the many flaws, perhaps you felt the 6-3 'Skins who led the division back in November could do some measure of damage in the postseason. Allen, Jay Gruden and others in Ashburn point to that stretch whenever they can.

But even that group, when it was still mostly healthy, felt at least a level below top contenders. They came out totally flat in their home opener, suffered a pair of 24-point losses and gave up 500 yards to Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Bucs during those nine contests.

You know the rest ‚ÄĒ multiple quarterbacks went down as did a slew of other contributors, and the Redskins' hopes went with them.

"We didn't finish strong," Allen said. "I'm not going to use injuries as an excuse because we had some opportunities to win some games at the end of the year that we didn't."

He's right in not wanting to use the battered roster as an excuse. But even then, he brought up the "heartbreaking injuries" again later on and mentioned hopefully having a "healthy team for the 2019 season" when answering a question about bringing Gruden back as coach.

And therein lies the issue.

Even when everyone's on the field, there currently aren't enough difference-makers to elevate this bunch out of the "middle of the pack." 

Plus, who cares about being one or two games out of a playoff spot?

That may signal something worth building upon in the much longer seasons of the NBA, NHL or MLB, but in the NFL, where you only play 16 times, one or two games represents a significant gap in quality.

Yes, there's something to the Redskins finding themselves on somewhat stable ground. That hasn't been the case for much of this century.

That said, Washington absolutely can't get comfortable with where it is and must avoid acting as if it's on the cusp of something special.

"If we can keep our team together," Allen said, "I think [the fans] saw a good football team."

As long as that's the thought process, the only thing Redskins fans will see are other franchises playing in January and February while theirs keeps coming up short.

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Roger Goodell releases statement condemning racism, admits NFL was wrong not listening to players

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Roger Goodell releases statement condemning racism, admits NFL was wrong not listening to players

Over the past couple of weeks, several athletes and many others have made their voices heard on the racial injustices in America following the death of George Floyd.  A number of NFL stars released a joint video statement late Thursday evening, requesting the league to speak up more on the matter.

The NFL had previously released a statement last Saturday expressing condolences to the families of Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery, but it didn't speak on the racism that black Americans are constantly faced with.

On Friday, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell issued a strong response to his players, condemning racism and admitting the league was wrong in not listening to its players earlier.

"We, the National Football League, condemn racism and the systematic oppression of black people," Goodell said. "We, the National Football League, admit we were wrong for not listening to NFL players earlier and encourage all to speak out and peacefully protest."

Below is a transcript of Goodell's entire statement:

It has been a difficult time in our country, in particular, black people in our country. First, my condolences to the families of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and all the families that have endured police brutality. We, the National Football League, condemn racism and the systematic oppression of black people. We, the National Football League, admit we were wrong for not listening to NFL players earlier and encourage all to speak out and peacefully protest. We, the National Football League, believe Black Lives Matter. I personally protest with you and want to be a part of the much needed change in this country. Without black players there would be no National Football League. And the protests around the country are emblematic of the centuries of silence, inequality, and oppression of black players, coaches, fans, and staff. We are listening, I am listening, and I will be reaching out to players who have raised their voices, and others on how we can move forward together for a better and more united NFL family.

These issues were first brought to the NFL forefront in 2016, when ex-San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick kneeled for the national anthem as a way to peacefully protest and raise awareness for racial injustice in America. Kaepernick has not played a snap since he parted ways with the 49ers following that season.

Redskins running back Adrian Peterson said Friday that he, along with many of his peers, plan to kneel for the anthem when the season returns this fall.

Goodell's statement, which directly addressed police brutality and racial injustices in America, is a sign the NFL is moving in the right direction regarding these issues.

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WATCH: Ron Rivera returns to Redskins Park for first time since March

WATCH: Ron Rivera returns to Redskins Park for first time since March

For the first time in over 11 weeks, head coach Ron Rivera and several members of the coaching staff returned to Redskins Park on Friday.

The Redskins' video crew documented the staff's return to the Ashburn facilities, as the team had several safety precautions in place for the coaches when they arrived.

In the video, you can see Rivera and several staff members go through a temperature check, making sure each one of them was healthy enough to report. There video also showed there are plenty of hand sanitizer stations throughout the lobby of the facility, too.

Additionally, everyone shown in the video was wearing a mask, including a pretty sweet custom one for the head coach.

Rivera's mask featured the head coach's signature 'Riverboat Ron' logo, which is also his profile picture on Twitter.

Friday marked the first time in almost three months that Rivera was allowed to report to the Redskins facilities, as the league sent out a memo to all 32 clubs on March 19 that all facilities must close due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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The NFL announced on May 19 that teams were allowed to reopen facilities should state and local regulations allow it, but head coaches were not permitted. Earlier this week, the league finally allowed head coaches to return as early as Friday. 

The league has yet to announce a date when players are allowed to return to team facilities. As it stands now, only those players who are injured or undergoing medical treatment are allowed in the building.

As Rivera returned to work, he explained he only has one thing in mind as he plans for the few months ahead.

"The biggest thing is starting to get everything set for training camp," Rivera said. "We have everything ready just in case we get the opportunity for some work with the players before the end of OTAs and minicamp, but the biggest thing we can do now is start to get ready for training camp."

When Redskins training camp will begin has not formally been announced yet, but the team's annual fall camp is expected to begin at some point towards the end of July. Washington will not be traveling to their typical Richmond location, as the NFL announced earlier this week that all training camp activities will be held at each team's respective facilities.

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