Overlooking, disrespecting, underestimating, ignoring. Call it what you want. Case Keenum didn't label it with a single word, but overall, he's noticed how the 2019 Redskins are receiving next to no attention.
Heading into Week 1, it's the kind of position he relishes being in.
"Nobody is talking about us, nobody expects much from us," Keenum said during his weekly press conference on Wednesday. "I think it's a pretty good place to be in. I think we got a lot of fight in that locker room, especially on our side of the football. So I'm excited to go out there and show what we're about."
Keenum's only been around this franchise for a few months, but he's spot on.
Even though in-season success has long been hard for the Redskins to capture, they haven't had any trouble drumming up hope each offseason under Jay Gruden and long before him. This time around, though, even hope appears to be on limited supply, and predictions about Washington's eventual record back that up.
Well, if anyone needs to borrow any optimism, Keenum's got extra. When talking to the media, he rattled off how confident he is in his unproven receivers, an offensive line that's missing its foundational piece and a system he's still relatively new to.
"I know we'll be locked and loaded and ready to go," he said.
In the locker room, Chris Thompson was asked if he agrees with Keenum's assessment of how the Redskins are being viewed. The running back mentioned how he's seen all types of chatter about his organization in the past — from projections of division titles to thoughts of dreadful finishes — and explained how he doesn't let it bother him too much.
Even so, it definitely does bother him.
"A lot of people out there that have these big jobs think we're going to be pretty bad this year, and that's OK," Thompson said. "As we go on this season, we win some games that nobody expects us to win, then we'll be able to shut their mouths. That's just how we have to go about it."
The reasons for doubting what the Redskins can do these next four months are obvious. Trent Williams' future being so unclear may top the list, but not far behind are questions about what the quarterbacks will produce, which receivers can become viable targets, Jordan Reed's health and whether a defense with so much talent can put it together on a weekly basis.
Still, Keenum remains upbeat, which he absolutely needs to be. The veteran believes his unit will mesh and develop through each matchup — "It's kind of a like a living thing" — and, overall, he's been through enough football to know who emerges in the fall and winter aren't always the squads who were praised all spring and summer.
"It's a new team, it's a new year and that's what's so great about the NFL," he said. "There's just no telling and that's just what's so much fun about this league."
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