It would be easy for the Redskins to give up.
With just two contests remaining in the 2019 season, Washington has won just three of their first 14 games. For the fourth consecutive January, the Burgundy and Gold will have to press a button on a TV remote in order to watch playoff football.
Although the final two weeks of the season are essentially meaningless for the Redskins in regards to 2019, defensive lineman Matt Ioannidis doesn't believe this team will let up or change their focus at all.
"As a young team, we see it still [the season] as game in and game out, no matter the situation, as an opportunity to improve and get better, work on your craft," Ioannidis told NBC Sports Washington's JP Finlay. "We've been in a good mindset this year cohesively as a team that no one has gotten down on the fact, no one has been into the whole 'Oh, it's over, Let's call it a day.'"
The 25-year-old pointed out that Washington has been playing a lot of young guys on both sides of the ball. Heck, in just his fourth NFL season, Ioannidis is already the longest-tenured player on the Redskins defensive line.
The youth on the team is a major reason the Redskins continue to play hard each week, Ioannidis says.
"We are very young. A lot or rookies playing, a lot of second-year guys playing," he said. "When you have a young team like that, I don't think that, 'Oh, we're not playing for the playoffs,' I don't think that creeps in as much. Guys are still ascending, rising and developing."
Take a look at the Redskins defense; it's not just the offense that has a young core to build around. Ioannidis is 25. Jonathan Allen is 24. Daron Payne is just 22. First-round pick Montez Sweat is 23. Cole Holcomb is 23. Landon Collins, who has five more years on his contract, is only 25. Quinton Dunbar, who has had a career-season in 2019, is just 27.
Of course, with any team that plays a lot of young guys, there are growing pains. We've seen multiple coverage busts and missed tackles form the Redskins defense this season. Those things are going to happen.
"At times, we haven't done our best for everyone to do their job individually," Ioannidis said. "I think the scheme is really good, and we just have to focus as players on executing our role within the scheme. The scheme is solid and it falls on us to execute. It's better for everyone to be on the same page then for 10 to be in the right."
While the results may not be what the Redskins want in 2019, they have a lot of young pieces to assemble a devastating defense in the future.
"I think the future is bright. We have a tremendous upside," Ioannidis said. "I think we've scratched the surface of it at times. I know that when we all play on the same page, when everyone does their 1/11th, there is no limit to how good we can be."
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