There's an expectation from former Redskins players, the ones who suited up during the oft-referred to "glory days," that the current guys uphold that legacy that was built before them.
Therefore, when that doesn't happen — when things turn ugly like they did on Monday night against the Panthers in a 26-15 loss — the previous generation of Burgundy and Gold stars aren't shy about voicing their displeasure.
And that's exactly what ex-quarterback Mark Rypien, who was in attendance and witnessed the debacle firsthand, did on Tuesday during a call with the Sports Junkies.
If you're hoping for an optimistic take on what happened in Washington's matchup with Carolina, then you're in the wrong spot. But if you're looking for a straightforward opinion that doesn't include a single grain of sugar on it, get comfortable.
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"When you control your own destiny and come out and play a game like that last night, I don't think that's the character we were looking for out of a team that played pretty well all season long," Rypien told the Junkies. "That just seemed to be just a lack of effort from the get-go, just kind of came through the whole game and couldn't finish anything. So, it was pretty tragic, considering where they were, knowing they had their own destiny in hand and brought an effort like that to the table."
After questioning the team's effort, Rypien was then asked what he thought about the environment at FedEx Field for the almost must-win affair. He didn't come across as impressed, to say the least.
"We started out with a little bit of a bad vibe," he said, noting that the stadium was still filling up at kickoff. "We never got any reason to get the fans involved, and I think everyone was looking to get that 12th man behind 'em, but we were never given a reason to do so. And Carolina did such a good job of keeping us off our best game, that it was just a matter of time, and we never did get our traction, really."
The discussion then turned to a comparison between FedEx Field, where the Redskins are a dreadful 2-16 in Monday night contests, and the hallowed RFK Stadium. In his review of the former, the Super Bowl champion said it doesn't come close to what the latter used to be like.
"There just seems to be something missing there, I don't know what it is," Rypien said. "It's a larger stadium, it doesn't have the intimacy that RFK had, and I just feel that people — it's not passionate like it once was. It's not that intimate setting, it's not a ticket that you can't get a ticket for. It's like, okay, everyone can get a ticket now to FedEx. It just becomes a situation now, on a big game, a high stage, that we're not performing at the level we need to. That's frustrating."
Overall, Rypien, like Brian Mitchell was and like countless other old Redskins likely were, simply sounded baffled at how a group of players who knew they couldn't come out flat ended up coming out flat. So while his comments above were quite poignant and very interesting, it was his following six words that summed things up the best.
"They're just letting this opportunity go."
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