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Posted at 1:19 PM ET, 11/29/2010

For Washington Redskins, it's time to see who has pride

By LaVar Arrington

The Redskins lost to the Minnesota Vikings in a game that, had they won, would have kept their playoff heartbeat steady. Unfortunately, their hopes are now on life support. This team must now run the table to get into the postseason. It's not impossible, but I'm not sure how realistic it is.

Make no mistake, this team still has a chance to show some true character. To me it's not all about the playoffs, although sure it would be nice to see the team pushing for a postseason berth. But I believe it's very important to see which players have that intestinal fortitude to handle the most extreme and adverse situations.

I'm positive that every team that knows how to win had to learn valuable lessons along the way to becoming winners. If the Redskins play their hearts out the rest of the way and compete as though they know what direction they want this team to go in, then I can accept this first season under a new regime without a playoff appearance.

That said, the question in my mind is: Does this team feel that way? It's not easy to play your heart out week in and week out when the labor has losses attached to it. Often times the weather in November and December will convince guys that the effort is not worth it.

Many things start to play on a player's mind when the ultimate goal is on the brink of being dashed or already gone. What will you practice for if there is no Super Bowl in sight? What will you play for when a season with so much promise seems all but lost?

I tell you what I played for, because I know what these guys are going through right now. When all seemed lost and hopeless, I found motivation and comfort in knowing that in spite of the team's record, every practice and every game provided an opportunity to put the past in the past and get better right then and there.

There didn't have to be a playoff game attached or even a Super Bowl, but what I gained from still pushing on was the inner pride of knowing that the man that my father and mother raised was taught to never quit -- and so I didn't. Challenges will find all of us just as sure as the sun rises in the morning and sets in the evening -- there's no way around it.

I remember the first loss I ever had playing football as a kid. I remembered crying so hard I was sobbing. One of my coaches, Coach Beary, was one of those mean coaches who was always screaming and threatening players. We all respected him because he pushed us to be good -- okay, I'm lying, we were all good because he scared us into being good.

But in this one moment he said something to me that I always carried with me from that point on. He asked me a question: Are you crying because we lost or are you crying because you felt you could've done better? Let's keep in mind I'm 9 years old at the time, and I said to him, "Both, I'm mad at both" and he said to me in his raspy voice: "You will be fine. You're one of the ones who care enough to cry, which means you care enough to work hard enough to try to not let it happen again." Then he walked away.

I always kept that moment in my memory because he was right. If a person cares enough about the outcome of what they are a part of, then they will continue to work to make sure the outcome is what they want it to be. Of course it doesn't always work out that way, but I'd be remiss if I didn't approach everything I do with that message in mind. I believe that if a person is to be an ultimate winner they must experience all of the ups and downs that go with competition. All of those experiences drive people to be better or show them their limitations.

This Redskins franchise undoubtedly has seen better days, but adversity has a way of shining a light on the ones who truly care. Those are the guys that championship teams are built with and those are the guys whom the Redskins must identify. Then get rid of the rest and continue that process until there are 53 men who only care about having enough pride to work through all conditions to be a winner.

By LaVar Arrington  | November 29, 2010; 1:19 PM ET
 
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Comments

Check your math, Lavar. They are 2 games behind the Giants and Eagles, with 2 games against the Giants still to be played.

If the Skins win their remaining 5 games, they could, quite possibly, win their division. It wouldn't be easy, but it's far from impossible. They went from 5-6 to 10-6 in 2005. You should remember because you were a part of that team, I recall.

Until they lose their 7th game, they are playing for the division. After that, they will be playing for draft picks, collectively. Individually, some will be playing to keep their jobs next year, while others will be playing for contract extensions.

Posted by: jboogie1 | November 29, 2010 5:11 PM | Report abuse

Check your math, Lavar. They are 2 games behind the Giants and Eagles, with 2 games against the Giants still to be played.

If the Skins win their remaining 5 games, they could, quite possibly, win their division. It wouldn't be easy, but it's far from impossible. They went from 5-6 to 10-6 in 2005. You should remember because you were a part of that team, I recall.

Until they lose their 7th game, they are playing for the division. After that, they will be playing for draft picks, collectively. Individually, some will be playing to keep their jobs next year, while others will be playing for contract extensions.

Posted by: jboogie1 | November 29, 2010 5:12 PM | Report abuse

"Pride" my a _ _!!!, if those losers had ANY pride AT ALL they wouldn't be the team that EVERY OTHER FRANCHISE IN THE NFL PRAYS TO HAVE ON THEIR SCHEDULEEVERY SEASON!

THE DEADSKINS COULDN'T SPELL PRIDE IF YOU GAVE THEM THE FIRST P-R-I-D-DOH!!!!

Posted by: burro2 | November 29, 2010 5:15 PM | Report abuse

"Pride" my a _ _!!!, if those losers had ANY pride AT ALL they wouldn't be the team that EVERY OTHER FRANCHISE IN THE NFL PRAYS TO HAVE ON THEIR SCHEDULEEVERY SEASON!

THE DEADSKINS COULDN'T SPELL PRIDE IF YOU GAVE THEM THE FIRST P-R-I-D-DOH!!!!

Posted by: burro2

interesting name b/c that describes your character. in spanish you'd be called a "pinche culero". google it, pinche culero!

Posted by: charronegro1971 | November 29, 2010 6:30 PM | Report abuse

This article is retarded and written by a chode.....Mike shanahan is a drunk, red faced, angry leprechaun.....He should pack up and head to South Bend and coach Notre Dame. I'm sure they are going to run Brian Kelly out of town on a rail soon. He could be the first COACH/MASCOT in history. Hasta la vista mike....Notre Dame needs you bruddah....that is all

Posted by: CHODE101 | November 29, 2010 6:55 PM | Report abuse

lavar,

thanks for all of your insight and commentary. i find it amazing that you're able and willing to share your perspective on the current redskins team, past skins teams and your personal history. you seemed to really give 100% when you played football and now it seems like you're doing that with your position with the post and your radio program. please keep up the good work!

Posted by: jvarner13131 | November 30, 2010 3:32 AM | Report abuse

>>This article is retarded and written by a chode.....Mike shanahan is [clipped]

>>Posted by: CHODE101 | November 29, 2010 6:55 PM |

Nuff said.

Posted by: fan-o-matic | November 30, 2010 3:43 AM | Report abuse

Pride! they have stunk since 1991 for crying out loud and have not won the division since gramps bush was in office. Moss is a midget wrestler with that goofty hand gesture he does after a 5 yd. curl reception against zone coverage, the defense is dead LAST and people think they are the 75 Steelers, and Shanihan is showing why it was Elway,TD, Sharpe, and Co. that made his 2 years of fame and why he was fired in Denver. He needs to wear a patch for that glass eye because as one official said during sunday's game "it is really starting to creep me out." Rackem, Rack, Rack, Rack.... Willie

Posted by: doyouktt | November 30, 2010 7:31 AM | Report abuse

Only in Washington would you have an article by a former player, who SHOULD know the lay of the land quite well, still talking about "playoff chances".

It's an amazing phenomenon...really, it is.

Posted by: opinionatedinfairfax | November 30, 2010 8:07 AM | Report abuse

You know, for all your people who always like to give LA a hard time, I would love to see you in some pads on a football field getting hit by a 250 pound player coming at you full speed. Like Mike Tyson used to say " We all have a plan until we get hit." The average person has no idea what it is like to sacrifice your health and well-being everytime you step on the field. Please realize that a player can be permanently injured or paralyzed on any given play. Yes, the players understand that when they sign on the line, but if you truly understand and have played the game then you would know that LA deserves a certain amount of repect for the way he played and the fact that he is still healthy enough to still be able to walk and smart enough to save his money and to be able to get the job he has to keep the money coming in.

God did not Bless everyone with the same abilities. Otherwise we would all be the same. Like LA said, you have to weed out those that do not have the heart or ability and build a team based on those that do have what you are looking for. All you arm-chair players need to chill and put the same effort into your families that you put into degrading sports figures. Maybe then we would not have so many of our youths in prisons. Get a grip and look in the mirrow, its the game of football, not the game of life...

Posted by: TEliasB | November 30, 2010 9:30 AM | Report abuse

This is a story that has been told MANY times before during this decade alone. And the common linkage is to the owner and his subordinates who have subordinated the success of the franchise to their own stubborness and incompetency. A primary critical missing element from the teams since Danny took over is continunity. We all know the stats - x number of QB's, coaches, and position players - that reflect a brief stay in DC as the fantasy fades. Until ownership truly changes hands or Danny undergoes a mental makeover, nothing will change and we will find ourselves reading these same opinions that try to explain away what happened and how to correct it.

Posted by: mrsteevo56 | November 30, 2010 11:00 AM | Report abuse

Meh. The Skins season ended when they lost to Detroit. Freakin' Detroit!

I can't believe we're talking about playoffs. Hell, it would take a heroic effort to get to 8-8.

But the best case scenario: the Skins play well but lose every remaining game so they get a great draft pick and can grab another top offensive lineman.

Posted by: diesel_skins_ | November 30, 2010 11:00 AM | Report abuse

Playing for pride? I'll bite. What do they have to be proud of? Being the same crappy team they've been for the last 10 years and counting?

Posted by: tigger0705 | November 30, 2010 11:08 AM | Report abuse

I will be proud of this group if they can limit the Giants to under sixty points on Sunday.

Posted by: David90 | November 30, 2010 11:21 AM | Report abuse

Somehow, I doubt any Redskin that quits on Shanahan will be gone faster than Brandon Banks runs past blocks in the back.

Posted by: clandestinetomcat | November 30, 2010 12:24 PM | Report abuse

Most people are missing the point here. Playoff are largely irrelevant to this team. Who cares if they make the payoffs and get slaughtered in the 1st round. It is about building a foundation for a championship team and when the chips are down, it is easy for coaches to see who the "winners" are on the team. Like he said, get rid of the rest and start building for next year. Shanahan is a good coach not a magician - these things take time.

Posted by: skins10 | November 30, 2010 2:21 PM | Report abuse

One thing is for sure. Carlos "Brick Hands" Rogers has no pride. The Redskins have dropped 4 of 6 games at home this year and all he can do is whine about the hecklers at FedEx Field. Grow some balls 'Los; you are supposed to be a professional you freakin' baby. I hope we don't resign him next year. His type of attitude is what needs to be extracted from our locker room.

Posted by: GloverPark1 | November 30, 2010 4:55 PM | Report abuse

Lavar nakes some good statements. Some of the things he's said I sometimes wondered if it was really him. He's got something going on upstairs. I have a healthy respect for him.

Posted by: hansonharley1 | November 30, 2010 8:41 PM | Report abuse

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