Redskins eschew ‘Victory Monday’ after Giants win

There were a few calls of ”Victory Monday,” ”Victory Monday”

in the Washington Redskins locker room after the long overdue win

over the nemesis New York Giants.

Linebacker London Fletcher and other team captains vetoed that

idea in a hurry.

The Redskins didn’t have the day off frequently given to NFL

players after a win. They reported to the team facility Monday to

review film, get some time in the weight room and then head to the

field to review ”corrections” from Sunday’s 28-14 season

opener.

”There has never been a time in the past,” said tight end

Chris Cooley, who has been with the team since 2004, ”where the

players said `We’re going to come in and work – we’re not going to

take a day off.”’

According to the players, there was no grousing – at least not

out loud – when Fletcher spoke up. The more conscientious ones

would have showed up anyway to do individually the work they ended

up doing as a group. Besides, this year’s Redskins say they have a

new, confident attitude that makes them want to put in the extra

hours.

”That’s the different mindset that this team has,” fullback

Darrel Young said. ”That’s the best thing I’ve heard all season so

far. We don’t want Monday off. I know London has a (Super Bowl)

ring, but he wants another one. Being behind a leader like that,

this is where I want to be.”

Fletcher tried to downplay his role in nixing the push for

Victory Monday, saying he felt coach Mike Shanahan wasn’t going to

grant a day off so early in the season.

But the veteran gave another reason for wanting to hang around

the building. Redskins Park is a happier place right now, almost

distraction-free. It got to be such a drag over the years for a

captain like Fletcher – even after a victory – to come in and deal

with Albert Haynesworth or Clinton Portis or a coach under fire or

a retired Bingo-caller being hired to rescue the offense – or some

other bizarre saga.

”Coach Shanahan, he and (general manager) Bruce Allen have come

in and cleaned out a lot of the negativity that’s been around this

place, this building, this team, for a number of years,” Fletcher

said. ”It’s great to be able to come in and just focus on football

and not have to worry about answering questions about this

teammate, this distraction, this situation.”

”Several years ago I was thinking, `Man, how much longer do I

even want to be a part of this?’ It definitely rejuvenates you. You

enjoy coming to work, and that hasn’t always been the case when

you’re dealing with some of the stuff that’s been around here in

the past.”

For what it’s worth, Shanahan said he wasn’t planning to call a

Victory Monday. Shanahan, who incidentally claims to be the coach

who invented the Victory Monday concept with the Denver Broncos in

the 1990s, said he was ”very impressed” when Fletcher made it a

moot point.

”When London said that, it made it a whole lot easier,”

Shanahan said.

There were, indeed, several reasons to show up for work,

especially for the starters along the offensive line. Rex Grossman

was sacked four times, and the Redskins’ running backs managed a

meager 2.8 yards per carry against a much-depleted Giants defensive

line.

”We’re not getting our (butts) kicked,” center Will Montgomery

said. ”We’re just not clean on a few things, which is very

correctable.”

But, overall, it’s been a long time since the Redskins have been

so exuberant one game into a season. Maybe it’s because they

finally beat the Giants after a six-game skid against the NFC East

rival. Maybe it’s because they finally won a game going away –

their biggest margin of victory last year was just six points.

Cooley, for his part, doesn’t want to temper the excitement,

saying he hasn’t felt this good about the team since the late

playoff run in 2005.

”I don’t think anyone needs to pump the breaks right now,”

Cooley said. ”I think everyone needs to continue to build on the

excitement. Everyone needs to continue to build on the confidence.

Obviously we’re not going to go into a game and overlook an

opponent, but we need to go into games saying we’re going to win

this football game – not we can play with these guys, or we can do

well.”

Running back Tim Hightower was first to sign up. He’s already

guaranteeing a win on Sunday over his old team, the Arizona

Cardinals.

”We’re going to win this game,” Hightower said. ”I want to

win this game. This one means a lot to me.”

Joseph White can be reached at http://twitter.com/JGWhiteAP