Dec 24, 2004, 1:56 AM EDT
OK, one last “you heard it here first”. Following the lead set here yesterday afternoon, the Redskins players were almost as annoyed about their Pro Bowl snubs as the blog was:
Most Redskins players couched their disappointment, but the team’s cornerback duo was blunt. ‘I was robbed by someone without a mask,’ Smoot said, his voice tinged with disappointment. ‘Quote me.’
Springs, who is tied for the team high with four interceptions, declared, ‘I played better than any cornerback in the league this season.’
OK, just kidding about the “here first” thing.
There is talk out there that this will lead to the Redskins’ defense playing very inspired football on Sunday. In the same article, Marcus Washington, the only Redskin to make the Pro Bowl, said:
“Guys that walk around not with chips on their shoulders, but with blocks on their shoulders. I think they’re definitely going to take it personal. They’re definitely going to raise their game to an even higher level.”
Washington’s comments aside, I’ve never been much of a believer in things like this inspiring players to significantly better play. If the fact that a man is getting paid anywhere from hundreds of thousands to tens of millions dollars a year to play in an event that happens just 16 times a year doesn’t motivate him to do his absolute best every week isn’t inspration enough, well, he can’t be motivated. On top of that, if a player gets too jacked up on anger over a perceived slight, it could work to his disadvantage, particularly on defense. He could go for the Sports Center highlight big hit at the expense of his assignment.
Still, football is a game of emotion. If the snub helps Cornelius Griffin, Smoot, and Springs focus better and be a half a step faster it could be a slight advantage in the game against the Cowboys. That might help the Skins get ahead early and the emotions could snowball and things could keep going in the Redskins’ favor.
Regardless, I don’t imagine that if the game is close in the waning minutes Smoot will be lining up to cover Keyshwan Johnson and thinking “Man, I’m going to blanket him because I was snubbed for the Pro Bowl.” Smoot will try to cover Johnson like a blanket because it’s his job and it will help his team win.
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