On Halloween, the Redskins suffered a “spooky” 12-point loss to the Detroit Lions which was marred in controversy by the media.
Not only was it the second straight loss to the Lions but Head Coach Mike Shanahan made the surprising move of benching quarterback Donovan McNabb in favor of backup Rex Grossman to run the two minute offense at the end of the game.
While the decision to bench a future Hall of Famer in a crucial point of a game has come under much scrutiny, plenty of fingers were pointed at McNabb for his inaccuracy and questionable decision-making as well. Despite his troubles so far this season, linebacker Andre Carter has faith in the offensive leader.
“He has been benched [before] and the following weeks he performed at a level that was so phenomenal,” Carter said. “What happened in Detroit was in the past. This is a new week and I'm sure this game is an incentive to him. Regardless who we play, he is always ready and prepared to be the best against the best.”
Not only did McNabb and the offense make mistakes late in the game, the defense did as well.
“Detroit was a nightmare. I know our offense had a rough day but they made plays. We played well on defense but we made mental errors in the fourth quarter. It was a disappointing game but we have moved on,” Carter said.
Thanks to a well-timed bye week, Carter was more than happy to move on after a game in which the defense gave up three touchdowns to Lions star receiver Calvin Johnson. Carter decided not to travel during the bye, using his time to rest and get his mind off of football.
“I stayed within the Virginia area. All I did was sleep and spend time with the family. I kept it low-key,” he said.
While some of the younger guys tend to leave the area and have a vacation during their breaks, Carter says that age has changed his perspective on how to spend his time off.
“[In the past] I've done both, from staying home [to] traveling,” he said. “The older I get, the more I stay home. It feels as if traveling takes more out of me than anything. Regardless, bye week is bye week. It’s great to unwind and get a break from the mental and physical aspects of pro football.”
Even during a time of rest, Carter knows that his upcoming adversary, the surging Philadelphia Eagles, are going to provide a big test on Monday Night Football. He even occasionally imagined how the game would play out but those thoughts didn’t last long.
“It's a slow process. At times I may anticipate what my next opponent will try against us. But then I snap out of it once my soon-to-be 3-year-old punches me and tries to run away,” he said.
Speaking of being physical, that’s how the Redskins will have to play against quarterback Michael Vick in order to keep the Eagles offense contained. Vick was knocked out of the first quarter with a rib injury in the Redskins previous meeting with Philadelphia back in Week 4. That injury sidelined him until this past Sunday when he led the Eagles to an impressive victory over the Indianapolis Colts.
“Vick is Vick. I don't think I need to explain what he does,” Carter said. “Upon his return from injury, he is playing as if he never left. He's fast, he's elusive, and makes plays. If we have an opportunity to tackle him, dive for his legs and get him on the ground [we’re going to take it].”
Even without Vick, the Eagles have rolled. Since their 17-12 loss to the Redskins, Philadelphia is 3-1.
“I honestly don't know what has propelled them this far during the season,” Carter said. “Everything is in sync from an offensive, defensive, and special teams perspective. They have players who were hurt that have been slowly coming back. They are on fire. Having a repeat performance within the division isn't easy but nothing is impossible. However, this is a game of inches and division rivalries always come down to the wire.”