With the Redskins coming off two closes losses on the road, head coach Joe Gibbs does not want his team to let up in its intensity level. That's why he took umbrage with media reports on Monday suggesting that this Sunday's game against the 1-4 San Francisco 49ers is one that the Redskins should win.
"The reason why those comments upset me," Gibbs said, "is that this game is critical for us. We have a chance to play another NFC team at our place. I think our fans understand it and I think our football team understands it. I would like for everybody else to understand it.
"This game will go down to the last play, in all likelihood. Everybody in the NFL can beat everybody else."
Like the Kansas City Chiefs last week, the 49ers are coming off of a bye. The Chiefs defeated the Redskins 28-21 at Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday.
In his day-after recap of the game, Gibbs said that he expected to institute some new practice drills that emphasized protecting the football and forcing turnovers.
The Redskins have committed 10 turnovers this season, while forcing just one fumble and one interception. The minus-8 turnover differential ranks them 31st in the league.
"In practice is the best place to work on it," Gibbs said. "The defense has a period where they do a little bit of strip drills and tip drills. They do everything by group. We may change it up and put a little special emphasis where we work against each other. We try to put a big emphasis on stripping the ball."
Added Gibbs: "[The minus-8 turnover differential] puts us in a real bind because you're not going to play on that side of giveaway-takeaway ratio and win many football games."
In general, Gibbs said that the Redskins' defense has played well over the first five games but has given up big plays that have proven costly.
In the Week 5 game at Denver, Broncos' running back Tatum Bell had touchdown runs of 34- and 55-yards. On Sunday at Kansas City, quarterback Trent Green connected with running back Priest Holmes on a 60-yard touchdown that proved to be the game-winning score for the Chiefs.
"We are not used to people breaking a big play on us," Gibbs said. "[The Holmes touchdown] was a fantastic run by the running back where he got into open field there. We are playing very physical, but big plays are our problem. That'll be our focus, eliminating the big plays on defense."