Winning seven games in a row to close out the 2012 season – as well as capturing the team's first division title in more than a decade – was more than enough motivation for the Washington Redskins to have another successful year in 2013.
But after a 4-0 run through the preseason, the Redskins just couldn't capture that regular-season magic from the year before. When all was said and done, the team had finished with a 3-13 record – this time losing eight straight games to end the year.
Although 2013 was a forgettable season for many Washington Redskins fans, the players on the team aren't going to forget about those struggles anytime soon.
Instead of simply trying to erase those memories, left tackle Trent Williams said it's important to remember those depths while the team tries to get back to winning football.
"You got to know what falling down feels like," Williams said. "You have to know what losing feels like to want to win, and a season like that, you can't forget that."
Williams was one of the definite bright spots for the team in 2013, earning his second-straight Pro Bowl selection and cementing his name among the best left tackles in the league.
And while those accolades are nice for any player, Williams – a two-time team captain – said it's important for the entire team to be successful.
"It has to be that motivation to say, 'Look, we're too talented to go 3-13 again,'" Williams said. "There's nothing we can do about it now. We had the talent to perform with anybody, and we didn't come together like we were supposed to and we didn't win games like we were supposed to. That needs to be in our back pocket at all times and be a driving force."
To help right the ship, the Redskins in January hired Jay Gruden as their head coach. Several players have talked about a different atmosphere within their headquarters in Loudoun County, Va., but nose tackle Barry Cofield said the team must take its offseason workouts seriously to really get back on the right track.
"I think this time is very important for building the foundation," Cofield said of the team's offseason workouts, which began Monday with a two-week period of on-field conditioning and weight lifting. "But all this is for naught if we don't execute this year."
Cofield said the team certainly has Super Bowl aspirations, but added, "I'm not necessarily sure you can win the Super Bowl now," during offseason workouts.
"I think you've got to be lucky and you've got to stay healthy and you've really got to execute on Sundays in the fall/winter," he said. "Realistically, you do (offseason workouts) to build – especially with a new coach – and I think it's to inject a new optimism into a franchise."