LANDOVER, MD - DECEMBER 12: Fans of the Washington Redskins cheer against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at FedExField on December 12, 2010 in Landover, Maryland. The Buccaneers defeated the Redskins 17-16. (Photo by Larry French/Getty Images)
With Sunday's agonizing loss to the Buccaneers, the seemingly inevitable became certain -- the Redskins were mathematically eliminated from playoff contention. If only they played in the NFC West, they might still have an outside shot.
2010 marks the 15th time in the last 18 seasons the 'Skins will miss out on the postseason dance. The loss also clinched the team posting a losing record at home for the third consecutive season.
To put a finer point on the last 18 years of mostly futility: the seven times the Redskins finished with a losing home record was seven more times than they did in the 24 seasons prior to 1993. Five of them have happened in the last eight seasons.
So, suffice it to say, FedEx Field doesn't seem to provide quite the home field advantage that RFK Stadium did in its heyday. Not that the vast majority of Burgandy and Gold fans didn't already suspect as much.
Rather than continue to sulk over what's done, what is the focus for the team going foward? On Monday, Mike Shanahan tried to adopt a more realistic approach to team building with the future offering a tough slog back to respectability.
"Going from four wins to a chance to win a Super Bowl takes some time," Shanahan said Monday. "It doesn't happen overnight. And it's a day-by-day process. There's a lot to do in the offseason, relative to the draft and free agency, and we've still got three games of evaluation against three pretty good football teams, and we'll get a good feel who will be with us after taking a look at the next three games."
If the season ended today, there would be at least seven teams with worse records assured of draft spots higher than the Redskins. Washington is tied with five other teams at 5-8. Tiebreakers for draft position are determined by strength of schedule. Of course, with the season not actually ending today, there's still three more weeks for significant shuffling in that order.
What they would do with that obviously varies depending on position and the needs of teams drafting ahead of them.
Receiver is a clear immediate need, but certainly not the only one for this team. More help is needed on the offensive and defensive lines.
Mike Shanahan has never been a huge proponent of high-profile running backs, and Ryan Torain may have secured himself a place on the team in the future with Clinton Portis' career nearing its conclusion.
The Redskins are a team needing many things and might just be best suited taking the best talent available at whatever their draft position ends up being.