ASHBURN, Va. (AP) A team that's spent much of last few years explaining what happened during a loss is now having to explain its behavior after a loss.
Washington Redskins coach Jay Gruden and his players on Wednesday downplayed the unexpectedly light atmosphere witnessed by reporters following a 27-17 loss to the Seattle Seahawks, with several players rhetorically asking just how a professional athlete is supposed to carry himself in the wake of defeat.
''Would it have been better if people were throwing their helmets up against lockers and turning over Gatorade coolers?'' veteran defensive lineman Kedric Golston said. ''We're professionals, and I'm pretty sure I'm going to get some flak for saying that, but judge us by what we do on the field.''
Gruden did not witness the scene after the Monday night game, but he said he looked into it and decided it was ''majorly overblown.''
''Majorly, majorly overblown,'' Gruden said. ''I talked to the guys right after the game and everybody is dejected. There's sweat dripping down or bleeding all over the place and we lost the game at home. Nobody likes to lose at home, and they were dejected.''
Minutes later, after Gruden had left to go speak at a news conference, offensive captain Trent Williams and Pierre Garcon were among players joking and laughing. Overall, the locker room didn't have usual vibe of a team that had lost by double digits in prime time and has dropped 17 of 21 since the start of last season. Linebacker Brian Orakpo, for example, said the Redskins (1-4) could ''hang our heads high'' while preparing for the next game after going ''toe-to-toe'' with the reigning Super Bowl champions.
Gruden said he went back and examined how Williams and Garcon had played against the Seahawks.
''There was no doubt in my mind that they played their (butts) off on every snap of the game,'' Gruden said. ''One of them (Williams) was playing on a sore knee and blocked his butt off and was running around all over the joint, and his effort in the game and his desire, I will never question it. So I don't really have a problem with it and I don't see a problem with it.''
Williams and Garcon both declined comment Wednesday.
Golston pointed out how everyone reacts differently to difficult circumstances.
''People, when they're happy, laugh and they cry,'' Golston said. ''So I think it's unfair to say how a man feels, or the importance of a game, by just how you think the locker room is. We're 1-4, nobody's happy, but just because you think we're not acting the way that you think we should be acting, don't sit up there and try to make a big fuss out of something.''
Veteran safety Ryan Clark, who worked as a television commentator during the offseason, tried to turn the tables on the reporters, asking them how they have handled losing in the NFL.
''Y'all have no idea how somebody's supposed to behave after a loss,'' he said. ''Y'all have no idea if they can laugh, if that's the right way to handle it. Y'all have no idea if I get (ticked) off and don't want to talk to y'all, if that's the right way to handle it. Does that show I'm upset about a loss, if, when, you guys come to talk to me, I don't want to give you a quote?
''Well then you say, `That Ryan Clark, he really cares. He lost the game and he refused to talk to us.' Or you will write that I'm a sore loser. You will write, `After wins, Ryan Clark is willing to talk to the media, but today he isn't.'''
Clark said a better sign of a player's professionalism is how hard he works preparing for a game. Clark said he was at Redskins Park at 6 a.m. Wednesday to watch film in the meeting room - although he also said there were no teammates with him.
Clark, who spent the previous eight seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers, also said that the fans of his former team took losing harder because of a long history of success.
''The different is the entire culture of the community. People took off work on Mondays in Pittsburgh when we lost,'' he said. ''Going into Monday night, I'm not sure many Washington Redskins fans thought we were going to win. It was never like that in Pittsburgh.''
Not long after Clark spoke, it was time for reporters to leave the locker room. As they walked out the door, one player quipped loud enough for all to hear: ''We can joke around again.''
Notes: Gruden's self-deprecating candor showed itself again when he was asked by Arizona Cardinals reporters about quarterback Kirk Cousins saying the offense was ''close.'' ''Close to being good? I didn't know,'' Gruden said. ''Close to what? ... I think we can be close to a lot of different things the way you look at it.'' ... LB Perry Riley (sprained left knee) was unable to practice and moved gingerly as he worked through drills on an adjacent field. Will Compton would make a first career start if Riley can't play.
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