ASHBURN, Va. - Compare what was said Wednesday by Robert Griffin III and Mike Shanahan. One sounds like a stereotypical coach. The other could be mistaken for an overeager player.
A case of role reversal hit the Washington Redskins on Wednesday. The rookie quarterback, on the day of his Pro Bowl selection, downplayed Sunday's winner-take-all game against the Dallas Cowboys with one-game-at-a-time-type answers, while the veteran hard-nosed coach was the one whose words could be featured on a banner to promote a game that will decide the NFC East.
"It's the biggest stage, but none of us are looking at it that way," Griffin said. "It's another game we have to go out and win, and that's the way we look at it."
After Griffin left the room, along came Shanahan, who is looking to end a personal playoff drought. The coach won two Super Bowls with John Elway and the Denver Broncos in the 1990s but lost make-or-break games in the final weeks of the 2006 and 2008 seasons. He hasn't been to the postseason since 2005.
"These are the games you'll remember for the rest of your life. Win or go home," Shanahan said. "I don't care what playoff game, when I look back as an assistant or as a head coach, you go back and you think about the great experiences you had or the bad memories you have.
"You want to take advantage of these opportunities when they exist. They don't come around every day. And when they do come around, you want to make sure that you play your best and you prepare yourself the best possible way."
Stay medium? Or get pumped? Think of it like any other game? Or treat it as special?
Or somehow do both?
With all due respect to Griffin - who has deservedly won praise all season for having poise beyond his years - the coach probably comes closer to reflecting the attitude in the locker room.
After all, the Redskins haven't been to the playoffs since 2007, and they haven't won a division title since 1999.
"This has only happened to me once before, where if you win that final game, you've got a playoff spot," left guard Kory Lichtensteiger said.
"It's a special feeling, and when you go a lot of seasons in a row without really playing for anything meaningful in December, it's quite a change."