Scot McCloughan's choices, other factors have impacted team's attitude

John Keim: I wanted to talk about this because it incorporates what several others wanted to know, about whether or not the “circus” has left town because of how calm it’s been for several weeks. I would say this: It’s calm because the Redskins have won games of late, something they had not done in the past two seasons. When you don’t win and you have coaches on the hot seat all the time, then the circus never quite leaves. It’ll be back if the Redskins start losing a lot of games. But if quarterback Kirk Cousins plays well and the Redskins win? You’ll enjoy a peaceful season. And sometimes it’s not just drama, it’s who moves the needle. Like it or not, from a national perspective it’s Robert Griffin III. So if he ever elevates to the No. 2 position then there will be more attention heaped this way.

But as far as McCloughan and the impact on attitudes, I don’t think his presence alone can do that. In Dan Snyder’s first year he actually thought he could motivate players by demanding they play well or else. It’s not that simple. But where McCloughan’s influence in that can be felt is who he signs and drafts. Chris Culliver has had off-field problems, but players and coaches love his toughness and attitude. It rubs off. Same with Dashon Goldson, minus the off-field issues. Same with Terrance Knighton. When you bring in players like this who play well and mesh? It helps the attitude.

I do sense a different attitude than the past two years when, for me, they were always too loose and lacked an urgency I’ve seen from prior teams. I like the approach of some of the rookies -- actually, with most of them. That changes attitudes, too. Same with having different coaches, but that’s also on coach Jay Gruden. It also helps having better depth in some areas, whether it’s just to provide more competition or to replace an injured starter. They have a ways to go here. But McCloughan has helped with some of his choices. For the first time in a while I feel there’s a young core to build around (that includes some of the draft picks from 2014 as well).