The Redskins’ latest loss can be pinned squarely on head coach Mike Shanahan. Photograph by Brian Murphy
There was supposed to be a plan. Mike Shanahan and Bruce Allen were going to bring some sense of professionalism back to the Washington Redskins franchise. We were told to be patient. We were told it was a process. We were told things were finally going to be different.
Yet here we are, watching the same Redskins we’ve been watching for years. The Redskins that fell to 3–4 when they were drubbed by the Bills back in ’03. The Redskins that scored just three points against a weak Giants defense in ’06. The Redskins that lost to the un-lose-to-able Lions in ’09.
Each of those losses dropped the Redskins a game below .500, and each of them riled up an increasingly frustrated fanbase. Two of those seasons ended with a head coach being shown the door, and it was that Lions loss that set the wheels in motion for Mike Shanahan to take over at Redskins Park. That was Dan Snyder’s solution for fixing the franchise: hire some proven football people and let them go to work. So what now?
After a 23–0 shutout loss to the Buffalo Bills, it’s a question that’s likely being asked by fans and owner alike. Shanahan maintains that he had the team prepared to compete this week. However, all evidence points to the contrary. And if this was a prepared team, I wonder how many sacks an unprepared offense would have conceded against the league’s most toothless pass rush.
While it may be a little early to be calling for Shanahan’s job, it will probably be a popular topic on 106.7 The Fan (and, to a lesser extent, on ESPN 980) all week long. After all, nothing generates phone calls quite like a shutout against the league’s 31st-rated defense. It’s still just year two of the Shanahan makeover. If he wants to be around for year three, it’s time to get this thing going in the right direction. After all, it’s not petulant sports-radio hosts he has to answer to—it’s a petulant Dan Snyder.
For now, let’s try to focus on the positives we can take away from this mess:
For every three-and-out, there was a beautiful punt by Sav Rocca. For every failed offensive play, there was a London Fletcher tackle (he had 20 of them). For every sack taken, there was renewed confidence in John Beck’s ability to take a punch.
All right, so the positives are few and far between. But if you look really hard, you can find them. For instance, we’re still 3–3 in America, where it really matters. And perhaps most important, the Cowboys got absolutely crushed on national television. No matter how bad things get, we’ll always have that.