Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan came to Washington under a very dark cloud. The franchise had produced just 5 winning seasons since their 14-2 1991 Superbowl season. They have gone through 20 quarterbacks and 6 head coaches to that point, seven if you include the brief stint of Terry Robiskie.
In 1999, a young, smart, but egotistical businessman, Daniel Snyder, purchased the franchise after the death of late owner Jack Kente Cook. Snyder embraced a philosophy of active ownership and heavy involvement in roster building. Vinny Cerrato, along with Snyder, inflicted heavy damage on the franchise, spending big free agent dollars and draft picks for over aged prima donnas that produced little on the football field. Not only were there serious salary cap implications from awful contracts but the Redskins traded away draft picks, leaving the franchise drained of young talent.
To emphasize the point just take a look at Cerrato's last few draft classes. Cerrato's last draft class was 2009. The Redskins had 6 draft selections. Only one remains, first rounder Brian Orakpo. Cerrato's 2008 draft class yielded ten draft selections, only two remain, TE Fred Davis and LB Rob Jackson. Cerrato took two wide receivers within the first three picks. Both were complete busts. Neither Devin Thomas or Malcolm Kelly are even in the NFL today. Thomas had one good collegiate season and Kelly had massive knee issues throughout his collegiate career. That did not stop Cerrato from targeting both receivers. Although former Redskin S LaRon Landry was selected to the Pro Bowl yesterday, he is no longer a Redskin. None of the five 2007 draft picks remains on the Redskins. Finally, in 2006, the Redskins had 6 selections. Only Kedric Golston, a reserve defensive lineman, remains on the roster. From 2006 to 2009, the Redskins selected 27 players, of which only 4 remain a part of the franchise. That is an absolute recipe for franchise failure.
That is what Mike Shanahan faced when he took over the front office and sidelines on January 5, 2010. I still remember that day. One thing that Shanahan and new GM Bruce Allen preached was patience. Everyone knew it was going to take several season to undo the damage done by years of incompetency in the front office. Snyder knew it too. That is why he backed away as an active roster building owner and turned the keys over to Shanahan.
There had been expressions of frustration from Redskins fans during Shanahan's first two seasons. He produced nothing out of the normal for the Redskins fan base, a 6-10 and 5-11 seasons. Redskins fans were sick of the Redskin normal Still, Shanahan preached patience. After admittedly making a mistake in trading for former Eagles QB Donovan McNabb, Shanahan knew the only way to turn around a morbid franchise was to establish a franchise quarterback. Might even buy him time as well.no comments