If it wasn't enough, Mike Shanahan last week labeled the Washington Redskins v. Carolina Panthers game a 'Must Win". In that self win moment, at home in front of some of the greatest Redskins ever, the Redskins laid a flat egg, losing to the 1-6 Carolina Panthers 21-13. It was a humiliating, humble loss and reminds Redskins fans everywhere that the Washington Redskins franchise possess zero sense of home field advantage. The fact that the Redskins are playing at FEDEX Field in Landover, Maryland, is more of a reason to pick or bet against Washington that week. That is pathetic. But, the truth as well.
Is Mike Shanahan losing owner Daniel Snyder? We don't know. Fortunately for Redskins fans, Snyder learned from the lessons of the first ten years of his ownership, that an Owner is a better Owner that stays in the background and allows professionals to run the front office. Snyder has done that. However, even Snyder has to be losing patience. Mike Shanahan was brought in and given full control of the franchise, much like Marty Schottenheimer over a decade ago. The difference between the two is that Shanahan meets with and keeps Snyder in the loop, Schottenheimer did not. For Snyder, he has to be wondering if the consolidation of all power under the same person that is coaching the players was a smart move. It has not been a proven smart NFL model. Snyder has given Shanahan three seasons. His first season was 6-10, his second season regressed by one game to 5-11. This season, Shanahan is sitting at 3-6 with a tougher part of their schedule yet to come. Snyder has to be thinking, what happened to progress?
Is Mike Shanahan losing fans? My bet is, fans are likely split evenly whether Shanahan deserves a fourth season next year. They should be. It's a tough call. I struggle between the argument that Shanahan deserves another year because of the immediate arrival of rookie QB Robert Griffin III, and the argument, that not only are the Redskins not improving record or competitive wise, but also that I do not want to see RGIII regress under Kyle Shanahan. You could make an argument on system changes. However, the fact is, Griffin is a special QB and there are ways to use him, and whoever the coach may be, they will utlize RGIII's strengths. Plus, would you rather have a system change next year or two years down the road? The fact is, if the Redskins finish 6-10 or 5-11, despite having a quarterback who is leaps and bounds better than nay Shanahan had in DC during his tenure, what progress have you really made?
Finally, is Mike Shanahan in danger of losing the lockeroom? Could be. The statements he made in his post game news conference were questioned by player sin the lockeroom. No greater threat exists to a coache's tenure than losing his players. Here is what Shanahan had to say.
"When you lose a game like that, now you're playing to see who, obviously, is going to be on your football team for years to come," Shanahan said after the team's homecoming loss. “Now we get a chance to evaluate players and see where we’re at.
Essentially, in translation, Shanahan will likely take a rookie at some rookies, perhaps on the offensive line, secondary, and maybe even linebackers. Is that just syaing we are looking forward to evaulationg for next season?
Some players disagree with that sentiment.
"You have a lot of guys that want to win now, people toward the end of their careers who have been here a long time, haven't been to the playoffs in a long time," linebacker Lorenzo Alexander said. "And, ultimately, that's what you play for, to go to a Super Bowl.
"Being 3-6 really [stinks] because, right now, we're on the outside looking in. ... I'm not thinking about next year; that's an offseason thing for me. But you know it's hard when you see yourself in that type of position, and your head coach is saying those types of things. It's disappointing."
Rookie franchise quarterback Robert Griffin III had a different assessment than Shanahan as welll.
“I’ll come back and I’ll be a better quarterback the second half of the season for us, for this team. And preferably, everybody comes back with the same mind-set.” He went on to say that after the off week, “I think you’ll see a different team. . . . If they see their quarterback out there putting it on the line every single play it makes them want to put it on the line every single play. It’s more about inspiring guys.”
So while Shanahan hints at throwing int he towel and playing for roster spots through evaulation, RGIII is prepared to come back after the Bye Week and make things right. Shanahan sounds like the quitter, Griffin sounds like the motivator. That is problematic.