Four Years After Zorn, The NFL Is Still Laughing At The Redskins
Guest post submitted by Kevin Jones
There is no need to investigate who said what inside the Redskins locker room. There’s no need to re-watch the film, good plays or bad. None of that matters anymore. At all.
All you needed to see was the Redskins’ 27-6 Monday Night Football loss to the San Francisco 49ers to understand Mike Shanahan’s tenure in Washington is over.
Shanahan might have most of the main ingredients he needs to make a competitive football team—except he’s such a disastrous chef in the kitchen, he’s nearly burnt the entire house down. What exactly does he have control over? Defenses clearly know what plays are coming. Struggling passing attacks always find their rhythm against the Washington secondary. And Shanahan has mishandled and pissed off enough players that NFL Network and ESPN national reporters have much better relationships with Redskins than their own head coach.
This fiasco that has become Mike Shanahan’s career in D.C. should be a lesson to other struggling franchises: DO NOT HIRE OLD LEGENDARY COACHES. Bill Parcells, George Seifert, Joe Gibbs, Jimmy Johnson, Mike Holmgren, Mike Ditka. These guys are immovable forces of nature who don’t believe they have to readjust their coaching style. Players tune them out over time. Congrats Mike Shanahan—you’re talented at picking running backs late in the NFL Draft. Redskins fans thank you for Alfred Morris. Too bad basing an entire scheme around the running game is not how you build a sustainable franchise in today’s NFL. Names like Jon Gruden and Bill Cowher should never be mentioned once the Redskins ramp up their coaching search.
It’s now become an amusing routine to pick out which game was the final straw for a Dan Snyder-selected head coach. In 2003, Steve Spurrier lost to the Dallas Cowboys 27-0, putting the Redskins at 5-9. More recently in 2009, Jim Zorn’s Redskins were defeated 45-12 by the New York Giants, also on Monday Night Football. The loss to the 49ers will ultimately send Shanahan back to his castle in Denver.
I can actually pinpoint the exact moment when Dan Snyder fired Mike Shanahan in his head. It was 4th and 2 in the 3rd quarter and the Redskins decided to run the ball with Roy Helu, following a disastrous challenge, preceded by horrendous clock management to end the half. The wrong play-call to the wrong player: a fitting slogan for 2013. Fan bases of 25 teams around the league all sang in unison, At least we’re not as bad as the Redskins. Come to think of it, what is the Redskins’ best game of the season? I guess the miracle goal-line stand against the Chargers was better than the 45-42 win over the Bears’ backup quarterback.
On a night with the whole country watching, RGIII had the chance to shut everyone up. Instead, he was horrific. He’s lost every ounce of confidence he’s ever had. If this were baseball, a quick trip the minors would not be out of the question. His father was seen in the locker room after the game consoling his son, which tells me he can’t ignore all the ‘noise’ being said about him.
Dude, RGIII: the media pounding is only beginning. It’ll last until September of 2014. Ask Cam Newton. So you better toughen up and learn to deal with it. This is the life of a superstar quarterback in a Top 10 market. I mean, weren’t you the one who taught us No Pressure, No Diamonds?
There’s an argument to be made that most of Griffin’s sucking this season has been mental. That’s another topic for another day. Still, would Cam Newton be good with the Redskins? Would Andrew Luck? Would Colin Kaepernick? Maybe. Maybe not. When your coaching staff is out-schemed every week, it’s hard to solely ridicule a 23-year-old quarterback for a 3-8 record.
Four years after firing Jim Zorn, better roster or not, the Redskins are still the laughingstock of the NFL. The only way to make rival front offices around the league laugh harder? Keep Mike Shanahan.
Follow Kevin Jones on Twitter: @Mr_KevinJones