Although his team has suffered at least 10 losses in his second season at the helm, just as it did in his first season, Washington Redskins coach Mike Shanahan believes that his squad has improved.
The coach says that the Redskins took steps forward this past offseason in the draft and free agency, but that they remain in need of more upgrades, which is obvious.
“I see a big difference than two years ago,” Shanahan said. “We have a much younger football team. We have a lot more depth at a lot of different positions. I feel good with the type of players that we do have. We still need a good draft, a good free agency. We still need to improve from where we’re at right now. Our record obviously dictates that, but I feel good about the football team and the direction we’re headed.”
Shanahan admitted on Monday that his reclamation project has taken longer than he expected it would when he accepted the job in January of 2009.
“Oh, yeah, a lot longer than I first anticipated,” said Shanahan, who previously has avoided discussing his prior expectations for turning the team around. “We had less depth than I thought.”
Shanahan said many of the more veteran players that he inherited last season ended up not being as effective as he thought they could be, and so this past offseason, the goal was to stockpile younger talent.
The Redskins drafted 12 players, traded for two more and from the start of free agency until now have made another 15 free agency signings while Shanahan & Co. worked to reshape the roster.
A year after sporting a starting lineup on offense and defense with an average age of 29.5, Washington opened the season with lineup that averaged 27.5 years of age. Now, because of injuries to some players, ineffectiveness and demotions of others, the team has gotten slightly younger still at 27 years and a month.
And the evaluation continues.
“It’s every day,” Shanahan said. “You know, we talk about, you go out to practice, you’re evaluating players every day – how they practice, how they play. Who do you keep after the first year? Who do you keep after the second year? The free agents you bring in, the draft choices you bring in. I think we’ve turned most of our squad over. And so we’ve brought a lot of people in that I think will help us down the road.”
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