Redskins shouldn’t rush to judgment on Shanahan era

The day after the Redskins fell to 3-6, and Mike Shanahan’s quote about pretty much being out of the playoff picture became a hot topic, the major discussion on sports-talk radio involved who the next Redskins coach should be.

This isn’t going to be a popular position given that the Redskins really haven’t taken a step forward in Year 3. But they shouldn’t be thinking about firing Mike Shanahan yet.

(Ricky Carioti/The Washington Post)

Holding coaches accountable is fine. So is knowing when to cut bait when something isn’t working. But part of the Redskins’ problem over the years has been pushing the reset button so many times that the organization really failed to develop any continuity.

Football is a complex game. When a baseball team switches managers, there are strategic differences, but the players play mostly the same way. When a football team switches coaches, there are players who fit one scheme who become quite a bit less useful in another. Particularly where the Redskins’ defense is concerned, where it’s taken a few years to switch from 4-3 personnel to the 3-4, is that really a process the Redskins want to begin again from scratch?

Do the Redskins want to head down the same road with Robert Griffin III that they did with Jason Campbell, who could never seem to remain in the same offensive system for more than a year or two? Wasn’t there an oft-recited stat about LaVar Arrington playing for nearly as many defensive coordinators as he played seasons?

As tempting as it might be, the smartest move is probably to continue to develop players under Mike and Kyle Shanahan, and probably under Jim Haslett and Raheem Morris too. They’ve all proven they can coach in the NFL, though with varying degrees of success.The Redskins have tried it every which way — taskmaster, proven college coach, NFL legend, up-and-coming coordinator and Super Bowl-winning retread? Who else is there out there that the Redskins could hire to fix this thing, who would give them a better chance to win than Shanahan?

It’s true, the Redskins face some hurdles in terms of player acquisition, since they lack both draft picks and have been penalized part of their free agent budget for a couple seasons. But that’s all the more reason not to create additional needs that can’t be filled by changing philosophies, and therefore personnel needed to apply those philosophies. They have 3-4 defensive linemen and linebackers, and offensive linemen who are supposed to excel while zone blocking.

There needs to be some progress shown — the Redskins can’t finish 3-13. But as tempting as it might be, if you think the team has issues now, just imagine how many more it would have blowing everything up and starting all over again.

Opening the floor up to you in the comments. Do you think, once you stop and consider the alternatives, that it might be wiser for the Redskins to stay the course with Shanahan?

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