Redskins mailbag: Shanahan, Snyder and what’s to come

December 10, 2013

Daniel Snyder will be looking for his eighth coach in the last 14 years. (Nick Wass/Associated Press)

As the season continues to unravel, the drama intensifies and the frustrations mount for the fan base.

Many of the e-mails in recent days have laid blame on Mike Shanahan, others on Daniel Snyder, and some on the players.

Either way, we now have clarity as to what will happen when the season is over: Snyder & Co. will be looking for their next head coach.

In today’s edition of the mailbag, we discuss the future of the Redskins, the head coaching position and the reason for this 3-10 debacle.

Thanks, as always, for taking part. Let’s get after it.

Any chance Shanny is here next year?  I’m one of the few who hope he still gets another year as there has been no better alternative presented.  Hoping most of this “noise” is media-caused, but wish Shanny had been more adamant in presser about wanting to be here next year.

 Brent Caldwell

There is no chance that Shanahan returns. Irreparable harm has been done. Had Shanahan  or his camp — not decided to leak the “noise” of his desire to quit following last season  this would’ve been a much more manageable situation. Snyder was said to be “furious” over that report being publicized. And because less than a handful of people knew about it, Redskins officials believe that it was the work of Shanahan or people close to him as an attempt to force Snyder to fire him. Redskins officials were said to have been caught off guard by this sudden turn of events, mainly because Shanahan went from defending himself and saying that he deserved another year to abruptly souring on the situation. This definitely doesn’t sound like a fixable relationship, does it? Shanahan crushes any report that he deems to be false, or something that shouldn’t be publicized. He has never once denied this report despite being given multiple chances to do so. He refused to say if he wanted to return next season when asked point blank on back-to-back questions. It wasn’t until later in the press conference, when told of players supporting him that Shanahan finally expressed a love for his players and desire to return. But, as we’ve seen many times, you can’t put much stock in Shanahan’s words. So, I’d go with the first two non-commitments over the last if you’re looking for truthfulness.

Yesterday a fan on Twitter made a great point … Shanahan has been villainized by many fans. How can this situation be repaired or rectified?  Is it too late?

 CW Barr

Sorry, CW. But this marriage between Snyder and Shanahan is unfixable. I suppose if Shanahan refused to quit and Snyder refused to fire him and pay him $7 million, they’d be stuck with each other. But that would make for the most toxic of situations. Griffin’s distrust for his coach would then expand to a distrust of all team officials. Other players on the team would find it hard to continue to fight for a coach that had already tried to leave and only seemed to be holding on for the money. No good would come from this.

I read in the Post that the Redskins were looking for a loophole to fire Coach Shanahan without paying the last year on his contract.  Has anyone considered that this will inhibit the Redskins from recruiting the best coach available to replace Shanahan?  The Redskins have enough PR problems with Dan Snyder’s reputation of meddling with coaches and players.  They won’t be able to recruit a highly regarded high school coach to fill the position if they fail to fulfill their contractual obligations to Shanahan.

 Paul Beardmore, Front Royal, Va.

I don’t know that this specific instance  the exploration of the possibility to avoid paying out the full $7 million  by itself would scare a coaching candidate away. But, that added to a list of actions by Snyder could. Ownership believes that Shanahan was divisive in his alleged decision to leak the report of his desire to resign over Snyder and Griffin’s relationship, and that’s why they are trying to fight paying the full $7 million after firing Shanahan, who appears intent on not quitting. Would you quit and forfeit that much money? It wouldn’t be surprising if Snyder eventually fires Shanahan and says he won’t give him the money, and then Shanahan would threaten legal action, and then the two sides would work out a settlement.

But back to future candidates, there have been some  like Tony Dungy  who have said they would never coach for Snyder, but there are plenty of others who would probably think, “Wow, you want to pay me how much? Yeah, okay, let’s give this a shot,” regardless of the risks. So far, Snyder has been able to convince Marty Schottenheimer, Joe Gibbs and Mike Shanahan to coach for him. He probably can put together a sales pitch to lure another name. Now, is that what this team needs? Hard to say. But he could probably find someone to take millions of dollars off his hands.

Who would you like to see as the Redskins coach next season? Baylor’s Art Briles? Stanford’s David Shaw? Jon Gruden? Other? I think Shaw is the most intriguing to me. A young African-American coach might be what a team looking for direction needs. Thanks so much.

 Griffin Shay

I don’t have a preference because I’m a reporter assigned to cover the team, not to cheer for it. What coach or type of coach do I think would be best? Definitely not Art Briles. It wouldn’t be a good look. It would signal that Griffin had run Shanahan out of town and hand-picked his own coach. It’s important for players to remain players  and not pick their bosses. Now, is it fine for an owner to take a quarterback’s pulse on his future coach? That’s fine, and it often happens. But this doesn’t seem like a wise move. I’m not sure Shaw, or any college coach, is the answer at all black or white. And I’m not really a fan of retread coaches. The move Snyder needs to make is hire a general manger (Bruce Allen can remain as team president), and together, they should find the next quality coach from the ranks of the league’s offensive or defensive coordinators. Will that happen? Who knows.

Do you think Snyder would consider someone like Darrell Bevell from Seattle for the head coach job, or is his name not big enough?

 Dondrae Maiden

It’s still early, and you would hope that Snyder and Allen don’t pass over a potential good fit because his name isn’t big enough. Bevell is an intriguing candidate because he has shown success working with a young, mobile quarterback in Russell Wilson, who also runs a variation of the read-option attack. You know that Bevell likes to run the ball. Marshawn Lynch, like Alfred Morris, ranks among the league rushing leaders. The 43-year-old Bevell has worked his way up the ladder after serving as offensive assistant in Green Bay and then quarterbacks coach for the Packers from 2006-05, and then offensive coordinator in Minnesota from 2006-10. He has been Seattle’s offensive coordinator since 2011. You’d have to think he would draw head coaching consideration from teams this offseason. Maybe the Redskins should rank among them. This probably would be a wiser move than pulling a big-name coach out of retirement and hoping he can recapture magic of years gone by.

Could it be that the Washington, D.C., American football franchise is under a curse because their offensive nickname/mascot? That’s as good an accounting for their sorry record and soap opera exhibitions as any. Be worth trying to fix it with a simple name change.

 Charles Kettlewell

No. Nothing of this year’s struggles have anything to do with the name of the team. Egos, poor management decisions, some questionable coaching decisions, inferior talent and a quarterback coming off of a knee reconstruction rank among the reasons for this year’s woes. You could have changed the name last year and that’s the only change that was made, this season would’ve played out the exact same way.

Can’t a significant portion of the Redskins’ struggles this year be tied to the salary cap hits over the last two years?  In my opinion, the coaches and management were doing a great job of adding youth and building depth.  Essentially not being able to sign free agents for the past two years resulted in losing special teams players (Lorenzo Alexander) and not being able to upgrade the secondary and offensive lines. 

 Scott Meadows,  Roanoke, Va.

The salary-cap penalties of the past two years are partially to blame. There have indeed been players that the Redskins could not pursue because of financial limitations. But, you have to find ways to compensate for that. And that’s only part of the problem. There are many other issues. The Dallas Cowboys had salary cap penalties as well and have still managed to put together a better product that the Redskins have.

Have a Redskins question? E-mail Mike Jones at mike.jones@washpost.com with the subject line “Mailbag question” for him to answer it in The Mailbag on Tuesdays.

More from The Post:

Shanahan speaks to Snyder, but no resolutionBench Griffin?

Reid: Redskins need to hire a true GM now

Wise: There’s one way Snyder can make Redskins fans happy

Hamilton: Redskins’ problems start at the top

D.C. Sports Bog: 23 ways Shanahan could force Snyder’s handMore

Follow: @MikeJonesWaPo | @MarkMaske | @Insider | Insider on Facebook

Mike Jones covers the Washington Redskins for The Washington Post. When not writing about a Redskins development of some kind – which is rare – he can be found screaming and cheering at one of his kids’ softball, baseball, soccer or basketball games.
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Mark Maske · December 10, 2013