A day after backing Mike Shanahan and holding out hope that he would retain his job, Redskins players continued to express support for the coach â even after his dismissal â and stated their regrets that they hadnât managed to save Shanahanâs job, and their season.
âI think 99.9 percent of [the blame] â none of these coaches played a down this year â itâs all on us,â linebacker Ryan Kerrigan said. âWe could sit there and complain all we like that this coaching staff, we didnât want to get fired. But it comes down to how we played on the field and if we wouldâve played better, we wouldnât be in this situation. Thatâs what hurts me, because I know I had a part in it, in not helping this team play better so these coaches would still be here.â
Shanahan and the majority of his assistants were dismissed on Monday, the day after the completion of Washingtonâs 3-13 season. The Redskins announced the firing of seven coaches â Kyle Shanahan, Keith Burns, Richmond Flowers, Matt LaFleur, Josh McDaniel, Bob Slowik, Bobby Slowik and advance scout Larry Coyer. Running backs coach Bobby Turner and assistant special teams coach Richard Hightower also are expected to be dismissed, people with knowledge of the situation said. Meanwhile, six assistants â Jim Haslett, Raheem Morris, Jacob Burney, Chris Foerster, Chris Morgan and Sean McVay â remain in limbo, and general manager Bruce Allen said the remaining coaches will have their fates determined by the next head coach.
Most Redskins players said that by the completion of the season, they had prepared themselves for the likelihood that Shanahan and his assistants would be dismissed. But they still found it hard to grasp the drastic turn of events in the past year, when they went from 10-6 in 2012 to 3-13 this year.
âWinning the division last year, a year removed from that, Iâm shocked that weâre here where weâre at now,â defensive lineman Kedric Golston said. âI felt like we kind of had crossed the bridge of righting this ship and moving things in the right direction. I still believe that, but at the same token, when you lose football games, and obviously with a coaching change, now, who knows whoâs going to come in here and what their philosophy is. Itâs disappointing because I feel as though this team had a lot of potential, but we understand that potential doesnât do anything for you. Itâs about results. So itâs disappointing from that method â knowing how hard the coaches work, how hard the players work to be where weâre at now is definitely disappointing.â
Many Redskins adamantly stated that the poor record was a reflection of their lack of execution and not poor coaching.
Backup quarterback Rex Grossman, who has spent four seasons in Washington under Shanahan and his staff, said he doesnât belief that his former head coach got a fair shake.
âI think a lot of people, if they understood all the facts and got to sit down in his office, and explained everything, I guarantee Redskins nation would think differently about what heâs done,â said Grossman, who will be a free agent. âHe allows everybody to have a chance to be successful. Thatâs not always the case around the league. Unless you have one of the three or four top quarterbacks in the league, any coach is susceptible to this.â
Grossman continued, âI think he understands what the NFL is all about and what perception is all about and how that can become reality. But, thereâs no doubt about it. There are more things to it than just âhow good is the coach?â Itâs a lot how youâre perceived. Itâs bulls, really. But it depends on where you go from here as an organization, because youâve got a sure thing in a good coach. Youâd better bring in a good one to replace him and give him time, and money, and salary cap, and draft picks, and time, and trust.â
Have a Redskins question? E-mail Mike Jones at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line âMailbag questionâ for him to answer it in The Mailbag on Tuesdays.
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