“Of course you are,” he said. “But that’s why I asked Dan: ‘Hey, if you want me, this is what I believe in, and if you don’t, then you probably shouldn’t hire me. This is the way I’m going to do things if you do hire me.’ ”
Shanahan’s plan: have the franchise ready to win consistently — “not one year great, the next year bad,” he said — by the third season.
“Obviously, that’s the way he wanted it,” Shanahan said of Snyder. Thus, the scorched earth at Redskins Park. But there is much work ahead.
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The 2010 Redskins, should anyone choose to remember them, will be recalled for two characters: defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth and quarterback Donovan McNabb, and the way Shanahan handled each. “More national news than you’d really want,” Shanahan said. Those story lines — Haynesworth repeatedly failed to pass a preseason conditioning test and was ultimately suspended for the final four games of the year, McNabb struggled in Shanahan’s system and was ultimately benched for the final three games — fit right in with the Redskins’ reputation as team turmoil.
“When you look . . . back throughout the years, there was a lot of dysfunction, a lot of changing of coaches and things like that,” said new defensive lineman Barry Cofield, who signed as a free agent from the rival New York Giants. “There was a lot of off-the-field news waves being made, things like that. I think that’s something that’s changed.”
It is, at the very least, changing. The Redskins’ story lines from this preseason were of the conventional sort: Who will start at quarterback, John Beck or Rex Grossman? There are, of course, personnel and strategic elements to Shanahan’s overhaul of the Redskins. But getting the focus on football, and only football, was every bit as difficult. Shanahan said that during this preseason camp not a single Redskin violated curfew, and only one player was late for a meeting or practice.
“Last year,” he said, “I had 50.”
The holdovers from previous regimes – there are only nine players who remain from Gibbs’s last team, in 2007 believe that represents a change in attitudes and actions.
“A lot of things around here was lax,” said veteran wide receiver Santana Moss, who is entering his 11th NFL season, the last seven with the Redskins. “. . . I can truly say that over the years, once you was out here practicing, some of the guys probably felt like they was here, that they made it. But with this staff, it’s not, ‘I’m going to come to work today, and I’ve made it.’ This staff is: you got to come to work today and show me that you deserve to be here every day. Every day you’re getting graded. Every day you’re getting watched.”