And after his poor performance Sunday in Buffalo’s 23-0 blowout victory here, the job may be too big for Shanahan. Perhaps this whole thing isn’t a good fit. The task may not be right for Shanahan at this stage of his career.
The question is fair following one of Washington’s most pathetic displays in recent memory. Things have been trending this way for weeks.
Dominated by the Bills from the outset, the Redskins dropped their third straight. Washington has lost four of its past five games. The 3-1 start? It’s only a memory now, fading faster each second during a once-promising season that could be careering toward a familiar, ugly finish. Unless the Redskins come together and get it fixed, there probably aren’t many victories left on their schedule.
Pass protection, run blocking, tackling, pass coverage — the Redskins failed at it all. No reasonable person should have expected the Redskins to emerge as one of the NFL’s top teams this season. Another embarrassing free fall, though, is simply unacceptable when even Shanahan says Washington improved during the offseason.
We’ve seen similar horror shows before. This decade, it has been a recurring, unsettling sight. Owner Daniel Snyder could have kept Jim Zorn for this, and saved a whole lot of money.
Outcoached from the start Sunday at Rogers Centre by his Bills counterpart, Chan Gailey, Shanahan had no answers during the game or afterward. “It’s a tough one to take,” he said.
For the first time in his career as a head coach or assistant, Shanahan said he was part of an offense that didn’t score. Obviously, the offense was awful, producing only 178 total net yards. The total included 26 yards rushing, with a 2.2-yard average.
The defense also continued to do its part.
Shanahan decided he needed to help defensive coordinator Jim Haslett after Washington gave up 829 yards in consecutive losses to Philadelphia and Carolina. He spent more time working with the defense in practice — and the Bills still produced 390 yards.
Buffalo quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick had a 116.4 passer rating. Running back Fred Jackson rushed for 120 yards, with a 4.6-yard average.
And there was confusion in the Redskins’ secondary. So much, in fact, that inside linebacker London Fletcher lost it during the third quarter.
A blown coverage resulted in the Bills taking a 20-0 lead on a 15-yard touchdown pass from Fitzpatrick to tight end Scott Chandler. Following the play, Fletcher was shown on television shouting at a teammate who wasn’t in the camera’s view. Strong safety LaRon Landry said Fletcher was upset at him.
Cornerback DeAngelo Hall played peacemaker, trying to console Washington’s defensive captain. “It happens in the emotion of a football game,” Shanahan said. “Especially when there’s a missed assignment.”