“You will have to ask Dan Snyder that,” the coach bristled Monday. He leaned intensely over his lectern at his weekly news conference, his tanned complexion the usual beet-red, as if every corpuscle was racing to the skin’s surface. He scanned the room for perceived enemies.
On television, the 20-minute exchange between Shanahan and reporters who cover the team came across less as a postmortem after Washington’s third straight loss and more of a referendum on the My-Way-Mike era.
“If he feels like this team is going in the right direction, then you ask him not me,” Shanahan said. “I know I am going in the right direction.”
Well, heck, if Mike knows, who really cares what Dan thinks? Now that Shanahan has given himself a vote of confidence, we can continue the season and forget he had an absolute dumpster fire of a week.
His brain-locked team, leading the NFL in penalties, committed 13 more last Sunday and got beat soundly by Cam Newton’s Panthers, who had already fired their general manager and were in disarray before they played Washington.
Suddenly, the sheen from Griffin’s theatrical start was gone, replaced by the numb feeling that 2012 just might end up as the same ol’ ‘Redskins, plus a special rookie or two.
Shanahan had ratcheted up the Carolina game, calling it, “a must win.” Afterward, clearly despondent over his team’s performance, he inserted his foot in his mouth, saying, “When you lose a game like that, now you’re playing to see who, obviously, is going to be on your football team for years to come.” Tony Dungy on NBC and others, including me, who either attended the news conference or watched the sound bite said Shanahan sounded like a wave-the-white flag coach — after Week 9 of the NFL season.
The next day was even more peculiar. Shanahan proceeded to blame me and the rest of the media for interpreting his words exactly as he said them.
The first part of the team’s bye week was damage control. He told his players, some of whom were stunned when they later watched video of the news conference, that he would be the last to quit, that of the seven games remaining five were against NFC East foes, that every game now is a playoff game. And obviously that’s what he meant in the first place.
I don’t think Shanahan will prematurely lose his job in Washington because of his record. And while he may not politically like this analogy Shanahan is essentially the President Obama of NFL coaches; many people believe he inherited a god-awful mess and he needs more time to clean it up.