Shanahan didn’t go into the specifics of Jackson’s most recent failed drug test, but he said the team learned of the indefinite suspension by the NFL on Friday. Jackson had missed last Monday’s practice for what Shanahan called “personal reasons,” but the coach on Saturday said that the absence was related to Jackson’s appeal, which the league rejected.
“I was disappointed because I really like the guy,” Shanahan said. “I like who he is. I like the way he worked. The guy’s never been arrested in his life. I’m just really disappointed for him. He’s out for a year. Obviously, he’s made some mistakes, but I’m just disappointed for the guy. . . . He’s a good football player, a great guy. He’s made a couple mistakes, but you know, I just like what he stood for.”
Meanwhile, as he assessed his newly finalized roster from top to bottom, Shanahan had a sense of optimism about the collection of players assembled.
The team cut 23 players Friday to bring the roster total to 52 — meeting the league’s 9 p.m. deadline for 53 players. Then on Saturday, the Redskins claimed cornerback Crezdon Butler off waivers to finalize their roster.
Shanahan has almost entirely reshaped the roster since taking over the Redskins in January 2010. Only 17 members of the 2012 53-man roster were a part of the team when Shanahan opened his first season. And only 10 of the current Redskins were on the team in 2009 — the year before Shanahan was hired.
Of the holdovers, only five were starters on the 2010 team, and only two — London Fletcher and DeAngelo Hall — remained as starters from the 2009 squad.
When he looks at the 2012 roster in comparison to the 2010 roster, Shanahan sees a team that’s more talented, much deeper, more athletic and more closely resembling the vision he has.
“I feel really good about our football team,” Shanahan said on Saturday. “It’s changed, obviously, completely. And you’ve got guys who fit your system. You’ve got guys that you’re hoping will all step up and play extremely well. I like the attitude going in. I like the competition, and hopefully we play accordingly.”
Shanahan continues to believe that the Redskins can have success with a rookie at quarterback, not only because Robert Griffin III is a highly talented player, but because of the cast that Shanahan and General Manager Bruce Allen have assembled behind him.
The coach has preached the importance of this since January, and believes the Redskins are accomplishing that goal.