That’s the foundation on which the Redskins should build — the combination of Shanahan’s X’s and O’s smarts and his intense competitive drive. Granted, that’s not a whole lot, but it’s pretty much all the Redskins have at this point.
Throughout the season, the Redskins’ performance stirred concerns about their lack of progress in Shanahan’s rebuilding plan, and they were horrendous again at times during Sunday’s season-ending 34-10 blowout loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.
In losses to the Minnesota Vikings and Eagles to end the season, the Redskins flopped while completing their fourth consecutive last-place finish in the NFC East division. Shanahan ended with a career-worst 5-11 record, which the Redskins made possible by losing their composure and committing key blunders on offense, defense and special teams at Lincoln Financial Field.
After finishing 6-10 last season, the Redskins regressed, which is the bottom line. I simply don’t see that significant improvement has occurred. Not the kind of strides that would provide proof of a brighter future around the corner.
Despite everything that has gone wrong since owner Daniel Snyder hired Shanahan to revive the franchise, however, Washington must stay the course. Shanahan has three years remaining on his contract, and for the length of it, the Redskins have to follow his lead and simply hope he has been right all along.
This organization has experienced too much upheaval. The Redskins need to ride it out with Shanahan.
Really, for Redskins fans, it’s about keeping the faith. The franchise has asked it of them time and time again. So the situation is familiar, albeit nonetheless unsettling.
“When you’re building a football team,” Shanahan said, “you take a look at the positives, of guys that can help you next year.”
Shanahan is convinced that the Redskins are pointed in the right direction. He sees significant progress in some areas of the roster. He has no doubts about Washington becoming a winner again.
That’s what Shanahan came to Washington to accomplish. With his career achievements and confidence, success, in his mind, is the only option. Even after the last two seasons.
“We’ve made some strides,” Shanahan said. “Our football team is a lot different than a year ago. That’s a positive.”
I’m convinced, too. Convinced, that is, that
Shanahan, at his core
, has no doubts about his ability to inspire a Redskins renaissance.
After speaking with Shanahan privately Friday following Washington’s final practice at Redskins Park, I almost forgot how bad the Redskins (11-21 in two seasons) have been under him.
Listening to Shanahan’s reasoned assessment about the effect that injuries, in his opinion, had in derailing the season, I briefly ignored the fact he boldly and incorrectly staked his reputation on ineffective quarterbacks Rex Grossman and John Beck.