At 59, Shanahan is in good health. He’s still highly competitive. Shanahan would have remained committed to finishing the job he started even if Griffin weren’t on the roster, but “there’s no question” that having Griffin here makes coming to work more fun, Shanahan said. “You don’t mind spending 18 hours a day, every day, to get the supporting cast [for Griffin] because you thoroughly enjoy it.”
The most revered person to ever wear a headset for the Redskins knows the feeling well.
Throughout Joe Gibbs’s two stints with the team, “there were certainly people who I liked to be around at work more than others,” Gibbs said in a phone interview. “It’s really just like in any job, but probably more so in football because of all the hours we spend together.
“In the meeting rooms when we’re working, coaches spend most of their time talking about players. When you get someone who’s the right type of person off the field, and is a great producer on it or you think will be one, they can definitely influence how you feel about your football team.”
It’s too early to determine how the Redskins will fare this season. The initial signs, however, haven’t been encouraging.
Oft-injured right tackle Jammal Brown is sidelined indefinitely because of recurring hip pain. Left guard Kory Lichtensteiger is expected to miss the remainder of the preseason after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his right knee. Lichtensteiger tore the anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments in the same knee last October.
The Redskins’ lineup is still in transition. The likelihood is that 19 of the 22 starters on offense and defense will be in either their first or second seasons in those roles with the team.
Shanahan won’t discuss his plans for wide receiver Santana Moss and tight end Chris Cooley. But with the emergence of tight end Fred Davis and the signing of wideout Pierre Garcon, the longtime top targets in the passing game figure to have reduced roles. Although Moss and Cooley are team-first guys, a changing of the guard could be difficult for both and may test team unity, especially if the Redskins struggle.
Shanahan sees the potential potholes in the distance. He knows the heavy lifting is far from finished. “But what’s the one thing you need in the NFL? The quarterback,” Shanahan said. “You know if you have the quarterback, you have a chance.”
That’s what the Redskins have now. The smile on Shanahan’s face proves it.
For previous columns by Jason Reid, visit washingtonpost.com/reid.