If you publicly jump ship before your team, then you become the NFL’s Larry Brown, dissociating yourself from those lousy bums who couldn’t quite realize their potential playing for such a great leader and teacher like yourself.
From a guy who is 14-27 overall and 5-15 at FedEx Field halfway through his five-year contract, “evaluating” comes across as “it’s their fault, not mine.”
Shanahan was given an opportunity to explain his comments, but declined through a team spokesman, who said he would discuss them further Monday.
Everybody shoulders blame for Sunday, especially when you come in as one of the most penalized teams in the NFL and are flagged 13 times for 97 yards, when you play like dogs in front of Deacon Jones, Mark Moseley, Darrell Green, Art Monk, Eddie LeBaron and all the great ones who came to be part of an emotional alumni weekend.
Brig Owens stood in a corridor under the stadium before the game, chatting up Roy Jefferson and Mike Bass. “A lot of guys, a lot of lies,” Owens said, laughing.
Today, most would take those lies over this unsettling truth:
The Redskins, as composed, are a bad, undisciplined football team with a good rookie quarterback.
They have holes on offense and defense that cannot be filled with a first-round draft pick until 2015, because Shanahan traded them away for Griffin.
Their secondary is primarily made up of backups on other NFL rosters. They don’t have a bona fide No. 1 receiver. And even if you believe Pierre Garcon is that guy — and I don’t put him in the class of the best wideouts in the league — he is not healthy enough to prove it. He has played in just three of nine games so far.
Jim Haslett’s job will rightly be up for discussion. Lost in the rhetoric will be that he never wanted to play a 3-4 defense; he had it forced on him by Shanahan, who saw the future of the league moving that way. The problem is, you need four burners at linebacker to make that defense work and Fletcher can’t be that guy anymore.
Beyond a guy taller than 6 feet 3 who can outleap a DB in the end zone on a fade rout — think Plaxico Burress, 2007 — the Redskins’ needs are endless. New No. 1s at strong safety, free safety, both cornerback positions, inside linebacker, outside linebacker and right tackle starts to address the personnel upgrade required.
Maybe some will find what Shanahan said refreshing, authentic and brutally honest. But Sunday should have been hunker down time, not throw-in-the-towel day.
All that said, the bye week would be a bad time to give anyone his walking papers — including Haslett. The problem with the Daniel Snyder era is that too many decisions have been made out of emotion instead of logic.
Making changes now means you didn’t mean it when you said you had enough to win this year, not next. And after Sunday’s post-game news conference, Mike Shanahan has already acknowledged too much.
For previous columns by Mike Wise, go to washingtonpost.com/wise.