By Fred Bowen
Thursday, January 7, 2010; C10
The Washington Redskins have a new head coach, Mike Shanahan, who won two Super Bowls as coach of the Denver Broncos. Shanahan got the job after the Redskins fired head coach Jim Zorn on Monday. Now it's Shanahan's job to make the team win more than four games next season. The Redskins' new coach will need all the help he can get, so I thought I would write him a letter.
Dear Coach Shanahan:
Welcome to Washington, D.C. The Washington area is a great place to live and work. We have the national monuments, wonderful museums and lots of places for outdoor fun.
Unfortunately, we also have one of the worst teams in the National Football League. Even worse, we have the oldest team in the NFL. The Redskins have only a handful of good young players, such as linebacker Brian Orakpo. Several important Redskins starters -- including linebacker London Fletcher and defensive tackle Cornelius Griffin -- are older than 30. That's pretty old for professional football.
So there's work to be done. I am sure you are getting lots of advice, but let me give you some more.
Keep Jason Campbell. He is a good, solid quarterback who has improved every year he has played in the league. This past season, Campbell set personal bests for yards (3,618), touchdown passes (20), percentage of passes completed (64.5 percent) and quarterback rating (86.4). Campbell may not be Peyton Manning, but the Redskins should be able to win with him.
Draft some good, young offensive linemen. The last two Redskins seasons have fallen apart because the offensive line failed to protect the quarterback. Campbell gets hit more times than a piñata at a 7-year-old's birthday party.
Get Albert Haynesworth in shape. The Redskins spent loads of money to get the All-Pro defensive tackle from the Tennessee Titans, thinking he would be a terror in the middle of their defense. Haynesworth was good -- when he played. He was hurt four games and sat out too many plays because he was tired. I know this isn't nice to say, but Haynesworth looks fat to me. Football players are big, but does he have to be that big? Maybe Haynesworth would play more if he ate less.
I could say more, but you get the idea. Good luck with your new job. Redskins fans everywhere hope you win lots of games.
P.S. Be sure to check out the zoo before our panda Tai Shan goes back to China. He's really cool.