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Shanahan and McNabb: Turning Redskins into believers
Shanahan does not have to explain his plans each week over lunch with anyone and is not required, as Zorn was, to review the early part of his playbook script the night before games with a high-ranking team official.
Shanahan and McNabb have bodies of work that Zorn and Campbell did not. The NFL is all about accomplishment, and Shanahan and McNabb have long lists beneath their names.
"It's just different, man," strong safety LaRon Landry said recently. "With Coach Shanahan, you're talking about one of the best coaches in the game. You can't really compare it [with Zorn], you know? And Donovan, he's one of those guys been making plays for a long time. So it's just a totally different situation."
Things are especially different in practice in the Shanahan-McNabb era, many players said. Under Shanahan, players are exposed to more potential in-game situations because of the way the week is divided.
Offensive players work on red-zone packages Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Zorn unveiled his red-zone offense on Friday. Defensively, the Redskins install first-, second- and third-down packages all three days as well. During the previous two seasons, the Redskins focused on first and second downs on Wednesday, and Friday was dedicated to third downs.
"It's just completely different," Alexander said. "They just break it down a lot better and cleaner. You're put in a situation more than just on a specific day, so it helps you get used to it. I wouldn't say we're more prepared, but we prepare differently."
Players said they have pushed themselves to excel more under Shanahan.
"He just changed everything, as far as the culture and everything we do, from the first day," Hall said. "With Coach Shanahan, he demands perfection. And when you're playing for a guy like that, that's what you shoot for."
Staff writer Barry Svrluga contributed to this report.