The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

KidsPost gives Mike Shanahan a D

I’ve said this before, and it’s no exaggeration: The single harshest critic of the Washington Redskins in the pages of The Washington Post is KidsPost’s Fred Bowen. By a wide margin, too.

Okay okay, I wrote those words in September, when KidsPost sports columnist Fred Bowen predicted the Skins would finish 4-12 this season.

But now comes the bye, and Bowen’s annual midseason report card, and heavens, he’s bringing the fire and brimstone yet again. Read, for example, his assessment of Coach Mike Shanahan, who received a “D” for his efforts.

“Shanahan is in his third year as Washington’s head coach,” Bowen wrote. “The team is not much better than when he arrived. Its record under Shanahan is 14–27. Shanahan says the team is better than its record indicates. But in professional football, you are what your record is. Shanahan’s record with the Redskins is poor.”

That’s a good bit harsher than what sports offered Wednesday morning in this Jason Reid column.

“In the most important area, the win-loss record, he is a disappointing 14-27. Still, remember: Shanahan inherited one of the league’s worst rosters. His predecessor, Jim Zorn, went 12-20. In the past 20 seasons, the Redskins have missed the playoffs 17 times. That’s a run of futility that can’t be forgotten or ignored.”

Or how about their assessments of the Washington secondary?

“These guys have been a disaster,” wrote Bowen, giving the secondary an F. “The team is near the bottom of the league in every stat measuring pass defense. Even worse, they give up back-breaking big plays, such as Victor Cruz’s last-minute, game-winning catch in the Giants game, almost every week.”

“The second-to-last secondary couldn’t be worse if it tried,” Reid wrote. “The Redskins’ starting safeties would be far down the depth chart on most good teams, and their first-string cornerbacks are below average on their best days.”

I mean, “F” is more brutal than “below average on their best days.” I can’t imagine what Bowen would write about Danny Smith. It probably wouldn’t be fit for the kids’ section of a family newspaper.

Bowen gave RGIII an A-, the offensive line a C, the defensive line and linebackers a D+, the running backs a B+ and the receivers a D, writing that “I know Pierre Garcon and tight end Fred Davis are hurt, but no one has stepped up to take their place. The NFL is a pass-happy league. The receivers are sad.”

Since he projected the Redskins to be strong on defense and weak on offense, Bowen gave himself a C.

“That’s not very good,” he concluded, “but it’s better than the Redskins.”

Burn burn burn burn burn. Burn.

Remember this next time someone accuses D.C. of being a soft media town. Betcha no kids columnists in Denver ever gave Mike Shanahan a D.