A day after backing Mike Shanahan and holding out hope that he would retain his job, Redskins players continued to express support for the coach – even after his dismissal – and stated their regrets that they hadn’t managed to save Shanahan’s job, and their season.
“I think 99.9 percent of [the blame] – none of these coaches played a down this year – it’s all on us,” linebacker Ryan Kerrigan said. “We could sit there and complain all we like that this coaching staff, we didn’t want to get fired. But it comes down to how we played on the field and if we would’ve played better, we wouldn’t be in this situation. That’s what hurts me, because I know I had a part in it, in not helping this team play better so these coaches would still be here.”
Shanahan and the majority of his assistants were dismissed on Monday, the day after the completion of Washington’s 3-13 season. The Redskins announced the firing of seven coaches – Kyle Shanahan, Keith Burns, Richmond Flowers, Matt LaFleur, Josh McDaniel, Bob Slowik, Bobby Slowik and advance scout Larry Coyer. Running backs coach Bobby Turner and assistant special teams coach Richard Hightower also are expected to be dismissed, people with knowledge of the situation said. Meanwhile, six assistants – Jim Haslett, Raheem Morris, Jacob Burney, Chris Foerster, Chris Morgan and Sean McVay – remain in limbo, and general manager Bruce Allen said the remaining coaches will have their fates determined by the next head coach.
Most Redskins players said that by the completion of the season, they had prepared themselves for the likelihood that Shanahan and his assistants would be dismissed. But they still found it hard to grasp the drastic turn of events in the past year, when they went from 10-6 in 2012 to 3-13 this year.
“Winning the division last year, a year removed from that, I’m shocked that we’re here where we’re at now,” defensive lineman Kedric Golston said. “I felt like we kind of had crossed the bridge of righting this ship and moving things in the right direction. I still believe that, but at the same token, when you lose football games, and obviously with a coaching change, now, who knows who’s going to come in here and what their philosophy is. It’s disappointing because I feel as though this team had a lot of potential, but we understand that potential doesn’t do anything for you. It’s about results. So it’s disappointing from that method – knowing how hard the coaches work, how hard the players work to be where we’re at now is definitely disappointing.”
Many Redskins adamantly stated that the poor record was a reflection of their lack of execution and not poor coaching.
Backup quarterback Rex Grossman, who has spent four seasons in Washington under Shanahan and his staff, said he doesn’t belief that his former head coach got a fair shake.
“I think a lot of people, if they understood all the facts and got to sit down in his office, and explained everything, I guarantee Redskins nation would think differently about what he’s done,” said Grossman, who will be a free agent. “He allows everybody to have a chance to be successful. That’s not always the case around the league. Unless you have one of the three or four top quarterbacks in the league, any coach is susceptible to this.”
Grossman continued, “I think he understands what the NFL is all about and what perception is all about and how that can become reality. But, there’s no doubt about it. There are more things to it than just ‘how good is the coach?’ It’s a lot how you’re perceived. It’s bulls, really. But it depends on where you go from here as an organization, because you’ve got a sure thing in a good coach. You’d better bring in a good one to replace him and give him time, and money, and salary cap, and draft picks, and time, and trust.”
Have a Redskins question? E-mail Mike Jones at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “Mailbag question” for him to answer it in The Mailbag on Tuesdays.
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