Mike Shanahan fired by Washington Redskins after four seasons
As most people expected, the Washington Redskins have fired head coach Mike Shanahan and his staff. It seemed inevitable given the team’s 3-13 record in 2013 and increasing reports of friction between Shanahan and team owner Dan Snyder.
• Tale of the tape: 3-13 in 2013; 24-40 in the regular season overall; 0-1 in the postseason
• What Went Wrong: As Bill Cosby once said of another matter, it seemed like a good idea at the time. Shanahan was Dan Snyder’s perhaps most credible coaching hire outside of Joe Gibbs, and after two bumpy years partially mandated by the franchise’s previous personnel bunglings, Shanahan was able to put it all together in 2012. Washington’s move to give multiple first-round picks to the St. Louis Rams for the right to move up to take Robert Griffin III was repaid spectacularly in the short term when Griffin played at an MVP level in his rookie season.
But knee injuries, which had been an issue for Griffin even at Baylor, came back up to bite the Redskins in the regular season and the postseason. Griffin missed the entire 2013 preseason from a training perspective, leaving him unable to develop as Shanahan and son Kyle, the team’s offensive coordinator, would have preferred. Shanahan’s decision to bench Griffin for the last three games of the 2013 season seemed as much a shot at Snyder as an actual football decision.
In addition, defensive coordinator Jim Haslett was unable to marry personnel to scheme, and personnel was a pretty big issue overall.
• Roster Outlook: Griffin can still be great if he’s healthy and able to get with offseason programs, and running back Alfred Morris is an underrated gem. But whoever replaces the Shanahans will have some work to do. Outside of left tackle Trent Williams, the Redskins’ offensive line needs an overhaul, and while the receivers are pretty good overall — Pierre Garcon in particular this last season — a true impact guy could really help.
On defense, a replacement for the retiring London Fletcher is needed. There’s probably more talent in the defensive front than people think, and the secondary needs a lot of help. The Redskins aren’t too far away from having a competitive team again — one could say that the firing was more about a bad situation between coaching staff and front office than a true reflection of the team’s talent level.
• Possible Replacement(s): Bill O’Brien, Lovie Smith, Darrell Bevell, Russ Grimm, Art Briles, Jay Gruden. Really, Snyder could go in all sorts of directions. He likes big names, and he may be attracted to a college coach too.