Before you drink the Kool-Aid, you might want to read the ingredient list

In case you haven't figured it out by now, I'm in my late 40s. When you get to this age, idealism usually will give way to realism, unless there's overwhelming evidence suggesting that unicorns do actually exist.
Those of you who are flocking to the punch bowl full of Kool-Aid, I understand, I've been there many times myself. Now, though. Like my fellow curmudgeons, I will linger at the back of the line and see what effect the punch has on the imbibers before I take a drink. After all, I'm old enough to remember Jonestown.

You have to understand that people like me really want to believe that the tooth fairy, Santa Claus, and the Easter Bunny all exist; but it's been proven, far too often that they were myths. So don't get too mad at us curmudgeons as we question whether any of this really has a chance of making the Redskins better, we've been disappointed a lot lately.

If you're one of those scrambling for a turn at the punch bowl, stop reading now and get to it, there's nothing for you here. For those that want the whole story and the facts behind it, read on... And please don't forget, don't shoot the messenger.

KoolAid ingredients- owner, coaches,front office,players

Ingredient owner-Daniel (Danny Boy, Danny) Snyder

well, anybody that's followed the Redskins at all the last 10 years knows what this means. Pick your own metaphor, FD&C red number five? Monosodium glutamate? Artificial coloring and flavoring? I don't think anything more needs to be said other than this, the ingredients are supposedly listed from most plentiful to the least on a food package. Let's just hope the owner ingredient is near the end of the list in the future.

I'm not going to pretend that I know anything about handicapping coaching staffs. I'm just  going to give you some interesting facts I pulled out and let you be the judge.

Ingredient Head Coach-Mike Shanahan
Mike Shanahan coached for 16 years, all in the AFC West. In those 16 years, his teams won the division four times and went to the playoffs seven times. The AFC West is arguably one of the weakest positions in football; the Raiders have had three seasons of double-digit wins in that timeframe, as have the Kansas City Chiefs. The San Diego Chargers have recently been quite consistent under the leadership of Norv Turner(kills me to say that) and have won the division three out of the last four years; the AFC division winner in 2008 was the Denver Broncos with a record of eight and eight. To be fair, though, Shanahan's Denver Broncos have been fairly consistent with seven seasons of double-digit wins. They've come in clumps though; 1996 through 1998 under the leadership of John Elway, and 2003 through 2005 on the leadership of Jake Plummer. Shanahan's teams have not done well under young quarterbacks, and I think this is why he made the move for McNabb. Looking at Mike's experiences in the 16 years of head coaching, I wouldn't find it surprising if he wasn't in a big hurry to find a young quarterback to groom for the future.
The coachs Shanahan has faced in this division are Norv Turner, Dick Vermiel, Herman Edwards, Lane Kiffen, Callahan, Schottenheimer, and Tom Cable, not exactly a murderer's row.

Now contrast that with the eastern divisions. The NFC East could be argued to be the toughest in the NFL, it seems there's always one wild-card team coming out of the East, and I can remember at least once where both of them came out of the East. The NFC East has produced a bucket load of Super Bowl champions. Ever since the realignment of 2002, the only real doormat in the NFC East has been... The Washington Redskins.
The AFC East has until recently been the mirror image of the AFC West, a pretty weak division. But look at what the New England Patriots under Bill Belichick have done in that division since 2000, they've dominated it. Even now, with the resurgence of the Miami Dolphins and the New York Jets, the patriots are still posting seasons with double digit wins; and when they don't win the division, they get the wild-card.
So pardon me if I question whether Shanahan is going to be an instant success in the NFC East, it's not an easy division, and he has not historically dominated a weaker division.

Ingredient-defensive coordinator, Jim Haslett.
To be honest, this is a bit of a misnomer, Jim has spent more time as a head coach than as a defensive coordinator. His most recent head-coaching gigs have been with the St. Louis Rams and in the UFL's Florida Tuskers. Haslett has had three stints as a defensive coordinator; in the 1996 season, he was the defensive coordinator for the Saints, from '97 to '99 Defensive coordinator for the Pittsburgh Steelers, and lastly, from 2006 to 2008 for the St. Louis Rams.
Some highlights- in 1996, the Saints had 22 turnovers produced by the defense, not bad. The team allowed an average of 21.2 points per game, which was good enough for 20th in the NFL that year.
In the three years with Pittsburgh Steelers, Jim Haslett's defenses allowed an average of 20 points per game and produced right around 30 turnovers per season, this was good enough to put the team in the top 15 of both categories.
It's the last three years with the St. Louis Rams that have me a little worried. The turnovers produced have dropped a little bit in these three years averaging right around 25 per season, a veritable flood in Redskins terms, but still a drop-off for Haslett. In 2006, the Rams allowed 23.8 points per game, which was good for 28th in the league. In 2007, they allowed an average of 27.4 points per game which was 31st in the league. In 2008, the Rams allowed a whopping 29.1 points per game, which again ranked them 31st in the league. Remember, the Rams play in the NFC West, there really were'nt any offensive power houses there in this time period.

Okay now for some scary statistics from the NFC East. Other than the Redskins obviously, the teams in the NFC east are  consistently in the top half of the league and recently at least two of the teams are in the top 10 in scoring. Again, excuse me for having my doubts as to whether Hazlett will be able to replicate his somewhat limited success in the tough NFC East.


Ingredient offensive coordinator-Kyle Shanahan.

Well, this is one of those ingredients like "natural flavorings", you just really have no idea what you got here;  you like the sound of it and you think it'll be good, but it still leaves you wondering. Kyle is young, very young, and the head coach's son. I just kind of wonder if he would have this job if his daddy wasn't Mike Shanahan. Granted he's done very well with the Texans, passing yardage is consistently in the top five but the rushing attack has been in the bottom half of the league. Scoring averages right around the middle of the road, ranking 17th and 10th in the league. It's really hard to make any other observations with such a short resume, the Texans strengths at the skill positions don't really compare to our perceived strengths on this team, but that's really a shot in the dark. I'm struggling to find offensive line stats that are meaningful, maybe somebody can help me out here. Houston quarterbacks have been sacked, approximately 4 1/2% of the time they attempted a pass. Redskin quarterbacks have been sacked approximately 7 1/2%. Offensive line stats are meaningless because our offensive line looks nothing like it has looked in last five years. We are switching schemes , we're going to a mainly zone blocking system where as the Redskins have used that system at times in the last few years.
It looks as though Rabach and Dockery are going to be the only starters who have any experience playing next to each other, the line is going to need some time to gel together.

Ingredient front office-Mike Shanahan and Bruce Allen.

Since the NFL draft only recently concluded, I don't feel obligated to rehash everything that we have been chewing on for the last month and a half. Open season on free agents is over, the draft is over, and the team has signed some undrafted free agents as well. We only had four picks to start the draft, the front office did what they could to get us more picks. I will remind you gentle reader that Shanahan has a 40% bust rate in the draft historically. Yes, he's picked some good players, but is also screwed up quite often.
There is little bit of myth here, however. I do not understand where Mike Shanahan  got the reputation of picking up superior late round Running backs. In researching Denver's dress from 1995 2008, I turned up nine running backs drafted in the fourth round or later. Here are the ones that have career yardage totals over 2000 yards, Terrel Davis-1995 6th round 7607 yards in 78 games. Olandis Gary-1999 fourth round, 1998 yards in 48 games. Mike Anderson-2000 sixth round, 4067 yards in 98 games; that's really not that outstanding when you start looking around the league.
Bruce Allen has done a solid job of getting the finances of the team in order. I like the fact that he has roots with the Redskins and I think he does a fine job  being the spokesperson.

Ingredient players-multiple

Well, we've been chewing this up and down and all around on this site for months, what else can I say? There's a lot of give-and-take on just about every position. Even on the positions that we feel somewhat comfortable with, such as tight end, we have controversy on what we should do. I've rambled on enough for one post, let me just leave it like this..."This product contains materials that are known to cause fits of euphoria, rage, drunkenness and disbelief, enjoy responsibly."

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