This is going to be a very rough next two months, so let's brace ourselves for that. Mike Shanahan's post-game presser was brutally honest that the Redskins season is over and while I can respect that, his team did not:
"When you lose a game like that, now you're playing to see who, obviously, is going to be on your football team for years to come," Shanahan said after his team's third straight loss and ninth in the past 10 games at FedEx Field. "Now we get a chance to evaluate players and see where we're at..."
Here's my question. Why shouldn't every Redskin player just do a Haynesworth and half-ass it, so they can go to a better team? The Redskins organization is a circus and the Head Coach just quit on the team. Beloved Lorenzo Alexander disagreed with Shanahan:
"You have a lot of guys that want to win now, people toward the end of their careers who have been here a long time, haven't been to the playoffs in a long time," Alexander said. "And ultimately that's what you play for, to go to a Super Bowl. "Bein' 3-6 really [stinks] because right now we're on the outside looking in. . . . I'm not thinkin' about next year. That's an offseason thing for me. But you know it's hard when you see yourself in that type of position and your head coach is saying those types of things. It's disappointing."
Why would any player want to stay in D.C. for a Coach that quits? Surely, all of us Redskins' fans remember Mary Schottenheimer's run. But why should Shanahan keep up the "one game at a time" fake from here on out? Redskins fans have been duped long enough that this is the year they're competitive again. Thanks for throwing us a bone, coach, although Mr. Snyder surely won't like it.
Clearly, the defense was a problem week two when the secondary was continually hung out to dry by a poor pass rush and safeties that didn't have their back. Darrell Green weighed in on the problem as well:
"In my humble opinion, you're seeing a lack of skill development. We're not talking about ‘Can they do it?' We're not saying, ‘Can they play?' But I think that there's a lost art of people knowing how to teach you how to do what you're supposed to do," Green said before Sunday's game. "I think that the league lacks that, and in my opinion that's what they're lacking here. I know some of these kids, and I know that they can do it. But when I watch, I go ‘Wow, he doesn't even know.'"
Cedric Griffin defended Raheem Morris when hearing that quote, but who cares? When Shanahan became the full-time General Manager of the Denver Broncos while Head Coach....that defense went right into the toilet. Here are those Broncos' defense rankings:
2008 - Yards per game (28th with 374.5), Points per game (30th with 28)
2007 - Yards per game (19th with 336), Points per game (28th with 25.6)
Granted, every couple years a defense can regress but there was some horrible defensive drafts those years. What really matters here in D.C. is that the Redskins have never had the personnel to run a 3-4 defense. The key two parts of ANY successful 3-4 defense:
1.) Pro-Bowl Nose Tackle
2.) Speedy Linebackers
The Redskins have never had either and are so far away from ever making that happen. Ma'ake Kemoeatu was laughable and the Redskins current front just don't get it done. London Fletcher and Perry Riley are slow in coverage and Orakpo and Kerrigan are not know for their agility. Let's not forget the Redskins need to completely revamp their secondary as well. Everyone needs to go save Josh Wilson.
So, how do the Redskins fix a last-ranked defense when the Redskins currently have ~$2.2 million in cap space, the cap penalty next year, and no first round draft picks for the next two years?
I don't have an answer for that. But it's clear Mike Shanahan has divided the locker room and left this team in no state to compete next year. This defense needs to be completely overhauled....again, and while fans are generally wrong about personnel decisions, we all hated the switch to the 3-4 from the start and we were clearly right about that.
If I was the owner I would absolutely sit down with Coach Shanahan and ask him what his plan is for the next two years. If he plans to stick with a 3-4, what coaches does he plan to bring in? (Lots of yelling ensues). Surely, the Redskins are in this salary penalty mess because of Snyder's own doing with the Hall and Haynesworth contracts, but that doesn't mean the defense wouldn't still be a bottom feeder this year. Snyder didn't bring in Madieu Williams and Tanard Jackson.
The Redskins called and mailed me about buying season tickets last week before the Panthers' game....it's as if they knew what was going to happen. Perhaps it's time to rip out another 10,000 seats because over 80% of my friends and family that had season tickets 2 years ago no longer do. That's not what Snyder or myself envisioned with Shanahan. Golf in November?...I might just do that.