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Philosophical Question: Separating the reputation from the performance


I just need to say first that I am not a big fan of Shanahan. I'm not necessarily on the whole 'no playoff wins in 15 years' train, that seems quite harsh, I just don't like several of the decisions that he has made here and his demeanor and feel like he gets a free pass for a lot of things due to the situation that Danny created. I would have preferred a young promising coordinator in the Joe Gibbs mold, but I guess after Zorn that was not very realistic. Rest assured this is not a 'fire Shanahan' post, that would be about the stupidest thing that the Redskins could do, they would be forced back to hiring the Jim Zorns of the world. But I just have an honest question about how fellow fans see the balance between blind allegiance to Shanahan, and a more objective critique. A few examples after the jump (and yes, I am cherry picking)...

First of all I am not going to pick the easy ones (thinking McNabb still had gas in the tank, handling of Fat Albert, fake-staking his reputation on two QBs who sucked, nepotism, etc.). I thought that these are old ones and have been discussed enough, plus (except for lost draft picks or opportunities) don't really affect the team going forward.

Instead I'll just just highlight some things from the draft (where I think the questions about Shanahan are much more realistic than questioning him as a tactical or game day coach, which for the most part I find stupid, except maybe on the clock management front).

So here is the way I will phrase the question: can you separate the actor from the acts? To make it painfully obvious, I will use Jerruh as the stand in for Shanahan for the last draft.

#1: Cowboys trades more than has ever been traded before for a single player (yes this is true, as per draft value chart math and K. Sheehan) to acquire the rights to a Big 12 QB from a spread offense at the #2 spot. Potentially eviscerating the next couple of draft classes.

#2: With his 2nd pick in the draft (3rd round), Jerruh picks an OL player who has a history of weight issues, and CBS saw as going in 3 or 4 (others lower). Meanwhile, other teams saw 2nd round talent and picked it up in the 3rd round.

#3: Jerruh sees great value in a 2nd QB that many had rated as a 2nd or 3rd round prospect, and picks up Kirk Cousins with the Redskins 3rd pick. As an aside, VInny Ceratto compares this to the value he saw in (Davis, Kelly, Thomas) in the 2nd round and defends the BPA approach.

#4: In the 6th Jerruh picks Alfred Morris, an RB that few thought would be drafted, and rated as the 34th RB in the draft by CBS (who only predicted 20 would be picked up in the draft overall). Jerruh defends the pick by saying it is a fit for the Cowboys blocking scheme, and claims he was worried Morris wouldn't make it to UDFA.

#5: In the 7th, Jerruh uses his 2 picks on two CBs that CBS didn't even project as drafted, one of which CBS didn't even bother to create a profile for.

Anyway that was a little long winded. I would say that even the most objective Skins fan would be ripping Jerruh for a good number of these decisions. But when folks raise similar questions here, there tends to be this 'in Shanahan we trust' almost universal response.

To take one example, there appears to be only 1 poster (Jeff Bernard) who consistently points out that the price for RG3 was astronomically high (I guess I am #2, but his posts are a lot better). Really? Out of like 300 or 800 or whatever it is frequent posters? Of course everyone (Jeff included, as he has stated) wants RG3 to succeed, but how do you balance objective criticism with just blind faith in Shanahan and whatever he does? I always have thought of HH as a more objective spot that somewhere like extremeskins, where every decision that has ever been made is exactly the right one, but I just have seen a ton of 'whatever Shanahan does must be right' posts recently and I have been surprised by that.

BTW I am not advocating for the eternal optimists (IH8, etc.) to stop posting. I love that stuff. I just wonder how everyone else out there thinks about this issue. Anyway, probably a waste of a post but something I have been wondering about. I think if this were 8 years ago I would be drinking more of the kool-aid. But at some point you just have to say 'let's wait and see'. Thoughts? Feel free to talk me down from the ledge, IH8 and others.

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