What Does Mike Shanahan Have to do to Keep His Job?

Tom Szczerbowski

A look at what litmus tests Mike Shanahan needs to pass for him to be back a 5th year in 2014.

Mike Shanahan's tenure in DC has been problematic to say the least, but after yesterday's loss which all but ensured the Redskins won't repeat as NFC East Champs his seat has never been hotter. I've never been a Mike Shanahan fan and honestly would be happy to see the team go in a different direction, but I wanted to take a look at his situation by taking a more objective viewpoint. Below are the conditions that Mike Shanahan needs to meet to justify keeping his job.

Rest of the Season: Go at least 4-2, with three wins over the divisional opponents

-While going 6-0 or 5-1 would of course be better down the stretch I feel they are likely unrealistic, so all I would ask is for Shanahan to have a 7-9 record at the end of the year. Yes that is still below .500 for the year, but it at least keeps the Redskins out of the double digit loss column for the 3rd time of his four seasons. It would give Shanahan a .438 winning percentage after four years which is pretty bad, but at least an upgrade from the first two years (.344).

Having three of those four wins over divisional opponents would be key as well. Currently Mike Shanahan is 9-12 versus the division during his tenure. Three wins would put him at .500 against the division in four years. While not great considering who the rest of the division has struggled, it would at least be something to build upon. To be under .500 versus the division after 4 years would be another failed measure for Shanahan.

Fire and replace Special Teams coach Keith Burns:

-Is Keith Burns to blame for every special teams miscue on this team? Probably not, but the Redskins special teams have been the worst in the league and it is impossible to justify bringing back your coach in this situation. Hopefully the Redskins would try to find a special teams coach with a strong reputation to help get the most out of this unit. Also fixing some mistakes like the signing of Sav Rocca would be atop of the To Do List for special teams.

Replace the entire defensive coaching staff:

-Most people want Jim Haslett gone, but really he's not the biggest problem. The biggest problem is that among the position coaches none of them had 3-4 experience before coming to DC, and they are all handpicked by Mike Shanahan. Haslett may need to go, but clearing out the position coaches could be huge for this defense going forward. Not only could this bring some new energy to the defense, but it would hopefully mean that the new defensive coordinator would be able to have his own staff, and not be saddled with position coaches he doesn't want.

Bring in at least two new offensive assistants:

-While Mike Shanahan can't fire his son for obvious reasons he can look to bring in some new assistants to shake up the staff and try to get more out of some units. Bringing in a more respected quarterback coach could be one option, maybe a new offensive line coach as well. The Redskins could opt for more of a veteran adviser who could maybe help Kyle Shanahan out with game planning and play calling. One way or another the Redskins can't be content with the status quo here.

Bring in a restructured front office hierarchy:

Player acquisition has been a problem area for Mike Shanahan, and it's given him little to work with as the coach. The Redskins should revamp their scouting department/front office so that Mike Shanahan doesn't have the final say on all personnel moves. Of course he should have input, and maybe it would be okay if that is more than most coaches (though honestly I'm not too comfortable with that), but he clearly needs to take more of a secondary role when making moves.

Not only does it make sense from a time management standpoint, but it also makes sense for ensuring the best for the organization. With Mike Shanahan on the hot seat and in full control of personnel moves, he has every incentive to do whatever it takes to have a winning record in 2014, even if it hurts the team significantly in the future. That could lead to a disastrous offseason for the Redskins if they aren't careful.

Final Thoughts:

Now I really don't know if any of these four things will come to fruition (which is a big reason why I think the Redskins need to move on), but these would be the four things I'd need to see happen for Mike Shanahan to stay in Washington.

What do you think? What conditions do you think Mike Shanahan has to meet to come back for a 5th year? Respond in the comments with your conditions or if you believe he should be back right now say why!

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