The doom and gloom behind the coaching needs no rehashing. But what does need extra discussion is assessment of the rest of the team outside of the coaching regime.
I seriously believe that this TEAM is in the best shape it has been in a decade. Let's consider a few areas or way of assessing the team...
Our on-field play has been attrocious. Bad scheming, lack of effort, and undisciplined errors everywhere. But look past that.
We have a handful of players that would make the starting roster on almost any NFL team. Note that these also happen to include some of the most important positions (QB, RB, LT, and pass rushers)
- RG3, AlMo, Darrel Young, Trent Williams, Pierre Garcon, Jordan Reed
- Cofield, Rak, Kerrigan, Riley, Hall (at his current level)
That is half of both the offensive and defensive units. Beyond that, we have a lot of young players, who have physical talent and potential that COULD be unlocked if we have the right coaches. The trick now is that we DON'T have the right coaches, and they don't elevate average players to good players. These players include the likes of:
- Gettis, Helu, Jarvis Jenkins, Brandon Jenkins, Perry Riley, Amerson, Rambo, Thomas, Crawford, Minnifield
In the past, we were handicapped when pursuing head coaches because our roster had next to nothing to offer. Now it does. A coach can show up without having to be in immediate evaluation mode for 100 FAs to bolster the entire team.
Dan Snyder meddles, and Bruce is a figurehead, yada yadda yadda. Sure there is truth here. They are not perfect, but the team ownership and office is no longer in the same company with the Jags, Cowboys, Raiders, etc.
Bruce might not be Ozzie Newsome, but he he far and away from Vinny Cerrato. He is easily par for the course amongst the ranks of NFL GMs. Will Danny switch to a real personnel man as the GM? Who knows, but what we do know is that the GM and front office should no longer be a deterrent to HC candidates. It might not be a big pro yet, but its not a con.
As to Snyder meddling. It's really hard to assess what is true, isn't it? In that regard, I think the most reliable opinions to listen to are the beat reporters who are around the team week in and week out. Tandler and Keim have put this debacle squarely on the shoulder of Shanahan. They've admitted Dan may not be perfect, but clearly stated that the situation is nothing that a good HC shouldn't be able to manage. Players have said there is no prefential treatment (at least not to an extreme degree) and we have heard plenty of examples of successful franchises around the league whose coaches are close with their star players.
Danny is not perfect, but we shouldn't buy into Shanny's plan to shift the blame off himself.
Attitudes and Extras
The Shanahan regime has invested in blue-collar players who want to work. While Shanny's ego has resulted in Fred Davis type situations (reminiscent of Haynesworth), we don't have any Haynesworth-level lazy divas on the team anymore. And no longer to we just throw money at high priced 32-year olds.
Finally, there are some other perks that big names like Shanahan and RG3 have brought to the team. We now have a practice bubble, a better training camp site, and a slew of upgrades to redskins park. These are all things that look nice to future HC's. We have most of the pieces of a stable (not elite) franchise in place now.
It's hard to expect us to make every right move at once. Getting the perfect GM, Coaches, draft picks, FA acquisitions, facility upgrades, and the like does not all happen overnight in one fell swoop.
Those things happen through years of stability and good management. Shanahan's ego really fucked up chemistry, schemes, and some personnel, but a lot of those other things are now in place. We are in a position that can be built from.
In the past, we had to go from one "3 year rebuild" to another, because none of this was in place. Now that is is, we can be the team that turns it around in one year. There is plenty to be optimistic about here, for both the fans, and for courting our next Head Coach.