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Coaching Continuity and Stability Takes Patience and Obstinance

Choosing to stick with a defensive coordinator that was overseeing a historically bad defense was bold...and might be paying off right now. Will Mike Shanahan remain this bold in the off season leading up to the 2013 campaign?

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(Two quick notes for the Hogs Haven faithful today:

1) Ten Yard Fight will come out tomorrow.

2) That says "Obstinance" in the title...not "Abstinence." I'll wager that at least some of our wives would gladly sign up for the latter regardless of the reason, so I felt the need to clarify.)

Be honest--if the reclining lounge chair you sit in to watch games had a red button in the arm that fired coaches, the Washington sideline would look very different today. At least a half a dozen times during the first weeks of the season, I know I was ready to do some firing. From the poor showing from our special teams units to a defense that looked unfit to win a powder puff game, there have been rumblings all season to get rid of certain coaches.

And just when we thought it could not get any worse, they had to go and win five straight...AND TOTALLY REDEEM THEMSELVES!!!! Sort of...

It didn't help that two teams relatively close in proximity to D.C.--Baltimore and Philadelphia--both fired coordinators along the way this season. While the Eagles have been in a free fall since last fall, the Ravens have already clinched a playoff spot, proving that bold moves like this can occur on winning teams. These actions only fueled the chorus from numerous sections of the fanbase and media to change things up.

Through it all, the Washington Redskins have stood firm. Like Norman Dale, Mike Shanahan answered repeated calls to make coaching changes with, "My staff is on the field." This stubborn attitude through the first nine games is undeniably one of the reasons for our 8-6 record. Don't get me wrong--there was NO REASON to believe this team was going to turn it around on defense. Further, firing Jim Haslett would only have saddled a potential future candidate with one of the thinnest secondaries we have ever seen...Kate Moss-thin. Yet unlike our neighbors along I-95, the Redskins kept their heads down and pursued stability and continuity--things we have been demanding for a very long time.

It would be hard to argue that there are many other more stable special teams situations in the league, from a coaching standpoint. Danny Smith has been here so long and through so many losing seasons, one wonders if he has an entire photo album full of naked pictures of Dan Snyder. Is his job safe now based on the accuracy of a rookie kicker and the spark of a rookie returner?

When Mike Shanahan came to Washington, he promised change, professionalism and direction, in so many words. With few exceptions, he has delivered. Despite the amazing run this team is currently making, it is not hard to foresee Bruce Allen and Mike Shanahan taking a hard look at their coaching staff in the off season. Given Shanahan is the one who picked the defensive style, it is not out of the question that he would bring someone else in to run it. Given Danny Smith has been around as long as he has, it is not out of the question that he might be relieved in favor of some fresh blood.

There is a strong case to be made for holding on for dear life through adversity to a coaching staff in the hopes that greater staff cohesion and increased player talent combine to create a true perennial contender. Mike Shanahan and Bruce Allen have shown that kind of resolve so far in their tenure with the Redskins.

My question to you now: Are you as eager today to see change on the sidelines in 2013 as you were six weeks ago or has this miraculous run changed your mind on the subject?