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As the Washington Redskins again cruise through December on the way to yet another disappointing season, we as fans are faced with the question: Are things getting better or worse? As of late, there has been a groundswell of public opinion to fire the Shanahans and start over again. One of the smartest things I’ve heard on the topic was from ESPN 980 DC’s Steve Czaban in an interview with Kevin Sheehan , on his pre-game shows a couple of weeks ago. I paraphrase here: Shanahan may not be the answer, changing coaches after two years again is definitely not the answer. He has since changed his mind on this, and is now screaming for his head on a pike.
Most people seem to be of the mindset to judge this team on it’s record. Which admittedly has been bad. Shanahan has up to this point a worse record than his predecessor, Jim “Maroon and Black” Zorn. However, what has changed, is the philosophy. For years the idea was that the Redskins were just a couple of pieces away from being a good team again. This was held from ownership, to the GM, to the coaches, on down to the fans. But adding pieces in that manner has lead to a team that consistently clung to the lower end of mediocrity.
Now to the analogy portion of our lesson. Mike Shanahn has chosen to remove all of the rot from the structure and replace it with new fresh lumber. The Redskins are continuing to get younger at nearly every position, and those young guys will need some time to learn and grow in the system. Witness the offensive line, which has continued to improve despite being down to third string at some positions.
Judging a rebuilding team on its’s record can be mis-leading. We may have fewer wins, but I think we have bigger upside in the future. I’m tired of people citing the “one year turn-arounds” in the league every year. These are a myth. Take Detroit. This did not happen overnight. Stafford-3rd season, Pettigrew 3rd season, Kyle Vandenbosch 2nd season, Calvin Johnson 5th season. They have been putting pieces in place for a while. But it seems like it happened all at once, because they won only 8 games combined in the previous two years.
As fans we have been living in a lean-to for the last 20 years. It kept the rain off of us, but offered little else in terms of security. Shanahan has offered to build us a three bedroom house. The foundation is done, the walls are going up, but the roof is not on. We as fans are now crying because it doesn’t keep the rain out yet. Patience people, patience.