November 20, 2019

Washington Redskins: Kerrigan gets Extended and Pre-Training Camp Press Conference Pointers

On the eve of the Washington Redskins start of training camp, the unofficial start of the 2015 season, head coach Jay Gruden and Pro-Bowl linebacker Ryan Kerrigan were kind enough to speak to the media.

As was broken today, Ryan Kerrigan agreed to a 5-year/$57.5 million extension with a $16 million signing bonus. Kerrigan would have otherwise made $7.03 million this year before becoming a free agent next summer. After deciding to exercise the option of Robert Griffin III next year, General Manager Scot McCloughan has made his second big move in evaluating in-house talent by making Kerrigan the third highest paid outside linebacker behind Chiefs’ Justin Houston and Packers’ Clay Matthews.

Kerrigan thanked the upper management of owner Daniel Snyder, President Bruce Allen, and GM McCloughan as well as his agent Eric Schaffer. After acknowledging the vote of confidence, Kerrigan gave us the quote of the day to warm Redskins’ fans hearts by saying, “it’s my job to go reward the Redskins for the faith they put in me by playing well this year and for the rest of my career”. Kerrigan is excited to get back to work tomorrow in training camp after having to sit out OTAs and mini-camp due to a precautionary knee procedure. The defensive mainstay for the Redskins over the past years of turmoil was a major proponent in Kerrigan’s extension.

Jay Gruden’s Presser Need to Know Points

  • LT Trent Williams, TE Jordan Reed, CB DeAngelo Hall, LB Ryan Kerrigan, and backup RT Morgan Moses all medically cleared for camp
  • Gruden is excited and happy for Kerrigan because a “great kid” is living the dream, to play for his beloved childhood team
  • Only one question regarding Robert Griffin III today (out of 18); Gruden mentioned that any negative comments against Griffin during the offseason is from unnamed sources who are not reliably credible. Gruden thinks RG3 is mentally tough and is going to handle the adversity by getting better. The head coach went further into detail by describing how Griffin has put the work in, which has never been question, specifically by getting his body and mind  right.
  • Negotiations on a Trent Williams contract extension are still on-going. The Silverback will be owed $14.2 million this year including incentives before becoming on unrestricted free agent next summer after six years of burgundy and gold under his belt.
  • Per usual, second year head coach Jay Gruden was positive about anything and every aspect of the team he was asked about whether it be Scot McCloughan’s mentality to build a team of “big, tough guys”, new coaching staff personnel, and the roster additions particularly on defense.

Important Dates:

  • Training camps starts TOMORROW on Thursday, July 30. See a full schedule of the Redskins training camp practices here.
  • Travel to Cleveland for first preseason matchup against the Browns on Thursday, August 13 in 15 days.
  • Season and home opener against Miami Dolphins on Sunday, September 13 in 46 days.

Second Big Change of the 2015 Washington Redskins Offseason comes at General Manager

Less than a week after the organization “mutually” parted ways with Defensive Coordinator Jim Haslett, the Washington Redskins made a big splash in the management department. Last week, Bruce Allen said “it’s not too much on his plate” to serve as both President and General Manager, but something must have changes as the Washington Redskins are on their way to hiring talent evaluating guru Scot McCloughan as their 14th General Manager in franchise history (after they meet the terms of the Rooney rule).

After rumors swirled that former San Diego Charger President and GM A.J. Smith would be given a promotion in the organization, McCloughan was reportedly meeting with owner Daniel Snyder for six hours. Although an official press conference will come later this week, McCloughan is believed to have been given a four-year deal.

So far this looks like an excellent move by the franchise in a possible long chain of massive overhauls to rebuild the organization. It must have taken a lot for Bruce Allen to swallow his pride and hand over full power over the personnel department including adding or subtracting from the actual evaluators, but it was a move than needed to be done after another brutal season.

Although McCloughan spent last year out of football because of problems he had with alcohol, it is reported that he has handled those demons and ready to make contenders out of a third NFL franchise. Fans should be excited about the track record he brings to the Redskins and that Snyder was able to lure him here as he also had rumored talks with the Oakland Raiders and New York Jets.

In 2005 McCloughan was named vice president of player personnel in San Francisco and was general manager from 2008-2010 before moving on. He subsequently served as Seattle Seahawks GM John Schneider’s right-hand man from 2012 to 2014. McCloughan has been credited with hitting on late-round picks such as Richard Sherman while he was in charge and is also believed to be a catalyst in turning the respective franchises into Super Bowl contenders and powerhouses.

The Redskins have been in dire need to enhance their personnel department during the recent years of Dan Snyder’s ownership and adding an individual such as McCloughan with a true scouting background might do the trick –or at least start the process. Since McCloughan ran a private scouting service that the Redskins were clients of last year he should be able to immediately help as soon as the upcoming draft in late April into early May.

McCloughan’s eventual hire might play in the role of deciding who will fill the vacant opening at defensive coordinator the Redskins have, whether it be former Dallas Cowboys’ Head Coach Wade Phillips, current San Francisco 49ers’ Secondary Coach Ed Donatell, or current San Diego Chargers’ linebacker coach Joe Barry, as well as possible firings at lower level assistants on both sides of the ball.

Moreover, this will most probably have an impact on the expanded role A.J. Smith is planning to have as he is scheduled to meet with upper management on Sunday. All in all, if the Redskins are planning on returning to prominence in the recent future, they need to continue to make moves that make logical football operations sense like this one moving forward.

OPINION: Allen encapsulates Redskins’ woes with disaster press conference

Washington Redskins President and General Manager Bruce Allen took time this morning to speak with the D.C. media after his fifth season at the helm of the franchise.

If his late father, George, were on the Redskins’ Mount Rushmore for his services as head coach in the 1970s, the proverbial Hall of Shame would be too great of an honor for the younger Allen.

[Read more…]

Current State of the Washington Redskins at Quarterback Going into the 2015 Offseason

Robert Griffin III's future with the Washington Redskins is up in the air. (photo by Brian Murphy)

Robert Griffin III’s future with the Washington Redskins is up in the air. (photo by Brian Murphy)

The Washington Redskins just completed another dreadful season, which continues a streak of terrible play on the field and dysfunction off. The biggest question going into the offseason is obvious — who will be the signal caller going into training camp, preseason, and eventually week one of the regular season?

That individual might be Robert Griffin III, Kirk Cousins, Colt McCoy, or a dark horse that is not even on the team yet. It is unlikely that the Redskins will use their No. 5 overall pick in the upcoming draft on Jameis Winston or Marcus Mariota should they be available, but the team could pick a quarterback with one of their mid- or late-round selections.

Going into 2014, Robert Griffin III was the starter without a question, with Kirk Cousins playing the role of a serviceable backup, and Colt McCoy sporting a headset and being inactive. That is hardly how the season turned out as Griffin started seven of the nine games he appeared in, Cousins five of six, and McCoy four of five.

Controversy began before the season started as many believed Kirk Cousins was a better option under center than Griffin. Not only that, but many believed new head coach Jay Gruden thought it as well.

After a shaky performance at Houston week one, fuel was added to the fire. However, Griffin got the start against Jacksonville the next week, where he began a solid drive before suffering the dislocated ankle injury. As a result, Cousins was given the chance he was hoping for but did not take advantage of it. Cousins finished with eleven turnovers against ten touchdowns, with an 86.4 QB rating, before being benched against Tennessee in week seven.

With Griffin still on the shelf with his ankle injury, McCoy was given the reigns and he successfully completed the comeback against Tennessee. Those heroics gave McCoy the opportunity to return to his home state and start against the rival Dallas Cowboys on Monday Night Football.

In the Redskins most complete and best game of the season, McCoy restored hope to a lacking franchise and led the team to victory. Unfortunately for McCoy, and quite possibly the rest of the Redskins season, Griffin returned from injury was given back his job as the starting quarterback.

Griffin came back to start against Minnesota, Tampa Bay, and San Francisco and, quite frankly, stunk it up and looked like a complete joke. Griffin had a total QB rating of less than 80 and was sacked a whopping 16 times, a direct correlation to his lack of reading defenses and quickly going through his progressions.

This led to Colt McCoy being given an opportunity to continue his strong play from earlier in the season. McCoy continued his impressive performance against Indianapolis but was rewarded with one of the worst defensive showings of the year and a loss.

McCoy had a poor performance against St. Louis the following week and suffered a neck injury, and Griffin stepped back in midway through the game against New York after McCoy could not continue physically. Griffin was given the majority of the final three weeks to state his case and although he showed some improvement, he has not guaranteed himself the job heading into the offseason.

Gruden, who is likely — but not certain at this point — to be retained as head coach next season, has stated that “all three quarterbacks have shown the ability that they can play quarterback in the NFL, but all three quarterbacks have shown that they need some work”.

Moreover, as it is difficult to have three in competition because of the limited amount of quality reps available, Gruden would like to narrow it down to two and then one “to work and grind on him and develop him.”

The one thing we know for sure at this time is Colt McCoy will become a free agent on March 10 if he is not re-signed before then. With limited cap space available and the possibility of McCoy wanting more than the veteran minimum, money could play a role in determining those who will be competing for the lead signal caller job in DC.

We can speculate that Griffin has the current edge in the competition because of the speculative backing from Bruce Allen and Dan Snyder. This most likely stems from the stubbornness of upper management to admit a mistake for giving up so much for a possible bust at the position. However, this next season may be the last straw for Griffin regardless.

Adding to the intrigue is Cousins’ status, as reports surfaced Monday that he would prefer to be traded if not given a fair shot to win the starting job. Cousin spoke on a conference call to clear the air that he did not “demand” a trade. But preferring to play somewhere else is different than “demanding” a trade.

Still, it’s hard to see the Redskins trading Cousins, or receiving what they think might be fair market value for him.

The best guess going into training camp is that all three quarterbacks — Griffin, Cousins, and McCoy — will be in competition for the starting job, with the obvious undertones from the front office leaning toward Griffin.

After training camp evaluations, as well as evaluations of the film from all three from the past season, Gruden will quickly narrow the search down to two with a front runner. Gruden and offensive coordinator Sean McVay will most likely put all their efforts into shaping that one front runner into their starter as long as everything goes well.

However, as this fan base has sadly grown accustomed to, this may be far from the case.

Five takeaways from the Washington Redskins Game 8 win against the Dallas Cowboys

Here are the five biggest takeaways from the Washington Redskins’ 20-17 win to the Dallas Cowboys:

1. Colt McCoy takes possibly his last opportunity to start and shines.

There are many nitpicky issues that can be found in McCoy’s game from not turning turnovers into points and underthrowing Desean Jackson, but this kid went out and played a great game. Having just a mere week of practice with the starting weapons McCoy settled into the system and executed the game plan.

The Texas product returning home completed over 80% of his passes for a grand total of 299 yards. McCoy was able to get the ball to DeSean Jackson deep multiple times and the completion was the most important part. Additionally, McCoy bounced back after halftime when trailing by leading an impressive touchdown drive overcoming usual drive derailing penalties. Then after Dallas ties it back up he takes his squad right back down the field, puts his body on the line on third down to get the score on a quarterback draw.

Then after struggling to get a score at the end of the game he came out in overtime firing and marched his team into field goal position where Kai Forbath ended up having the game winning points. McCoy had a heck of a game and maybe has given his career some kind of a jolt, just probably not in Washington though.

2. Defense plays great when Romo is in, a good thing he comes back in.

How well the defense played without Brian Orakpo and DeAngelo Hall is not describable in words. Even when the ball was moved against them early in the game they were able to get stops or cause turnovers to end Dallas drives. The wheels began to come off when Brandon Weeden came into the game as missed tackles and blown coverages led to 10 points for the Cowboys.

However, as Jerry Jones wanted his prized possession in Tony Romo returned to the game, a great sign for the Redskins defense. The Redskins were able to harass Romo all game especially in key moments in the game on third downs. Not only at the end of regulation, but the defense stopped the Cowboys from getting TWO yards on three plays to end the game in overtime. The Redskins got five sacks on Romo as well as two turnovers when they could have had many more. All in all the defense did their part in picking up their best win of the year.

3. Redskins coaching staff is the unsung hero.

Not only did Jay Gruden provide a good game plan for Colt McCoy to succeed. Although several runs on first down did not amount to much on the ground, it set up deep play action bombs to DeSean Jackson. Even gutsier was his decision to go for a fourth down and one by throwing to Darrel Young in the flat. However, I think the best play calling came from defensive coordinator Jim Haslett who was able to unleash imaginative stunts and blitzes that came through in the clutch against Dallas.

Haslett used Brandon Merriweather strength as an aggressor as well as Perry Riley and Keenan Robinson to end Dallas drives with sacks instead of getting beat down the field. This attests to Haslett’s trust in his young 22 year old corners of David Amerson and Baushad Breeland who played their best games of their young career.

4. The Redskins continue to get their money’s worth out of DeSean Jackson.

Desean Jackson was NOT a big money bust under Dan Snyder thus far as he game in and game out has an impact on the game with his speed. On seven targets, Jackson had six completions for a whopping 136 yards, which could have been more if McCoy had a stronger arm. If the Redskins are to go on any kind of a run to try and make the playoffs, then Jackson will clearly play a big role in that. Moreover, Jackson will be able to contribute to this potentially high octane offense for the next couple year as well.

5. Robert Griffin III’s return has been delayed.

Many are glad that Griffin was not rushed back this season as he clearly was to start last season. Additionally, because he was inactive for this game many think he will not come back until after the bye. I think that has turned into a clear wait as McCoy has shown himself to be more than capable to play in the NFL. As a result, I expect him to start against a lesser opponent in the Minnesota Vikings last year. However, as much as the fans will give their good graces to McCoy right now, Griffin will be back under center at home against Tampa Bay barring a tragedy.

Redskins fire Shanahan — Bruce Allen press conference transcript

“Has he taken a step back? He’s still one of the great fans.” Redskins GM Bruce Allen, on owner Daniel Snyder.

Washington Redskins general manager Bruce Allen met with reporters Monday afternoon after dismissing Mike Shanahan as head coach and releasing most of the coaching staff. Below is a transcript of his entire comments (courtesy Redskins Media Relations).

List of coaches not retained: Keith Burns (special teams), Larry Coyer (advance scout), Richmond Flowers (offensive quality control), Matt LaFleur (quarterbacks), Mike McDaniel (wide recievers), Kyle Shanahan (offensive coordinator), Bob Slowik (linebackers), Bobby Slowik (defensive assistant), Bobby Turner (associate head coach/running backs coach ), Aubrey Pleasant (offensive assistant), Richard Hightower (special teams assistant).

Executive Vice President/General Manager Bruce Allen

Opening statements:

“Good afternoon. Obviously this is a painful day for me and the organization. It is fitting though, after a painful season, that these type of press conferences and events happen.

“Four years ago we thought we did the right thing. We went out and met with Mike [Shanahan]. We wanted a proven coach who had a good record and we felt could lead our football team, and in discussions with Mike, he was always honest with us. He said he wanted to make sure he had the same type of control and staffing that he had in Denver and we agreed to that. Unfortunately today our results aren’t what we had hoped on that day, and that’s why we’re here.

“Today [Owner] Dan [Snyder], Mike and I met at 9:00 and we relieved Mike of his duties. It was a cordial, professional meeting. We talked about the future of the team and the direction that we both want it to go. After that I’ve been meeting with all the assistant coaches individually and telling them of their status. Later today [Senior Vice President] Tony [Wyllie] will give you a list of coaches who have also been relieved of their duties. The other coaches will depend on the next head coach – if they fit into the schemes and the system that the new head coach wants to implement. Later today I’m going to meet with a couple more of our staff members and we’re going to start to formalize the coaching search.

“I know there’s been speculation throughout the last weeks and maybe even months about what is going to happen and the reason we waited until now versus all of the previous comments of if we were going to make a change during the season was because we wanted Mike to have the ability to right the ship. We wanted to end that losing streak. For every play on this team and for everybody in the organization, for every fan out there, we wanted to get a win. We came close in the last few weeks, but as is the frustration over the last four years, we played some good quarters, some good halves, but we didn’t play complete games.

“As I said a moment ago, our head coaching search will start tonight. Because of league rules, we’re not going to try and publicize who we’re going to try and talk to. I know there’s going to be rumors out there as we meet people, and we’re going to try and keep you updated on a regular basis. We’re going to try and do this as quickly as possible, but more importantly we want to do it correctly. We want to pick the right coach, the right leader for this franchise that can inspire this football team, that can lead this team and teach them the fundamentals that are so critical in the game, who understands the value of time, because in the NFL right now time is really, really critical to manage. You don’t have much time in the offseason with the players. You don’t have much time during training camp with players. So to understand the value of that time is going to be important, and to have someone with some urgency to accomplish the goals that we’re looking for for this franchise.

“To sit here and talk about Mike Shanahan leaving us is difficult because we’re all 3-13. We accept that. We understand it. The Washington Redskins will win and lose as a football team. Period. That’s who we are, and we understand some of the mistakes that were made and we are going to take the next several months and figure out all the mistakes that were made in order to learn from them. [Cornerback] Josh Wilson gave me a great Christmas present, pretty telling, it was a book and it said ‘Sometimes you win, sometimes you learn.’ We learned too much this year, maybe, but we’ve got to learn to go in the right direction and that’s what we’re going to do.”

On who will have control over player personnel moving forward:

“The control will be mine, and it will be working with our personnel department. The personnel department of [Director of Player Personnel] Scott Campbell and [Director of Pro Personnel] Morocco Brown actually do a very good job at what they do. We are going to redefine some of the characteristics that we’re looking for in players. Obviously when we have a new head coach there will be some schematic adjustments that we will make, but that power will be with me.”

On the reports and rumors around the franchise late in the season:

“Part of that was – let me use the right word – distasteful to hear. Within in the Redskins — and I do like that the players say it’s on us, it is on us, it’s on all of us from people in the front office to people on the football field to people in the locker room, it is on us — and to see those anonymous sources and the back-biting and different comments, I think it’s very important to know that a lot of it was untrue, but at the same time it was distasteful. Any coach, any organization knows in pro sports you need to eliminate distractions. Instead we created our own distractions and it distracted from our play on the field and we will do our best to alleviate any of those issues in the future.”

On if they will redefine front office roles:

“No, we’re going to keep everybody in their role and we’re going to make sure they can focus on their job that they have to do. They’ll be involved in the interview process. They will be involved as they have been in talking to some of the coaches today. We feel comfortable with them. It doesn’t mean we might not add somebody to the personnel department, but we feel we have a good personnel department that has been interviewed for other positions and we’re comfortable with it now.”

On if the next head coach has to be someone that has won as a head coach before:

“It really is an open list. It will have NFL coaches, it will have college coaches on it. Some have head coaching experience, some don’t, and I’m really looking forward to meeting some of the people who I haven’t met yet. I’ve seen them from afar and I want to hear what their dreams are, what they can do, the fire in their belly to coach the Washington Redskins, to inspire the kids on this football team.”

On reports of fractured relationships within the organization:

“That’s part of the rumors that are out there. Mike has always been professional and we always had an easy dialogue when discussing issues. I don’t think there was a fractured relationship. I think that the intensity of trying to do the right thing all the time maybe was too much for everyone at times, but I think the relationship was good, as it was in our meeting this morning. Mike and Dan have a very good relationship as people, and I think that’s going to continue in the future.”

On if he is concerned about instability after another coaching change:

“In the NFL right now, stability is a strange word. I think we need to put that up at a league meeting, ‘What is stability?’ There’s eight head coaching changes last year, eight the year before, no reason to believe there might not be eight again. Last year half the offensive coordinators in the NFL changed teams, so I think we’ve had a pretty good run with four years. Unfortunately, three of the years were losing records and those are the results. The great thing about sports is we play with a scoreboard. We don’t have to wait for a quarterly report to tell us how we did in sales or any of that. We know immediately, and the distasteful and the painful part was we were 3-13. We lost 13 times.”

On if continuity not breeding success is a problem that goes deeper than the head coaching position:

“No, not at all. You can look at teams that turn around in one year — I think the greatest example is Philadelphia and Kansas City — [Kansas City] Coach [Andy] Reid did a great job with the Chiefs. He just left Philly and they didn’t perform well but the new coach came in and led them to the division title. If we find the right person, we will have the stability that we all want in the NFL.”

On if the team is better off now than it was before hiring Shanahan:

“In ways, yes. The frustration of the season is there is a nucleus for success. We saw it. We saw it just a year ago. And the nucleus is here, and we have some of the right foundational principles to win. We just have to learn to take advantage of all 60 minutes in a game and close the deal. We had way too many giveaways this year. I don’t think there’s anything that speaks to our season as much as our first-quarter record. We had the worst in the league net point differential, minus-79 points, in the first quarter, so obviously that made the games even more painful when you’re trying to come from behind at times. I feel we have an opportunity because of the nucleus of the team, the spirit of the team. I think through all of the different issues that came up this year – some true, some untrue – the team did stick together. The core of this team believes in each other.”

On when the decision to relieve Shanahan was made:

“I would say probably after the Dallas game it was near 99 percent, but the most important thing after the Dallas game was to try and beat the Giants, and we felt that Mike and his staff gave us the best chance to beat the Giants the next week. Unfortunately that didn’t happen and that’s why we’re here today.”

On why fans should believe the next head coach will succeed after previous coaches have not:

“I can’t speak for the prior years. I can speak for Mike’s years, and Dan was very supportive of all of Mike’s wishes and ideas, as he has with the different thoughts that I’ve had from time to time. This is the Washington Redskins. This is a very high-profile team. When the Dallas Cowboys or the Washington Redskins are in first place it’s a lot of news, and when they’re in last place it’s a lot of news. I think coming into this environment, knowing that there is a nucleus, I think it will be a very attractive position to coaches.”

On if he learned anything specific from mistakes made in his time here:

“We met this morning in the personnel department to make sure that we documented every pick that we’ve made and we’ve documented every free agent that we’ve discussed or gave a bad grade to that is performing well right now in the NFL. So we’re studying the personnel at this point.”

On how responsible he feels for this season and the record over the last four years:

“I feel very responsible. I think I said that at the beginning that everyone here feels responsible, and in my position it’s what creates the pain because I can see where we want to go, I can feel where we want to go, and I know that the players have that same drive. So I feel responsible for it. We’re all accountable for our record. That’s the great thing, once again, about sports. I’m 3-13 as is Tony Wyllie over here.”

On what the head coaching job has to offer to candidates:

“As I just said a little bit earlier, the attractiveness of coming to one of the flagship franchises in the NFL is exciting to coaches. The coaching profession is one that I have tremendous respect for and I think it has some of the highest highs and some of the lowest lows of any profession out there, and sometimes you find coaches who can’t wait to have a tough situation of taking over a last-place team. I think if you would ask coaches a lot of times would you want to take over a first-place team or a last-place team, in football, they’d say last place. Unfortunately we’re there, but I do think it’s going to be a great opportunity for a coach.”

On his role in the organization moving forward:

“My job is to put the Washington Redskins organization on the right track and to continue to build the foundation for this team to win and it is my job to find the next head coach for the Washington Redskins.”

On if his role will include control over personnel decisions:

“That’s all part of it.”

On if he will be looking for specific offensive or defensive schemes in the new coach:

“I think I’m going to look for the person who can describe what they want to do the best. It could be a 4-3, it could be a 3-4. It’s the person who has the understanding and the knowledge of what he wants to teach the players. As I said at the beginning, we’re going to look for someone who is a leader first and it could be on the offensive side of the ball, defense or special team. There have been a couple special teams coaches who have made great head coaches. We’re going to keep an open mind and look forward to them telling us how they’re going to make the Washington Redskins successful – have that fire in the belly that I discussed about being excited and what they can do to make the Redskins win.”

On how much Snyder’s involvement has changed in recent years:

“Once again, it’s tough for me to discuss what he did before I came here, because I wasn’t here. He’s been very supportive of everything we’ve wanted to do. Has he taken a step back? He’s still one of the great fans. I think – and I’ve seen some of the reports, if you knew how much Dan Snyder wants to win – I mean, he wants to win more than life itself – and he has given us the support and the resources to do what we think is necessary to help us win. It showed a year ago and this year it didn’t, but it’s our job to do the execution. It’s not Dan calling the plays. It’s not Dan picking the players. It’s the people he’s hired, it’s our job to actually turn this team into a winner.”

On his reasoning for not restructuring the front office:

“I see some people who have to be given an opportunity to succeed. I think Scott Campbell running a college draft will be as capable as any personnel director in the NFL. I know what Morocco Brown can do in free agency. I’ve seen the grades of the players he’s given in free agency. To blame them, I think, would be unfair to not giving them an opportunity to succeed. Our front office will win and lose as the team does. We believe that we have the right people in place. You saw it last year. This year, you saw – not the complete opposite, because we lost eight versus winning seven in a row. We’re very confident where we’re going to go with them.”

On if something is inherently wrong after finishing in last place in five out of the last six seasons:

“Not in the NFL. Not in sports. I can’t change history. You’d like to, but you can’t change history. It’s all about today and where we’re going in the future. I think when we provide the right type of leadership, the right type of foundation for a new coach and a new team, that’s what’s going to matter. I can’t change what happened yesterday. We are going to have the chance to change the future and that’s what our task is and we look forward to it.”

Closing statement:

“It is a difficult day. In talking to the coaches, it’s very painful, and I respect all the work that they put into it, but the results weren’t there. It’s now our job today with the nucleus that we have to change our fortunes in the future and we think we can do that. I want to thank you, and as I said, we’re going to try and keep you updated during this process so the fans know what we’re doing with the coaching search. Thank you.”

OPINION: Redskins fire Shanahan — Where do they go from here?

After meeting with owner Daniel Snyder Monday morning, while the players were in the locker room answering to the media following their eighth straight loss ending a 3-13 season, the Washington Redskins fired head coach Mike Shanahan and his entire coaching staff. Where the team goes from here is literally anybody’s guess.

The move comes as absolutely no surprise. Shanahan compiled a 24-40 record over four seasons — reason enough to dismiss the veteran coach and start over, were the problems with this franchise limited solely to the playing field.

Shanahan’s teams in four seasons finished with double-digit losses three times, and the sole time they did not, they started the season 3-6 and in Shanahan’s press conference following the sixth loss, a 21-13 decision to the Carolina Panthers, he essentially gave up on the season, saying that over the course of the season he’d find out who belonged and who did not.

The Skins then went on an improbable seven-game winning streak to win the division and make their only playoff appearance under Shanahan — a loss at home to the Seattle Seahawks, one in which the franchise quarterback, Robert Griffin III, was allowed to return to the game when his right knee was obviously compromised, only to blow it out completely requiring extensive surgery, causing him to miss all of the offseason workouts, training camp and preseason.

During the rehab process, and indeed, even after the season started, Shanahan and Griffin’s camps were divided and fractious, with the player having lost trust of the team doctors, his head coach, and by extension, his offensive coordinator, Kyle Shanahan, Mike’s son.

What was left was a tenuous situation at best, with an obviously rusty Griffin not succeeding on the field and left warring with his immediate supervisors, all under the same big tent as Snyder — and General Manager Bruce Allen — sat silently, out of the spotlight watching all the ugliness unfold: all the ugly losses, the leaked reports citing “unnamed sources”, the headlines in the national media and the degraded play of the previous season’s Offensive Rookie of the Year, ultimately leading to Shanahan benching a seemingly healthy Griffin for the team’s last three games of the season.

So Shanahan — and the $7 million that remained on the original five-year contract he signed — ride off into the sunset, his reputation and legacy further clouded by the stench of three double-digit loss seasons, the pandering nepotism, and the ceaseless turmoil and divisive media leaks that could only have come from within his camp as this season wound down.

But he’s not the Redskins’ problem anymore. Where, exactly, do they go from here?

The Redskins head coaching gig should be a prized position. Despite the 3-13 season — and the lack of first round draft picks the next two seasons, the new coach will have a presumably healthy and motivated Griffin to work with. That will be the new guy’s primary responsibility: repairing the damage this franchise has done to Griffin, both physically and psychologically.

The new head coach, offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach have to iron out Griffin’s footwork, keep him better protected, and put him back in a position to succeed, not simply live out the OC’s desire to prove he’s smarter than everyone around him.

That means, among other things, they have to fill the playbook with screens, picks and slants — like most teams with young quarterback do. They have to design plays intended to get the ball out of Griffin’s hands as quickly as possible and allow players more suited for the rigors of NFL contact to take that punishment on a regular basis.

Griffin’s legs are a weapon, yes. But they don’t have to be the only trick in the book. Griffin should run when he feels the pressure to escape the rush, where he’s able to break down defenses on the edge with his speed and natural ability. He just doesn’t have the frame to withstand running the ball off-tackle, where 300-lb linemen and 250-lb linebackers can neutralize that speed due to more-confined spaces.

There’s a really good reason the option doesn’t work on the professional level as a basis for an offense.

It also means the Skins have to fine several offensive linemen that excel in pass blocking. The group they currently have are decent-enough run blockers, but as a group — especially the interior — they aren’t proficient enough in the passing game.

That task should fall to a new talent evaluator as well. The Redskins have had enough experience with “my way or the highway” coaches to realize that a traditional system, with a GM that acts as talent evaluator and head coach that manages that talent, should be the way to go. The new coach is going to have enough trouble getting Griffin’s career back on track.

And once and for all, Mr. Snyder needs to stay away from the field. He needs someone to help him finally realize that fraternizing with the players, though a perk of ownership, should be confined to team holiday parties and special occasions like the Homecoming Luncheon. He needs to finally realize that his relationship with individual players undermines his coaches and lowers opinions of him throughout the league.

Mr. Snyder needs to hire a competent GM and let him do his job. He needs to allow the GM to hire a head coach, preferably and up-and-comer, not another “big-name” retread looking for a golden parachute. He needs to allow the head coach to hire his own coordinators and assistants, with the guidance of the GM. And he needs to step away and enjoy his product from the comfort of his suite AT ALL TIMES, instead of hanging around on the sidelines at practice like a giddy fanboy.

Or else we’ll just be back at this again in another couple of years.

Shanahan address benching Griffin, speaking with Snyder, his future

“That’s what you do about a quarterback. He’s your franchise. That’s why you ask those questions. You don’t do it about the other positions. Dan could care less about the other positions.” — Mike Shanahan, about talking to owner Daniel Snyder about the quarterback situation.

Washington Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan held his normal Tuesday press conference, but the situation was anything but normal as the coach tried to explain his decision-making process for benching his star quarterback, Robert Griffin III, for the rest of the season.

Shanahan’s comments were wide-ranging, from the breakdowns in protection, to Griffin’s injury in the Seattle playoff game last season, to his future. He cited preserving Griffin’s health as the major reason to put him on the bench, especially in the wake of all Griffin’s injuries.

“The first thing I did is I talked to Dan Snyder about a week ago, talking about the amount of hits Robert has had.” Shanahan started. “Anytime you’re hit as many times as he’s been hit, I thought it was in his best interest, the organization’s, to talk about if we should continue playing Robert if he’s hit as many times as he’s been hit. Dan thought about it and talked to [Executive Vice President/General Manager] Bruce [Allen] about it, and at the end of the day we felt that the best thing to do for Robert was to not play him – give Kirk an opportunity to play – so he could go into an offseason healthy. Any time you miss an offseason in the National Football League it does set you back quite a bit, and we thought going into this offseason [after] missing last year, that this was the best way to do it.”

Shanahan referenced Griffin’s injury against Seattle as a motivating factor in the decision.

“After [an injury] happens, it’s too late,” Shanahan said. “Just like the Seattle game at halftime. I could have kicked myself in the rear end. Because my gut was even though the doctor said, hey, he was fine, it was all stable, you don’t have to worry. Robert said it was fine. I knew, in my gut. I watched him. I said, hey, that’s what I should have done, because I did see it. You have to go with your gut sometimes.”

But this isn’t a gut decision, one made in the heat of a playoff game. This is a calculated decision made a week in advance of their next game. This is a decision where a healthy player is being held out of games that count in the standings in preservation for offseason workouts and the following season.

“When you’re taking hits, it doesn’t matter who’s at fault,” Shanahan said. “The matter is do you protect your quarterback or don’t you protect your quarterback? If it’s his fault, if it’s the offensive line, if it’s the receivers — it doesn’t matter! It doesn’t matter whose fault it is. What matters is he’s getting hit.”

Of course it matters. Instead of confronting the problems — be it offensive line, receivers or quarterback — Shanahan instead has decided to avoid the problem altogether. Instead of concentrating on the problem area, making adjustments and taking the adjustments onto the field, he’s simply pulling a healthy quarterback and sitting him on the bench for the team’s final three games.

What does Griffin learn from that?

Well, he first learns (or rather, reinforces) the idea that he’s special, above the rest of his teammates. The players won’t say that out loud to the media. But it’s fact. You don’t see Shanahan benching Alfred Morris, or Ryan Kerrigan, or Pierre Garcon, simply because the team is 3-10 and eliminated from postseason contention.

Sure, quarterback is a different case. Griffin has been a sitting duck in the pocket all season long. This collection of offensive linemen are terrific run-blockers, but collectively have trouble protecting the quarterback. We’ve seen it all season long.

But the Redskins are unable to address the offensive line situation this late in the season. All their linemen are healthy. If any of the backups were better than the starters they would have been given a shot by now. Whether it’s been a personnel decision, or the salary cap limitations in place, the Redskins offensive line in simply not good enough to protect their most valuable asset.

The other idea that is floating around is that Shanahan is trying to get himself fired so that he can collect the $7 million owed to him next season and be rid of the circus atmosphere that surrounds this franchise, perpetuated by the meddling owner. Shanahan address that too in his presser.

“Somebody said the reason why you’re going with Kirk [Cousins] is you’re trying to get fired and get a year left on your contract,” Shanahan offered. “If I’m trying to get fired, I’m not going to call up Dan Snyder and ask his opinion on a player that I don’t have to!”

Asked further about the future, Shanahan replied,  “I don’t know [about next year] until I sit down with Dan. Then we’ll find out what I think, and I’ll give him my opinions, and he’ll give me his opinions. Maybe we’ll just hit it off and I get that 12-, 15-year contract. Well, maybe three years. But anyway, whatever it is.”

There will be more to come in the soap opera that has become the Redskins 2013 season. As it always is with the Skins in the Dan Snyder era, it’s not just about football.

Shanahan coy about future in bizarre press confernce

“Anybody have anything to do with football?” Mike Shanahan, when asked if he wanted to return to the Redskins for next season.

Washington Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan met the media Monday, as is customary following a Sunday game. Although these days, customary is anything but ordinary. No one does drama like the Skins, and right now all anyone wants to know is whether Shanahan will return next season, or even be the coach of this team for next Sunday’s game at Atlanta, which is all Shanahan wanted to address.

“There’s always a lot of noise when you’re 3-10,” Shanahan said. “I understand that. Every organization has it. There’s going to be a lot more noise over the next few weeks, I understand that, but I’ve got one mindset right now and that’s focusing on Atlanta. We’re going against a football team that was 13-3 last year. They’re 3-10 as well. As I shared with my football team, they know they’re going to get my best shot over the next three games and I’m hoping I get their best shot over the next three games. Our goal is to win the next three, starting with Atlanta, then get a chance to get two NFC East foes here with Dallas and on the road against the Giants and hopefully we can end the season on a positive note.”

About the distractions?

“I’m not going to speculate through all those different things as we talked about before,” Shanahan said. “But if you’d like to talk about Atlanta, I’d be more than happy to talk about Atlanta.”

No one wanted to talk about Atlanta.

Well, with one major exception. Shanahan was non-committal about Robert Griffin III starting the rest of the way, citing all the sacks and hard hits he’s taken this season.

“We had 24 sacks in the last five games, that’s a lot,” Shanahan explained. “You go against a team that’s had two sacks in the last five games and you get six in a game, I’m talking about his health. I want to make sure he’s healthy. I think that’s the most important thing going into the offseason, that he has his first full season being healthy. And if he did play and something did happen to him, I think it would set our franchise back. That doesn’t say I’m not going that way, so … that’s the reason why I answered it the way I did. I’ll think about it here over the next 48 hours and we’ll make a decision on Wednesday.”

Shanahan was asked a myriad of questions, but very few of them had to do with actual football. Most of the queries centered around the report that he allegedly cleaned out his desk with intent to quit as head coach after the loss to Seattle in the playoffs, or whether he was going to quit or expect to be fired sometime in the next three weeks.

Shanahan mostly offered a “no comment” and offered few details, but sometimes not answering is as telling as answering.

Shanahan acknowledged that he has spoken with team owner Daniel Snyder, saying their relationship was “good”, but declined to answer whether the two spoke about his current and future employment, which Shanahan has one final year remaining on his current contract, a year that would pay him $7 million were he to be fired.

Eventually, Shanahan relented, a little bit.

“You always want to come back. You always want to come back. I love these guys and what will happen at the end of the season, we’ll get a chance, Dan and I, to sit down and decide – or he’ll make the final decision – on what’s in the best interest of the Washington Redskins. I’ll give my opinion on what I think. Obviously he’ll make the final decision. Anytime you’re with these guys — we’ve got some great character and we’ve got guys working extremely hard, so I would like nothing more than to be with them.”

It’s an untenable situation, really. For the past two weeks, information and innuendo has leaked into the national media regarding Shanahan’s situation with the team. Where are the leaks coming from? Hard to tell. But they come from somewhere, and it’s more than distracting — it’s overwhelming.

The Redskins “effort” in Sunday’s 45-10 shellacking by the Kansas City Chiefs was telling. Sure, the special teams play has been horrendous all season long. Griffin has been inconsistent and the defense — especially the secondary — has been porous.

But watching the performance, for the first time the Redskins looked distracted. They looked like they were being out-hustled. They looked a half-step behind all day. It’s one thing to get beat on talent, a whole different thing to get beat on effort. What happened Sunday is what happens when you get beat both ways.

The Redskins are a mess. The franchise quarterback had a rough and inconsistent season. The offensive line can’t pass block and has no depth. The defense was shredded all season long, and the special teams are atrocious.

On top of all that, the head coach has a strained relationship with both the quarterback and owner, and is seemingly trying his best to get fired — instead of quitting — so he can collect his $7 million paycheck for next season. Yup, no one does drama like the Washington Redskins.

Washington Redskins Game 13 Review: Skins obliterated by Chiefs 45-10 with rumors swirling

The Washington Redskins were dominated in every facet of the game Sunday, falling to the playoff-bound Kansas City Chiefs 45-10. In nine meetings between the two teams in their franchise histories, the Chiefs have won eight times — none more convincingly than this one.

The Chiefs (10-3) built a 17-0 lead after the first quarter on a Ryan Succop 33-yard field goal, a 2-yard Jamaal Charles run and Dwayne Bowe’s 21-yard touchdown catch from Alex Smith.

Kansas City extended its lead to 31-0 midway through the second quarter after Charles’ 5-yard TD catch and Dexter McCluster’s 74-yard punt return for a score.

The Skins (3-10) got on the board with Logan Paulsen’s circus catch of a 7-yard toss by Robert Griffin III, but Quintin Demps returned the Redskins kickoff 95 yards for another touchdown.

Kai Forbath nailed a 50-yard field goal as time expired on the half, and the Skins trailed 38-10.

The only second half score came in the fourth quarter when Knile Davis ran 17 yards through the Skins defense to provide the 45-10 final.

Griffin finished the game 12 of 26 for 164 yards, with one touchdown and one interception, but two other easy picks were dropped. Alfred Morris, the forgotten man in the Redskins offense the past two weeks, went over the 1,000 yard mark for the season, but finished with just 31 yards on only 12 carries.

Charles carved up the Skins defense to the tune of 151 yards on 19 carries, while Smith went 14 of 20 for 137 yards and two touchdowns.

The season-worst beating took place amid reports that coach Mike Shanahan and owner Daniel Snyder’s relationship is damaged beyond repair.

What is for certain is that the train wreck that is the Redskins season has three games remaining, and with no first round draft pick next season due to the trade for Griffin with the Rams, the Skins will have plenty of work to do in free agency this offseason to address major needs on the offensive line, defensive backfield and special teams.

The salary cap penalty will be over, so the Redskins front office can go about accumulating depth and special teams players that they just haven’t been able to do the past two offseasons.

Whether or not the current coaching staff will be here to guide them is a question still to be answered.

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