“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.