Accompanying the arrival of decorated coach Mike Shanahan to the Washington Redskins in the winter of 2010 came huge expectations and success. As the head coach of the Denver Broncos in his previous stint, Shanahan delivered two world championships. And while no quarterback on the team’s roster came close to matching the talents of former Denver legend John Elway, Shanahan’s dedication to offensive continuity and a power running game were seen as staples big enough to suffice for the lack of a Hall of Fame signal caller. The Redskins acquired Donovan McNabb a few months after Shanahan’s hire but the marriage soon soured and so too has Shanahan’s tenure in the District.
After two seasons, Shanahan has compiled an 11-21 record after going 138-86 with the Broncos. After two short and strange seasons, the AFRO asks: Should the Washington Redskins fire Shanahan? Perry Green and Stephen D. Riley of the AFRO Sports Desk debates.
Riley: You don’t fire a two-time Super Bowl coach after two years and no viable quarterback or talent on the roster. I’m a firm believer that all coaches should be given a minimum of three years and clearly the Redskins weren’t in any kind of contending shape once Shanahan arrived. It’s going to take possibly four to five years to whip this team into shape and I think team owner Daniel Snyder knew that before he even put Shanahan into coaching consideration.
Green: Personally, I think Washington should’ve fired Shanahan after Week 17 of this past season. He’s getting paid way too much money to not have won anything in two years. And I know the Redskins have had problems with too many culture and coaching changes and not enough patience but this is not the right guy to establish a culture. How can you have patience with a coach who has no patience with his players? He’s already set the franchise back by trading Jason Campbell for McNabb only to bench McNabb for Rex Grossman then moved back to McNabb before going back to Grossman. He then benched Grossman for John Beck then benched Beck for Grossman. It sounds confusing right? That’s because it is! It should also be unacceptable.
Riley: The quarterback changes were in an effort to spark wins, not because he didn’t know what he was doing. It was clear after McNabb’s first few games that he wasn’t going to be the answer in D.C. so Shanahan gave just about everyone on the roster a fair chance to earn a temporary job. You can’t look back on it and say ‘hey, Washington should’ve kept McNabb,” since he was cut by the struggling Vikings this year. Shanahan had a plan in McNabb and stuck with it for as long as he could. He should be commended for cutting ties so soon while most coaches would’ve held on and prolonged the inevitable.
Green: I can’t pardon a guy who’s running a circus. He’s supposed to be an offensive guru but Washington’s offense has looked like a mess. The running game has been serviceable behind a group of average runners but from his bouts with Albert Haynesworth, McNabb and others, it’s clear he’s lost this team. Do you really expect improvement next season? I don’t. Washington already has ex-Tampa Bay head coach Raheem Morris on staff now, I say let him run the show. Trevor Pryce said back in 2006 that Shanahan was the worst coach he ever played for and said he doesn’t inspire players in the locker room.
Riley: You’re funny. You talk about Shanahan losing the team but you want a guy who just lost 10 straight games to coach? Ridiculous. The rebuilding project is well underway in Washington and Shanahan has done the most with the talent he’s had.
This franchise was a mess before he took over so it’s hard to turn a dump around in just two seasons. Give him another year or two and I expect Shanahan to have the ship righted.