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WP, Wilbon: Will Anything Really Change? (merged)


stwasm

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Michael Wilbon isn't ready to canonize the Shanahan hiring.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/01/06/AR2010010602367.html

Forgive me if I don't break open a bottle of champagne over this latest Redskins coaching announcement. We've been down this road a time or two before . . . five times, to be exact, in the past nine years. Schottenheimer, Spurrier, Gibbs, Zorn and now Shanahan.

With each hiring, things were supposed to different. Things were going to function better. The owner was going to be less involved. The offense was going to be more efficient . . . Under each new coach, the Redskins were going to sit on top of the world.

Except they haven't gotten anywhere close, and seeing Mike Shanahan sitting next to Dan Snyder at another introductory news conference doesn't guarantee anything.

Hey, I don't want to come off as Mr. Gloom & Doom on the hiring of Shanahan. The man owns two Super Bowl rings. He has put together great lines, gotten prolific rushing attacks from backs nobody ever heard of, developed receivers, tutored quarterbacks. Shanahan has forgotten more about offensive football this morning than a great many coaches will learn in their lifetimes. I won't use the G-word; let's just say he has one of the best minds out there.

Still, the Washington Redskins have been losers too much over the past 15 years, too dysfunctional in too many ways, too repeatedly stubborn to receive anything close to benefit of the doubt.

Shanahan could be exactly what the doctor ordered to heal the Redskins. It's certainly in him. But I've got to see it first. I need to see the Redskins stop grossly overpaying players. I've got to see them become a stable organization. I've got to see them stop squandering draft picks in stupid trades. I've got to see them trust the players they already have, like Ryan Clark, and stop coveting ones they don't need, like Adam Archuleta. I've got to see owner's pets, such as Clinton Portis, stop undermining real professionals, such as Jason Campbell. (Again, if I was advising Campbell, I'd tell him to sign somewhere else, anywhere else, to get away from the continuing dysfunction of Redskins Park).

In other words, the Redskins can choose whomever they want to coach, but it doesn't matter at all if the management style doesn't change dramatically, immediately. Celebrity football, whether it's Spurrier or Shanahan coaching, doesn't work. Apparently, they haven't learned all that much at Redskins Park.

The whisper of a famous name alone means nothing here. The questions aren't even about Shanahan, the coach. They're about who's running the joint, who is calling the shots as they relate to personnel. It almost never works, being coach and making all the football decisions. It's a structure doomed to fail, oh, 95 percent of the time.

And it's not like we don't have a book on Shanahan the talent evaluator: He's bad at it. Like Joe Gibbs, Shanahan is one helluva coach but not particularly insightful as a talent evaluator. In fact, the record already shows Shanahan drafted bust after bust after bust in an effort to fix the defense when he was coach in Denver. Even Elvis Dumerville was drafted to play the wrong position and became an All-Pro after Shanahan departed. Shanahan the personnel man undermined Shanahan the coach so badly, he was fired after twice not making the playoffs. So, moving from Denver to Washington is going to change all that?

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me five times, shame on me for believing without evidence to the contrary that a new hire is going to change everything.

A bigger optimist would tell you that Shanahan can fix the offense, which we know he can do. Only the Lions and Browns have been worse than the Redskins offensively in recent years. Shanahan can reverse that. And the defense is already darned good. But do we know who will coordinate the defense? Will Shanahan want Greg Blache or Jerry Gray to stay or want to (as is his privilege) bring in his own guy to run the defense? If so, they'll start over on that side of the ball after some continuity in the Gregg Williams/Greg Blache style.

But what convinced me that this could be business as usual was looking at the video of Snyder and Shanahan coming out of meeting or dinner or whatever it was late at night, after what presumably was one of those marathon talks where they went over everything imaginable. Those video clips were pretty much the same with Spurrier and Schottenheimer and Gibbs. And it struck me that this, once again, is Dan Snyder seducing a famous coach to come and work for him for a ton of money.

Even if we erase the two years under Zorn, who doesn't fit the pattern, we've seen Celebrity Football over and over and over again. If a man experienced in running a football team had been hired and then selected a coach, the feeling here might be different. But when it appears the Redskins have engaged in the same old, same old, the reaction is a yawn.

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Except they haven't gotten anywhere close, and seeing Mike Shanahan sitting next to Dan Snyder at another introductory news conference doesn't guarantee anything.

Well, there's one thing he's wrong about. Snyder isn't even on the stage.

Maybe he should have waited until after the presser to write this.

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http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/01/06/AR2010010602367.html

We've been down this road a time or two before . . . five times, to be exact, in the past nine years. Schottenheimer, Spurrier, Gibbs, Zorn and now Shanahan.

With each hiring, things were supposed to different. Things were going to function better. The owner was going to be less involved. The offense was going to be more efficient . . . Under each new coach, the Redskins were going to sit on top of the world.

And he's right ... I hope Shanahan is not the next coaching legend who comes to Washington to die. If he fails ... I mean seriously, what do you think the state of the fanbase would be? I think this is almost a final chance in many fans eyes before they throw in the towel permanently.

That said, I am still kind of giddy on the inside about having Shanahan on the sidelines. I think that despite the similarities that Wilbon points out with the celebrity fanfare of past coaches, there are some things which are different this time.

1) Schottenheimer - Snyder just wasn't ready to forfeit control at that point

2) Spurrier - he was a college coach who'd never been in the NFL

3) Gibbs - was still operating under the Cerrato/Snyder combination and had been out of the game for over a decade.

4) Zorn - underexperienced and undermined at every turn

The only thing I worry about Shanahan is with his personnel decisions. I genuinely believe he has what it takes to turn this team around, but I think I am conditioned to expect the worst these days too.

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The real positive thing to me is that Shanahan didn't lost contact with the NFL. This past summer he was at the Steelers' training camp and was a guest at the Patriots practice. He showed his will to keep on learning from the successfull ones. Now I hope it will have an impact on the Redskins.

"Bruce Allen is not a guy you buy a used car from. He’s the guy who sells you the whole lot and makes you think you got a great deal.

On Tuesday, Snyder bought a great used car in Shanahan. He just needs to make sure he doesn’t drive Shanahan too hard. What he needs is a really good chauffeur.

Fortunately, he has that guy in Allen." Link

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He makes great points.

Unless Dan disappears from football operations, and player management, nothing will change.

This really is Dan's last chance to just go away. If he fails again, no one will care about the next big name hire.

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Thanks for straddling the fence Wilbon, I guess you'll be right no matter how this turns out

nothing wrong with a wait and see approach, but yeah you pretty much nailed it.

He could be the best thing to happen in DC/Redskins in years or it could be much of the same. WOW! lol now to weather!

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We have a real GM this time though.

We also still have the same owner who can, at any time, fire the "real GM" because he misses managing the team himself. Snyder hasn't exactly demonstrated he can be the sort of "hands off" owner he needs to be. Marty lasted what, one year, right?

Wilbon's right - we've all bought into this same hype train before, and it's mostly been a disaster and a disappointment. I'm hopeful that Shanahan/Allen can fix it this time, but I won't be surprised if it fizzles out yet again. You can only sell hope for so long before people realize the box is alway empty once it's actually opened up.

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