I hold these opinions to be true, and not in contradiction with each other.
Mike Shanahan failed utterly as the “total control” $7 million a year head coach who arrived with the gravitas of two Super Bowl rings. He earned, every bit of his miserable 24-40 record (.375, exact same losing rate as Zorn and Spurrier).
Robert Griffin III is a delusionally non-self-aware diva, whose two-faced personality has hopelessly poisoned the current lockeroom and will soon lead to a second coach getting fired for his own failures as a player. He will never be a reliable, healthy, starting quarterback in the NFL.
Daniel M. Snyder remains a hopelessly meddling owner, who hires men who serve him, before they give him the unvarnished truth about the mistakes he is making in running this football team. He is infatuated with new players and coaches, as if they were new toys to play with, and then inevitably gets bored with, or turns on them.
In other words, the Redskins Wheel of Blame has three pie slices, and you can spin it all day and come up with a different “winner” of who is blame “the most” for the current predicament.
Some have confused my unflinching criticism of Shananan to be a defacto support of Griffin, or a willing blindness to the follies of the owner.
Not at all.
It was only because Shanahan himself scheduled an unprecedented 90 minute radio therapy session on our station, that I currently take strong issue with how he tries to re-paint some important episodes of his tenure here.
a. If you had “total control” of football operations, how did you let Snyder push you into a QB (McNabb) that you were not very fond of, and how did you disengage from the process so much that Bruce Allen suprised you with surrendering more draft picks for him than you would have wanted?
b. If you thought RG3 was a 4-5 year project as a pocket passer coming out of Baylor, how could you possibly justify the highest cost in NFL draft chart value history to move up to get him? How did you know that the Baylor-style zone-read offense would actually work in the NFL, when nobody had ever tried it to the scale that you, Seattle, and San Francisco ended up doing that season?
c. If you were offended by Griffin saying he wasn’t going to run certain plays after his rookie year, why didn’t you tell him you didn’t care, and that he’ll run the plays you call. Period. Why didn’t you tell the owner, I don’t care who you like, if he won’t run certain plays, then I’ll start Kirk Cousins.
d. If Dr. James Andrews was giving you bad medical advice on Griffin, or communicating poorly with you in the heat of battle on the sidelines, why didn’t you insist that he be replaced… since you had total control of football operations?
e. If the ESPN.com story about you threatening to quit after Griffin’s rookie season was nonsense as you put it, then where did it come from, and did you ever find out who leaked such a false narrative?
In the end, you failed, Mike. Plain and simple.
Not only that, but the guy you perhaps blame the most, Robert Griffin III was the guy who delivered your only modest success while here: an “inside-straight” style 7-game win streak to snatch the NFC East on the last day of the season.
(You do remember declaring that season essentially DOA after 3-6, right?)
You failed to defend your rightfully acquired “total control.” You failed to draw clear lines of demarcation for a player-friending owner. You failed to remind a rookie QB that no matter how many draft picks they gave up to take you, you are still the boss.
I’m sure this burns at Mike Shanahan to this day. The last $7 million of his deal acquired with his feet on the couch, I’d bet does little to comfort him. I’m pretty certain Mike feels he’s got more NFL head coaching left in him, and yet can’t find a job. I believe Mike thinks of himself as a possible Hall of Fame caliber coach, and yet this stint in Washington might just have killed that dream.
And I’m sorry to say, I don’t think his 90 minute therapy session is going to help either cause. And while there was certainly a fair amount of absolute truth in his re-telling of events, there were also plenty of eye rolling whoppers.
As a Redskins fan however who lived this stuff day after day, much of your narrative, I’m just not buying.
Good luck, Mike. And thanks for the interesting radio!