Shanahan Must Go!

Updated: December 13, 2013

I have been a long time Redskin fan, and over the past fifteen years, a long suffering fan.  This past week, we have seen the Redskins reach a new low for the Dan Snyder era and that is saying a lot.

While many of us have blamed Snyder for much of the past failures and rightly so, this disaster lies at the feet of Mike Shanahan, who managed to take a franchise who has a  once in a lifetime quarterback plus coming off a playoff appearance and throw the whole thing in the heap.  After watching the Chiefs game, I came to a conclusion that Shanahan must go and it won’t be too soon.  The team simply quit on the field and Robert Griffin got clobbered by the Chiefs defense.  As much as I like Kirk Cousin, RG3 is your future and what he needs is repetition in real action.   And if I was Kirk Cousin, I’d be asking myself, “Let me get this straight, the offensive line that has been so porous is the reason that you sitting our franchise quarterback; now you want me to get killed behind that line. Thanks Mike.”

Let me be clear, I was not one of those who felt that RG3 was ready to start the first game against the Eagles and isn’t that is why you have a backup quarterback like Cousins?  Certainly if Mike Shanahan was that concern about RG3 health, why did he left Griffin play the second half of the Seahawks game or let Griffin play the first few games  of this season when it was obvious he was not ready?  Now he is concern for RG3 health?  I am not going to say that RG3 had a stellar sophomore season but when you look at his stats, you might find a few things surprising.


RG3 stats are comparable to quarterbacks like Alex Smith, Joe Flacco, Colin Kaepernick, Cam Newton and Andrew Luck. There are two differences, one, is that all of these quarterbacks are playoff bound or fighting for a playoff spot and the second is that all of these teams have good defense and special teams that have kept their team in games. 

RG3 has thrown 60% completion rate along with 3200 yards plus an additional 489 yards running.  He is responsible for more total offensive yards than Cam Newton, Alex Smith, Andrew Luck, Colin Kaepernick and Joe Flaco and his completion percentage is higher than Smith, Luck, Kaepernick and Flacco.    Part of RG3 problem is that his defense along with special teams allowed some 31 points per game. In the case of special team, the other team advantages were more pronounced as they were able on the average garner better field position than the Redskins.

RG3 is a work in progress and much to improve on but then most second year quarterbacks do. But to put the blame on RG3 for the disaster that is the 2013 Redskins is missing the point.  Mike Shanahan could have started Cousins in the early part of the season until RG3 was ready, if he wanted.  If he is benching RG3 now when the Redskins are about to face three of the weaker defenses  in the Cowboys, Giants and the Falcons; why didn’t he bench Griffin early in the season when it really matter and he was still recovering from his bad knee?  You are benching RG3 is because of an offensive line that is not opening up holes for Albert Morris to run through or protecting RG3, so is the point to make Cousin a sacrificial lamb?  Redskins are essentially parading Cousins for other NFL teams so you can get a few of those draft picks back from the original RG3 deal.  Not a bad strategy but let not say it is to protect RG3 since this regime had done little to do that earlier.

A month ago I was willing to give Shanahan the benefit of the doubt but four or five losses later, no more.  Shanahan inherited a mess of a franchise when he came on board but he can’t claim that he is leaving the franchise better off.  His record is worse than the hapless Jim Zorn and now he is on the way to possibly ruining a franchise quarterback. Nor does it help that Shanahan record is worse than collective record of the Redskins in the Dan Snyder era.

My brother was in Chicago for a meeting last season when he ran into NBC analyst Chris Collinsworth in the hotel gym.  Collinsworth told my brother that the Shanahan was abusing RG3 and putting him at risk.  This was the coach who thought he could turn journeyman John Beck into a starting quarterback and it was Shanahan failure to develop a quarterback over his first two years that forced the deal that got RG3.  In RG3 rookie year, we saw the athlete who could take a franchise on his back and this year we saw a young quarterback struggle with the nuance of the pro game.  When Shanahan came to Denver, he inherited an experienced John Elway and he couldn’t have screwed that up. When he combined Terrell Davis with Elway, he won two Super Bowls but that was Shanahan high water mark .

Last year, Cam Newton faced similar criticism as RG3 but the Panthers allowed Newton to develop as a quarterback and this year, they surrounded their star with a  stellar defense. This year, Newton is now on his way on becoming an elite quarterback. It is amazing what one year and a great defense can do to help a young quarterback to develop.  Best thing for RG3 career is for Shanahan to leave and maybe Snyder will be smart enough to hire a coach who can take this young quarterback to another level and who knows, someone who might be able to take some of the talent on defense like DeAngelo Hall, Ryan Kerrigan and Brian Orakpo and actually stop the other team offense on an occasional basis. 

RG3 has much to improve but if the Redskins defense was similar in quality to the 49ers, we wouldn’t be saying RG3, you suck.  We be no more critical of RG3 than we are presently of Flacco or Andrew Luck.  (In reverse, what would many pundits be saying about Andrew Luck, Joe Flacco or Colin Kaepernick if their team was 3-10.)  Take RG3 numbers and compare them to 20 million dollar man Joe Flacco.  Then tell me that RG3 is the reason that the Redskins is 3-10. 

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