Should Mike Shanahan stay or go as the Redskins Head Coach/Head of Football Operations. That will be the number question and decision that Dan Snyder will have to deal with in the 2014 Redskins offseason. When their season is officially over after playing the New York Giants tomorrow.
Reasons for letting Coach Shanahan go outnumber the reasons for keeping him. In four seasons with the Redskins the Redskins have lost ten or more games three times. And if they do not beat the Giants at New Jersey tomorrow a team that has a better record than the Redskins, won twice as many games 6-9 than the 3-12 Redskins and have already beaten the Redskins on the road this year, the Redskins after already having the worst season of the Shanahan era at 3-12, will fall to 3-13.
And you can’t make the case that Coach Shanahan doesn’t have the players. For one he’s also in charge of personal and two they picked by most of the so-called experts people who understand the NFL to win the NFC East probably the worst division in football this year with the Redskins actually having the worst team. You can say that Coach Shanahan doesn’t have a very good coaching staff especially at the top with his offensive coordinator who also happens to be his son in Kyle Shanahan and defensive coordinator Jim Haslett. But again Coach Shanahan picks his own coaching staff.
The reasons to fire Coach Shanahan are pretty sound and clear and a big reason why it would be a pretty popular decision in Washington. A city that hates to lose and hates losers. But some of the issues with the Redskins management even though Coach Shanahan doesn’t have complete control of the organization, isn’t all of Coach Shanahan’s fault and responsibility. He doesn’t have a solid football person like a team president that he can report to. Who can also supervise and advise him on things like how to sign players and manage the salary cap, negotiate trades, manage the facilities and so forth. Not so much a general manager but someone at the top besides the owner that Coach Shanahan can report to that the coach can get advise from sort of like a partner. But someone who outranks the head coach, like a head of football operations.
Bruce Allen is the team’s official general manager, but he reports and works for the head coach and not the other way around. It is not that Coach Shanahan shouldn’t have the final say in personal, but he shouldn’t be running the entire football operations department either. Someone besides Dan Snyder needs to be there and be able to say, “I like what you are doing here.” But when the coach makes a bad decision be able to step in and say, “we shouldn’t do that.” And even be able to veto things that do not make sense. Someone with a football background.
One of the reasons why the San Francisco 49ers were so successful in the 1980s was because of how their management was structured. Ed Debartalo didn’t try to be the owner of the franchise as well as the team president. Bill Walsh was the head coach/general manager, but he had a team president to report to in Carmen Policy. Instead of Eddie Debartalo trying to fill both roles as owner and president. Well right now Dan Snyder is trying to fill both roles as owner and president of the Redskins. He’s simply not qualified as a businessman and not a professional football man to fill both roles as owner and president. And for the Redskins to succeed in the future with either Mike Shanahan or a new head coach, they need a new management structure.
Their management structure is going to have to change or they are going to remain in between mediocrity and a consistent, to a losing team without much of a future. And another thing that Dan Snyder needs to consider is who out there would be better than Mike Shanahan. To be their head coach/head of football operations who would also be willing to work for Dan Snyder. To make this a little personal.
I’ve made the case for both firing Mike Shanahan and keeping him on board with a new team president. And a new offensive and defensive coordinator and giving Coach Shanahan one more season. And reevaluating him at the end of 2014. Because I haven’t completely made up my mind. But if I’m Dan Snyder I’m leaning towards keeping Coach Shanahan under this new proposed management and coaching arrangement. Instead of firing Coach Shanahan and starting over.
But I would also tell the head coach that, “look are defense was horrible this year and that has to change. You need a defensive coordinator that is going to run the defense based on the personal that he has to work with. We are going back to the 4-3 and you are going to move either Ryan Kerrigan or Brian Orakbo to defensive end. And get an outside linebacker whose a very good pass defender and tackler as well. So you can blitz less and get more of a pass rush with just four or five pass rushers. Instead so you leave more help for your secondary. And give up fewer big plays in the passing and running games.”
This should be a tough decision for Dan Snyder and I hope he hasn’t made up his mind yet. And that postseason meeting with both he and the head coach happens with minds haven’t been made up yet. Because again a very good case for dumping the head coach, but there is also a good case for bringing Mike Shanahan back under the right circumstances.