Monday, December 6, 2010
Circles of Shanahan Hell
Sometimes, you readers and listeners say it, and write, better than me.
I defer my time, and space, to the honorable Jim Mercury.
Early this year I emailed youze celebrating the long overdue whacking of Vinny, but also saying 'get prepared for a new circle of hell' - meaning another Buckles extravaganza of Big Names and High Hopes.
Congrats now to Czabe, perceptive and flexible in his thinking on this team (unlike his politics).
Andy - you and Kevin Sheehan keep blowing off Shanny's post-Elway years in Denver (yes, he didn't win a with Reeves, but he was in 3 of them, unlike Shanny without Elway). It wasn't 3 or 4 years with limited control. It was a DECADE, with COMPLETE control with the support of his buddy the owner.
It featured all kinds of wonderments, like hiring and firing 3 or 4 defensive co-ordinators in 4 years. The bottom line was familiar to Skins fans - 4 playoff games in 10 years, 1 victory (okay - we've only had 3 playoff games). Now he's here,with a talented CPA as alleged GM (who was on NOBODY's short list of sought-after GMs, although clearly he is the closest Danny could get to bringing back the Old Man hinself).
And what we got is increasingly indistinguishable from what's come before, or maybe just variations on a theme. A few highlights: Yes, they're not close, and a true rebuild is long hard work. A successful one does do not involve squandering valuable draft picks on fading stars like Donovan and Jamal. In fact, that is utterly at odds with a rebuild - it's about trying to win now (unlike, say what Leonsis did with the Caps and is trying to do with the Wiz - honestly stink for a while, to get better).
First draft: 6 picks, of which - 2? are still with the team?
An inscrutable series of hirings, firings, re-hirings, suspensions, etc, with a high-level of Bingo drama, neglecting youth while giving time to the likes of Johnson and Galloway who are now unemployed and likely to remain so.
Hiring his son. Yes, he's got talent. That's beside the point. What if he doesn't work out for whatever reason - Shanny's going to fire his son?
- They started 3 and 2; they've gone 2 and 5 since. They're getting worse by any metric, including two of the worst blowouts in awhile (not including the end of last year when the team had clearly quit on a clearly fired coach).
- Just heard the Sonny recap: Shanny didn't know what he was getting into? I thought he spent the last year studying the league and this team in particular?
- Remeber the 'no hard tackle practices'? How's that working out?
- So they cut the dead wood and did some financial restructuring - spiffy - destruction is easy. Construction is not.
And anybody not living in the state of denial could go on and on.
Face it - Coaching is a high-stress profession, requiring constant adaptation. Some guys, like Parcells, Johnson, Madden, get it, know that they can't or don't want to keep up with it and leave on their own, 'early'.
Some like Shanny don't - he peaked sometime after Elway retired, and there are NO signs, in Denver or here, that he's getting it back. And really how many once-successful coaches who fade, do go on to another franchise and get it back again?
NO NO NO - I don't want the Vindog and El Zorno back. Can that Spam, please. In the name of fairness and stability and the ability to attract future management talent, you have to play out the string with Shanny. But this 'win now' stuff has got to stop immediately, and Buckles needs to do what Doc Walker advised a couple years ago - troll that checkbock around the front offices of the likes of New Enlgand, Pittsburgh, Bawlmore and so one, looking for either GM talent in its prime or up and coming assistants, and turn the keys over to them (even if they don't have a sexy name), including the selection of a head coach. No I don't have a name - it's not what I do for a living.
But, aside from the perennial winning franchises, look at Kansas City, Tampa Bay, maybe St Louis and Cleveland, maybe even Detroit. It can be done. And until it is done - well, get prepared for still more circles of NFL hell (although, unlike hell, it is entertaining in its own demented way).
- Jim Mercury