Monday, November 7, 2011
As such, I won't bore anyone with deep analysis of the team, or the game.
We suck, we suck, we suck.
And nothing is going to matter until there's an actual NFL quarterback on the roster.
Mind you: I am not saying a QB fixes all of our problems. But nothing else matters, until this crucial position gets addressed.
Mike Shanahan had a very interesting interview with our radio station's mid-day hosts Kevin Sheehan and Thom Loverro just prior to the team returning from the bye week. At the time, the team was 3-1, and almost entirely healthy. Never mind that the 3 wins were 1 solid win over the Giants in Week 1, followed by a "down to their last 4th down and 3" against decidedly poor Arizona and a stuttering low-point win against 1-win St. Louis.
Never mind all that. Shanahan, was damn near giddy in that interview. He was loose, relaxed, confident and happy. He talked about things he has never talked about with the media since he came to town. He talked about how he liked to play blackjack, his preference in music, and a bunch of non-football things.
He also said the following, in regard to an oblique question about whether Rex Grossman was essentially good enough to win with:
Shanahan: "We understand the quarterback position."
Oh, you do? Really.
That comment came before the entire season came flying apart at the seams. Before injuries to the o-line, and the loss of a starting WR and TE. It came before Rex vomited all over himself in a 4-picks-in-just-3-quarters game at home that prompted the move to John Beck.
It came before letting the Eagles back off the mat, it came before another loss to a rookie QB in Cam Newton (the Redskins staggering 7th STRAIGHT loss to a rookie starter) it came before a lifeless shutout in Toronto against the Bills.
And it came before Sunday's debacle in which the Redskins were effectively shut out, again.
I go back to that interview, Shanny's tone, and the cocky-ass, condescending comment: "We understand the quarterback position."
I must ask an honest, and sobering question: "Does Shanahan have any idea what is going on right now?"
I mean that. Is it possible that he's completely floored that his magnificent scheme is not working somehow? Could he really be scratching his head in wonder?
The conventional wisdom is essentially: "Of course, Shanahan knows he needs a QB. He's too smart not to know that."
But does he? Really? Is it possible, this Grossman-Beck experiment has blown up in his face, and he is franctically trying to give it life support?
More conventional wisdom says Shanahan knew that he needed a young QB to mold, but he sacrificed that need for one year in order to bolster the defense.
If so, quite a noble gesture, given how he had to know he would take the dump truck of crap from the fanbase if the offense was junk. Plus, had the Skins not thrown away pick #37 this year on McNabb, they could have easily moved up 2 spots for Andy Dalton who went #35 to Cinci. Instead, they took Jarvis Jenkins at #41, but they did so with a cobbled together 2nd round pick assembled from a flurry of trade-downs.
Which again, reinforces the tragic folly of the McNabb deal. You can say to youself: "Ah, it's just a second round pick" but those missing picks have consequences. You go without one, and then you chase to re-claim it, and all of a sudden, you are missing on a perhaps franchise QB.
Shanahan said he'd stake his reputation on the belief that Grossman and Beck can play. That's more than just a standard coaches endorsement to pump up his quarterbacks.
Perhaps his reputation has no clothes. Perhaps Shanahan is one of the most well paid frauds in NFL history. A second coming of George Seifert, emboldened by a $35 million guaranteed 5 year contract, and the knowledge that if Snyder were to fire him prematurely, almost all the blame would bounce back on the owner.
Winning a Super Bowl is insanely hard. But at the same time, it's also no perfect litmus test of coaching excellence. Brian Billick and Jim Fassel squared off in a Super Bowl once, and where are those guys now? Billick butchering names in the broadcast booth, and Fassell slumming it in the UFL.
Shanny had a quick strike pair of Super Bowls, with a Hall of Fame QB, and a RB whose production was absurdly HOF-worthy before he had it cut short by knee injuries. The only other bright spot, and only other AFC West title was a lone 13-3 season in 2005.
Dick Jauron once went 13-3 too, so let's not get carried away.
There's only 3 basic scenarios right now for Shanahan.
1. He knows Beck and Grossman are junk, and just hoped to get through the year. The pumping up was just that. Lip service. He's got a good idea who he likes coming out this spring, and plans to go get him.
2. He's truly flummoxed, and stunned that THIS is not working at all. As such, he has no real "Plan B".
3. He's just cynically banking Snyder's cash. He knows that this is his last big coaching "score". He wanted to give his kid the best shot at a full blown NFL career. If Snyder fires him before all 5 years are over (shudder the thought) Shanny knows he can say "oh, well, it was Mission Impossible."
Right now, I'm leaning - just a lean - that he's on Scenario #2, and will have to be talked into #1. But if that plan gets much harder, he will gladly fall back into #3, and this unfortunate episode in franchise history will become just another case study in fail.