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Posted at 4:50 PM ET, 12/20/2010

Shanahan is right where he should be

By Evan Bliss

After watching the Redskins battle the Cowpies on Sunday a slew of memories, emotions, and trivial facts came rushing back. It then became clear to me, for the first time this season, why Mike Shanahan was the right man to restore this once great and powerful franchise to its rightful place as one of the league’s elite.

Nobody likes to hear “rebuilding”, as it is synonymous with “more losing and more waiting”, and even though Shanahan tried to convince us all the Redskins would be competitive in 2010, it appears he has more rebuilding to do than he originally let on. Fine by me. Shanahan is the only one who can do the nearly impossible feat: tearing down the 10-year culture Snyder has created, right in front of Snyder, and keeping Snyder quiet and happy while he does it.

The McNabb benchings, the Haynesworth saga, Devin Thomas’ departure, LJ’s early dismissal, all represent the tails side of the coin. Brandon Banks, Anthony Armstrong, Ryan Torain and Keiland Williams represent the heads side of the same coin. Which leaves Graham Gano to represent foreign currency if you’re following the metaphor. If you look back at the Redskins greats, the Super Bowl winners, the Hall of Famers, it looks like Shanahan is using this same coin.

Excluding Sammy Baugh, Art Monk, Darrell Green, Mark May and Charley Taylor, the majority of Redskins greats were not first-round selections. Since 1936, out of 54 first-round Redskins draft picks, only four are in the Hall of Fame. John Riggins and Bruce Smith are also first rounders in the Hall, but they were drafted by the Jets and Bills respectively.

It would appear that Shanahan understands that the Redskin tradition is as a blue collar, working class football team, and that legends are made at Redskins park, not before they get there.

McNabb was a great experiment to see how much the Redskins actually needed to rebuild. His agent, Fletcher Smith, is being a jackass by suggesting Washington has treated him horribly. By allowing McNabb to find a better situation with no strings attached and a wad of cash in his pockets sounds like horrible abuse, doesn’t it Fletcher? Maybe they should work in a no-trade clause and keep McNabb around as a Mark Brunell type back-up, just to keep Fletcher happy.

With McNabb gone, Shanahan knows he needs a leader. Baugh, Theismann, Williams, and Rypien. Baugh was the sixth pick in the first round by the Redskins in 1937. Theismann and Williams were both in different leagues before coming to Washington. Rypien was a sixth-round selection, Washington’s Tom Brady.

Shanahan’s compass needle is clearly resting on QB. Between Jake Locker, Andrew Luck, Cam Newton, Ryan Mallett and others, there is a plethora of potential NFL quarterback talent in the upcoming draft. Benching McNabb and starting Rex might have been an easy way to drop the last few to jump up a couple spots in the draft order, just to make sure Shanahan gets his man. As of now, my money is on Washington’s Jake Locker, already dubbed a younger McNabb, but is Jake Locker another Sammy Baugh? I’ve never seen him punt.

By Evan Bliss  | December 20, 2010; 4:50 PM ET
Categories:  Evan Bliss, Redskins  | Tags:  Evan Bliss, Redskins  
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Shanahan is horrible, wait till next year and we are right back here again at 6-10 or 8-8.
Knows nothing of team building or supporting his players. Cant wait for him to get fired as soon as possible.
thats why he has not won anything since he was handed a great team in Denver.
More and More people are joining us.

Posted by: wohwinner | December 20, 2010 7:37 PM | Report abuse

Terrific observations. Kyle Shanahan's offense will not be able to reach its potential without "his players." They need to do a lot of subtraction in the off-season. I believe that this team's long-term successes will best be achieved if they build the team around Kyle's offense. The players ruled this place the past 18 years and look where it got us. Give Mike Shanahan complete authority going forward. He is doing the right things.

Posted by: rm42 | December 21, 2010 10:11 AM | Report abuse

Great take. At least Shanahan can admit when he is wrong (benching McNabb). People have to take the long view. Its going to take time and who the hell else will keep Snyder happy while we rebuild.

Posted by: lavar609 | December 21, 2010 4:46 PM | Report abuse

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