Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity
On Twitter: dcsportsbog and PostSports  |  Facebook  |  E-mail alerts: Redskins and Sports  |  RSS

Shanahan cautions media on discretion

The past month of Redskins practice has been covered as no month of Redskins practice in franchise history, with dozens of daily tweets and blog posts from about a dozen dedicated beat writers. There have been instant updates on injuries, formations, catches and drops, plus a slew of instant quotes from every press conference.

Occasionally, the reporters have noted which players are lining up with the first team and which with the second, as well as unusual formations or personnel groupings. And apparently, it got to be a bit much for Coach Mike Shanahan, who cautioned the media on Monday to cut this out.

"First of all, I heard some rumors that people are talking about if [Albert Haynesworth is] playing first-team, second-team," Shanahan said early in his daily press gathering. "If people come out here and they start talking about who's gonna play in our three-wide receiver package, who's gonna play in our nickle, and it's reported, then you're not gonna be invited to practice. You know, that's strategy. That's within the confines of our organization. And if you guys would like to come out and watch practice, please don't print different rumors or different things you see out there, because that's a competitive advantage. And one of the reasons I'd love to have open practices is you can go out there and talk about the team, but not get involved on who's first team, who's second team, things along those lines."

For the record, this is somewhat of a gray area. NFL policies require teams to open at least the first 30 minutes of practice during the regular season, but teams set the ground rules on what can be reported, and "anything involving use of personnel as it relates to game-planning and/or strategy is considered off limits by all clubs," a league spokesman e-mailed me.

By some ways of thinking, anything players do other than breathe could relate to game-planning and/or strategy, so it's sometimes tough to figure out what is and is not off-limits. But after the Maroon and Black Era, when Jim Zorn would go out of his way to explain exactly what personnel moves the Redskins had in mind, there is now an obvious move in the other direction. Later on Monday, Shanahan was asked about Clinton Portis being the starter.

"We don't talk about who's starting, who's second team," he said. "But if you guessed Clinton, you'd probably be pretty close to being right. I mean, it would look that way. But for obvious reasons we don't say who's gonna start, we don't talk about our substitute packages, different things along those lines. You guys've got to help me from that standpoint, because the different things I read, you're talking about who's playing. I've never had that since I've been in the National Football League, people talking about personnel groups. And you just don't do that, because it is an advantage to the opposition."

So, who will be the return specialists this week?

"Again, that's the same thing with personnel," he said. "It sounds silly, but it's not."

And Kareem Moore's availability?

"Same thing," Shanahan said. "We'll do that each week. I'm not gonna get into a lot of detail for the same reason we just talked about."

Late in the gathering, Chick Hernandez asked how Shanahan's life has changed in this information age.

"I understand your job, believe me," the coach said. "We've all got a job to do. But my job is to protect our football team, and with you getting a chance to go out here every day, confirming different things or not confirming, to me that's a difference sometimes between winning and losing. You take a look at who's playing, and people sometimes don't give it a lot of thought and they just throw it out there, and sometimes it can be a big advantage or disadvantage."

And before this all ended, someone asked Shanahan if he really is reading all these reporter tweets.

"I don't even know how to get there," he joked.

By Dan Steinberg  |  September 7, 2010; 11:53 AM ET
Categories:  Media , Redskins  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Shanahan confident McNabb will start vs. Dallas
Next: Snyder predicts record crowd on Sunday

Comments

Seems fair enough. I have to admit part of me likes the updates about the teams strategy but I'm still a Redskin fan above all else, and if doing this provides opponents with a competitive advantage then I fully support shutting it down.

Posted by: Dirtbag59 | September 7, 2010 12:11 PM | Report abuse

Dano,
I would rather a coach like Shannahan, who slaps you guys around a bit when it comes to your super secret decoder rings, than a coach like Jim Zorn who probably mentioned 3-4 plays he wanted to run each game.

Posted by: alex35332 | September 7, 2010 12:23 PM | Report abuse

Amen coach. Amen.

Am getting fed up myself, especially with the Post's blatantly contradicting stories on Haynesworth. One day, the Post runs yet another hit piece on him claiming anonymous sources on the team say he played "awful" and gave "little effort" on Thursday night. The next day, they run a story with a quote from Shanahan in which he says quite clearly about Haynesworth's performance Thursday: I thought he did a good job, considering he played as many plays as he did at a couple different positions. And not having the reps some of the other players had at it, it was work that was well needed and he played hard."

So which is? He was "awful" or he was "good"? He gave "little effort" or he "played hard"? Something tells me Shanahan isn't the type to publicly give false praise about a player. So I'm going to take his word for it over the Post's "anonymous sources."

Glad Shanny has warned these reporters, and am looking forward to the day where he bans some of these jerks from practice.

Posted by: Barno1 | September 7, 2010 12:30 PM | Report abuse

Coach Shanahan should invite Mike Wise to practice.

It would provide great misdirection.

Posted by: rhbancroft | September 7, 2010 12:35 PM | Report abuse

Coach Shanahan should invite Mike Wise to practice.

It would provide great misdirection.

Posted by: rhbancroft |
________________________________

@rhbancroft........... LMAO!!!!!!! Too funny dude

Posted by: BenThere | September 7, 2010 12:42 PM | Report abuse

Awesome story. Good reporting. If you're the only guy reporting this, it should have landed you the cover of the sports page. I've felt for a long time that the way that the Redskins were covered by the media had a negative impact on their actual performance. No other sports town has the frenzy that we have here. Big time sports writers land gigs with the post, feed the addiction, and contribute to giving a slight strategic advantage to the other team. If I was a coach in the NFL, I would have someone reading the DC local sports pages online every week in preparation for the upcoming big game. If you try to do the same for our competition, you don't get much unless you're looking at NY and even NY doesn't touch the Redskins. Synder as a media man, has encouraged this overexposure. Rather than question Shanahan's lack of media savvy, Chick Hernandez should have complemented the Coach for doing everything that he could do to gain a competitive edge. After all guys, if the Skins are winning, it's good for business.

Posted by: bermudml | September 7, 2010 12:46 PM | Report abuse

dang, looks like writer will have to beimaginative and creative (for a change) and not just involve themselves in a groupie fashion show mentality or a who's nice or not like 'sleep-over talk. From the post i've heard nothing about how the d-line operates or the o-lines persona (other than zone blocking) I guess I'm saying if I just read the 'post-writers' I'd end up just being a fan without any real football knowledge - then I may as well be a cowboy fan. as it is i'll have to wait for the season to start to 'know' anything. M.S. is correct he just said in a nice way to learn your craft

Posted by: aypub | September 7, 2010 12:47 PM | Report abuse

I guess this means no Hard Knocks for Redskin Nation. Why not do minor drills the first 30 mins of practice and then kick out the media for the remainder? Oh well.

Posted by: nicety251 | September 7, 2010 12:59 PM | Report abuse

eff the Skins right Steinz??!! anything for page views right Steinz?!?!?

/ I'm a sheep
//sheesh SMDH

Posted by: jonthefisherman | September 7, 2010 1:26 PM | Report abuse

"Amen coach. Amen."

Ditto.

- Ray

Posted by: rmcazz | September 7, 2010 1:37 PM | Report abuse

After all guys, if the Skins are winning, it's good for business.

Posted by: bermudml | September 7, 2010 12:46 PM
================================

That's where you are wrong. The Redskins winning is NOT necessarily good for business. How many people call the radio station to complain about the QB, RB, OL, who lost the game. Now how many of those callers go quiet when the team is winning?

How many people tuned in to the summer saga of Fat Albert vs. Shanny? If there's no such drama the Post doesn't get those eyeballs during the summer. Especially since the Nationals are el stinko.

A big spending owner who like Charlie Brown keeps getting the ball pulled away from him during the regular season is GREAT for business.

Posted by: ProfessorWrightBSU | September 7, 2010 1:57 PM | Report abuse

I totally agree with coach. Especially when it's the first year of this offense with this personnel and we have a little bit of an advantage against the opposing teams. Sure you may have an idea what the Shannahan's offense is all about - but you don't know for sure with the players we have and how we're going to game plan. When you write about the perceived depth chart, you give opposing teams an idea of who to scheme against, what the weakness of that player may be, and who to start against them.

Let's just report on the information that's voluntarily given by the team officially). And THEN report it.

Posted by: CYA_Coach | September 7, 2010 2:22 PM | Report abuse

anything that is reported in the post sports section regarding our beloved skins is so suspect these days....Mike Wise suspension should've been a wake up call to everyone else to truly check sources and take care with reporting facts....facts..we don' need no stinkin facts...open first thirty minutes to stretches and sprints then kick everyone out...and BEAT DALLAS

Posted by: rhb123 | September 7, 2010 2:23 PM | Report abuse

..open first thirty minutes to stretches and sprints then kick everyone out...and BEAT DALLAS

Posted by: rhb123 | September 7, 2010 2:23 PM
===================

yup!

Posted by: ProfessorWrightBSU | September 7, 2010 3:29 PM | Report abuse

I don't blame the coach at all for setting the record straight when it comes to what should and should not be printed. Bruce Allen's father would turn over in his grave if he could see how the media meddles with this team, always looking to report something that the fans don't necessarily need to know. The whole world didn't need to know it was the plan to switch to a 3-4 defense. That knowledge being kept secret could have been worth two more wins on the season. It's no wonder George Allen didn't like the media hanging around.

Posted by: MHEDRLT | September 7, 2010 3:52 PM | Report abuse

I think with all the latest instant media reporters feel they are more entitled to report what they want because they can electronically. But trying to be the first with the story does not give you a pass to report everything. Nothing should change about that no matter how big or instant the media becomes. No old school coach is going to want you reporting his personnel packages just because you owe your boss a story. Can you imagine Bill Parcells allowing you to report who he is playing and not playing?

Posted by: ged0386 | September 7, 2010 4:05 PM | Report abuse

This comes from too many reporters trying to make a name for themselves. With cable and the internet you got every guy with a degree in journalism either an inside expert on a web based or cable sports show running their mouths or reporting half truths trying to make a name for themselves at the expense of the teams and the athletes. Too much media not enough news to fill the programming. So reporters go digging for something to report.

Posted by: ged0386 | September 7, 2010 4:09 PM | Report abuse

Wow... the skins must really stink if Shanahan thinks it will make a big difference to winning or losing if people know how Kareem Moore is doing, or who will return kicks.

As for using George Allen as a reference for the media... he was great coach but verged on being a paranoid psychotic.

Posted by: kingbonehead | September 7, 2010 4:46 PM | Report abuse

One Question and One Question Only
Which is more important?
(1) Being "friendly" with the media
ala Jim Zorn
or
(2) Winning games and Super Bowls
ala Coach Mike
The truely great coaches control EVERYTHING concerning their teams and the "nice" guys finish last!

Posted by: rdstr93 | September 7, 2010 5:14 PM | Report abuse

Another coach who confuses his game plan with national security secrets.

He needs to do his job, not the press's. If he doesn't want them to see certain stuff, don't do it during open practice.

"If people come out here and they start talking about who's gonna play in our three-wide receiver package, who's gonna play in our nickle, and it's reported, then you're not gonna be invited to practice."

Of course that's what they're gonna do. What else do you think they're gonna do? It's what they're PAID to do. And as Steinberg points out, the ground rules are so vague as to be meaningless.

Shanahan: Get over it.

Posted by: Meridian1 | September 7, 2010 5:46 PM | Report abuse

I agree. I don't I have seen breakdowns of a team's roster like we've seen here. Sure as a fan it was nice to read but I kept wondering why post about who the starting DE is in nickel package?

Posted by: tundey | September 7, 2010 8:23 PM | Report abuse

"Sure as a fan it was nice to read but I kept wondering why post about who the starting DE is in nickel package?"

Because everybody in the league is going to know that by the end of the first quarter of the first game. Unless someone gets hurt, in which case everyone will know who the replacement is within about 15 minutes.

The person upthread who said "The whole world didn't need to know it was the plan to switch to a 3-4 defense. That knowledge being kept secret could have been worth two more wins on the season," is equally out to lunch. How do you get through preseason without making something like that obvious? Even the personnel moves would tip your hand to other organizations by June. Even if you managed to stun your opening day opponent (which I think is unlikely), nobody is going to be fooled for the rest of the year - where's that second win supposed to come from?

You don't win games by surprising teams - the good coaching staffs can adjust to anything you spring on them by halftime at the latest. You win by executing. Like the Lombardi-era Packers, the Hogs-era Skins and the Ryan-era Bears, a good team can run a dominant offense or defense even when everyone in the stadium knows what's coming.

Shanahan's a successful coach, at least with the right quarterback, but he wastes too much time on this silly stuff.

Posted by: zimbar | September 8, 2010 1:31 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company