Cooley on Shanahan's adjustments
Earlier this week, I posted some old bits of press-produced '08 ecstasy, back when the Redskins were 4-1 under a dynamic new coach and headed for a certain playoff berth. That didn't work out so well. The lesson, I guess, was caution.
Being similarly sentient Redskins observers, the Junkies also compared the Zorn-Shanahan levels of optimism this week, both among themselves and with Chris Cooley, during his Friday appearance on 106.7 The Fan. First they asked Cooley whether this beginning feels different than the magical beginning of that '08 season.
"I want to say that it feels different, but it doesn't," Cooley said. "We were so hot, and everything was rolling at the time that we got to 6-2 that year. We were beating good teams, we were running the football, we were very confident."
And yet, after a bit of reflection, Cooley suggested that there are serious differences this time around. For example, he said the Skins "pretty much did scrap the gameplan" they crafted to beat the Packers when it didn't work through more than two quarters. Play-action plays were getting blown up by pressure, and the run game was ineffective, and Cooley guessed that Kyle Shanahan "just got pissed off and said 'We're gonna call the plays that work, and we're gonna call 'em until they stop 'em.' "
He also suggested that such in-game adjustments (and between-game adjustments) may have been missing during the Maroon and Black era.
"When you go back to two seasons ago, we'd just installed that offense, people hadn't seen everything that we were gonna do," Cooley said. "The one thing that I didn't like about what we were doing was we didn't make adjustments from week to week, we didn't make really any big changes, we didn't give new looks. This offense that we're in now...makes a lot of adjustments every week, makes a lot of game-plan adjustments. We're not gonna show them the same stuff, we're not even gonna be close to showing 'em the same stuff, so there's not a lot of keys.
"I felt like we really got keyed on in '08, towards the end of the year, and then all of '09. People just knew what we were doing. We'd line up and they're calling routes out. And then the answer that I don't like is, 'You just have to execute better than them.' I don't like that answer. I like, 'We're gonna put you in a position to win so you can win," not just 'You have to execute better, that's what we need to do.'
"It wasn't like the theme of the team, but that was said a lot. And if you really think about it, it's true, if you're gonna execute better. But if you can put your guys in a position where they're at an advantage, I like that better than just saying 'Be Better.' "
So maybe just go ahead and be optimistic and forget about that whole 2008 thing.
| October 15, 2010; 4:03 PM ET
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