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Posted at 1:10 PM ET, 01/ 2/2011

Mark Schlereth on Mike Shanahan's decision-making, ego ... and more

By Cindy Boren

Kevin Ewoldt of Hogs Haven talked to ESPN's Mark Schlereth last week and got plenty of insight and opinion from him on Mike Shanahan as a coach and personnel guy. Schlereth is in a position to know...he played for Shanahan in Denver.

Ewoldt: "Back in July, you said Shanahan was very aware of the reason he was out in Denver -- the poor personnel decisions in the draft & free agency. Here we are one year into this and the Redskins burned 2 high draft picks for a QB that's out in 1-year & 3rd round pick for a banged up Tackle that will be a free agent in 2 weeks. Is he still a bad GM?"

Schlereth: "It's a little bit of a different situation. He had some stability in Denver and he had good players, but he made bad draft choice after bad draft choice. And then he chased those bad draft choices with bad free agent moves. [The Redskins] are an organization that was still lacking some depth and legit, big time quarterbacks. They tried to patch a hole, obviously. The jury is still out on those moves and how much Mike Shanahan plays in that and how much is on Bruce Allen and the owner."

Ewoldt: "Well, Warren Sapp said Bruce Allen is nothing more than a guy that plays golf with the alumni and works the salary cap and contracts."

Schlereth: "[laughing] If that's the case...I've known Mike for a very long time in regards to those personnel moves and there are a lot of things you kind of look at and scratch your head and I could go through tons of them that happened in Denver which made zero sense."

Ewoldt: "For example?"

Schlereth: "Let's start with the draft. Ashley Lelie. Really? Deltha O'Neal, who played running back in college at Cal Berkley got switched to defensive back. We drafted him in the first round. Does that truly make sense? Guys like Willie Middlebrooks. You've never heard of them. [Willie was a] defensive back from the University of Minnesota that never panned out. 1st round draft choice. George Foster -1st round draft choice, who was injured his last year in college with a broken wrist and really couldn't bend his wrist. A lot of people thought he'd be available in the 4th or 5th round and we took him with the 24th pick overall in the draft. I can go on and on and on.

"And then free agent wise. Whether it was Daryl Gardener from the Miami Dolphins or a handful of other guys that really didn't pan out. A lot of poor moves in that regard. When you make poor draft choices, and that's the biggest thing, you're forced to chase those poor draft choices because if they don't pan out, in the free agent market you try to patch a hole. The problem being one bad choice makes you chase another guy and another guy. It makes you draft people and chase free agents out of position and overpay those guys. I think it's been a problem in Washington even before Mike ever got there."

Ewoldt: "There's ten years of game film on McNabb throwing these worm balls. How did Shanahan not see that he was a bad fit?"

Schlereth: "OK, let me tell you. And this is endemic of all coaches. Don't just put this on Mike, you can put this on anybody. Donovan's biggest issue has been accuracy. He's always struggled over his career with being a very accurate QB. I can put on any game film this year of Donovan and there's six or seven balls a game where he throws them into the dirt where nobody has an opportunity [to make the catch]. Where you're like, "Really?" It's a 7-yard throw and you threw it four yards short in the dirt. How can that be? And, the problem with coaches in general is they really feel like they can cure or fix anybody. From the inaccuracy, they'll say, 'Oh, it's his footwork. Under my expert tutelage I'll get him to setup a different way. I'll get his knees bent a little bit more. I'll get his weight distributed more evenly. And I'll fix this issue.'

"The problem comes under duress you revert back to schoolyard and bad habits. Anytime you got a little bit of stress or pressure, inevitably you revert back to what you've always been. Coaches think they can fix people mechanically. It comes down to ego. They think they can fix a guy who's an absolute terd everywhere he's been and they think they can take that guy under their expert tutelage they're going to go play."

Ewoldt: "How much of the offensive coordinating is Kyle doing versus Mike? You worked with Kubiak as a Coordinator in Denver, and as fans, we see the Head Coach's son as a coordinator and there's really no risk of him losing his job."

Schlereth: "Yeah, I don't know if that's a great situation, but Mike always has his hands in it. Whether he is calling plays or Kyle is calling plays, the bottom line, and this is the way it was in Denver, those coaches put a game plan together, Mike will review it, add to it, subtract from it, say 'I like this. I don't like this.' He is intimately involved in the game planning and the execution of the game plan. Don't think it falls on Kyle. Nothing gets called on the football field on Sunday that hasn't been approved through Mike's desk in the course of the week."

By Cindy Boren  | January 2, 2011; 1:10 PM ET
Categories:  Donovan McNabb, Mike Shanahan, Redskins  
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Next: Leslie Frazier to be named Minnesota Vikings' coach...permanently


Schlereth was a gutty lineman and has become a first rate analyzer. And that's what scares me.

Just the 'graf on Shanahan's draft picks alone is depressing. Add in his FA pickups and suddenly the error with McNabb is understandable.

And as far as GMs go, if Mark is right, it looks like the team went from a racquetball player to a golfer.


Posted by: TheCork | January 2, 2011 2:26 PM | Report abuse

We shall see....won't we?

Posted by: rickyroge | January 2, 2011 2:30 PM | Report abuse

Funny we are just now having this conversation. I blame the media for a lot of the negativity.

Inspite of his failures at draft picks he also won more games than he lost, that's why we hired him.

I'm a skin fan trapped in Carolina and I have watched John Fox's career as a head coach. He has made miserable choices with his draft, case in point, Jimmy Clausen. But as soon as today's game is over, make no mistake someone will be hiring Mr. Fox.

Posted by: rodskin | January 2, 2011 2:44 PM | Report abuse

Schlereth backs up everything I've been posting about this new management team, which has snyder written all over it. more of the same


Posted by: hessone | January 2, 2011 2:55 PM | Report abuse

The McNabb deal has always seemed like something promoted and orchestrated by $nyder.

We still desperately need a GM handling personnel-- including deciding who coaches.

Posted by: DannyH8r | January 2, 2011 2:59 PM | Report abuse

I blame the media for a lot of the negativity.

Posted by: rodskin | January 2, 2011 2:44 PM |

I blame the final results on most of the negativity

the media just stirs the pot

Posted by: hessone | January 2, 2011 3:00 PM | Report abuse

Media continues to trash McNabb, like he's totally done..Watch him come back next year behind a decent O-line and go deep..


Posted by: frak | January 2, 2011 3:02 PM | Report abuse

The McNabb deal has always seemed like something promoted and orchestrated by $nyder.

We still desperately need a GM handling personnel-- including deciding who coaches.

Posted by: DannyH8r | January 2, 2011 2:59 PM |

cosign dannyh8r

Posted by: hessone | January 2, 2011 3:06 PM | Report abuse

anyone have a link to watch online today?

Posted by: RomoLongballs | January 2, 2011 3:30 PM | Report abuse

The McNabb deal has always seemed like something promoted and orchestrated by $nyder.

We still desperately need a GM handling personnel-- including deciding who coaches.

Posted by: DannyH8r | January 2, 2011 2:59 PM |

cosign dannyh8r

Posted by: hessone | January 2, 2011 3:06 PM

Posted by: priceisright | January 2, 2011 3:32 PM | Report abuse

Thanks guys! Now if we can just get $nyder to sign on...

Posted by: DannyH8r | January 2, 2011 3:47 PM | Report abuse

wow, torain changes direction about as well as andre carter

Posted by: coparker5 | January 2, 2011 4:45 PM | Report abuse

Credit for the vaunted Bronco running game should go to Alex Gibbs - the nasty cut-blocking o-line coach

Posted by: coparker5 | January 2, 2011 4:47 PM | Report abuse

You raise a good poit about Gibbs, coparker.

Posted by: CindyBoren | January 2, 2011 4:50 PM | Report abuse

And ... hey, Cork. How ya doing?

Posted by: CindyBoren | January 2, 2011 4:53 PM | Report abuse

Thanks again snyder for another terrible year of redskins football

Posted by: unknownsouljah | January 2, 2011 7:25 PM | Report abuse

All champion franchises are built, with a GM who can evaluate talent and a great coach. Shannahan has too much power. He evaluates talent as well as Joe Gibbs, which is not going to win a super bowl. Sure they will find some diamonds in the rough. But that is it.

Bruce Allen makes an exceptional Team President, but he's a sorry GM, in the sense of Bobby Beathred. And that's what the skins need. Someone to stand up to Shanny, consult with him, but actually have final say over football personeel decisions.

The skins front office Shanny/Allen don't have the capacity to find quality players in the draft and suppement via Free Agency, over and over in within a system like Baltimore, Pitt, NE, Philly etc -- to be consistent winners. .

We don't have a top 5 QB.

The team will improve, but until we find a top quality GM who will make the decisions on personnel this Team will never be considered a top echelon team. And we as fans, are waisted our time and money, following them.

Save yourself some heart ache. Redskins fans give your money, passion, and loyalty to the Ravens.

At least they are in a difference, which will help ease nauseous frustration that we have been expereincing every since Jack Keent Cook passed on.

Posted by: friendofalobar | January 2, 2011 7:39 PM | Report abuse

Lavar, please read mark's excellent analysis. If you want to get better follow his logic based on facts. Have a good 2011

Posted by: mazbar | January 2, 2011 9:33 PM | Report abuse

Great article! Hits the nail right on the head.

Posted by: FootballCardSnatcher | January 3, 2011 7:48 AM | Report abuse

Another WRONG decision by Dan Snyder. I gave up on Shannanan earlier this year when he made up lie after lie trying to cover for his butt head son after the Detroit game. A liar is a liar and I don't trust liars. Mike and Kylie are both Egotystical LIARS. Look at Mike Shannanan's last four years of coaching excellence and tell me why you think he can turn the Redskins around. Pretty bad decision Dan.

Posted by: BigR22 | January 3, 2011 12:27 PM | Report abuse

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