As an NFL head-coach, you are expected upon to do one thing and one thing only, and that is to win football games.
When Mike Shanahan came out of retirement to coach the Washington Redskins in 2010, many expected him to turn things right around, judging by the amount of potential on the team. Not only did he fail to break .500 in his first season, but here we are in his third year and the Redskins are still in “rebuilding mode”. With an owner like Dan Snyder, you would think that Mike would be going insane with the amount of pressure his has facing him this year, right?
Despite all the criticism and denial from fans around the D.C. area, Shanahan has managed to stay focused, and remain positive towards the 2012 season.
“I like our team and I think we have a chance to do something special”, said Shanahan. We had a good 2011 draft with all 12 guys still here and we’ve got a good mix of youth and vets. Hopefully with help from our free agents and draft choices and if we can stay healthy, we can make a good run.”
With words like those, the veteran coach is showing that he has plenty of faith in both his young players and veterans, and truly thinks they can make a run at the playoffs. Shanahan also showed a great deal of trust in a certain Heisman-trophy winning quarterback, trading up to draft Robert Griffin III at number two overall in the 2012 NFL Draft. Some questioned the Redskins decision to move up and trade away so much (three 1st round picks and a 2nd rounder), but Mike had his trust in the kid from Baylor all along.
“Everybody is looking for a franchise quarterback, and we had a chance to get someone special who can be here 10 to 15 years,” said Shanahan. “Robert has great arm strength, he can run and make plays with his feet, he’s strong and will get stronger. It’s obvious he has all the intangibles — the work ethic, he studies the game, wants to be a good player, wants to win, the way he handles himself. Football is important to him.”
Shanahan did note, though, that it takes more than one player to win football games.
“We’ve got to surround him with good players. The Elways, the Youngs … they all needed good players around them to be successful.”
He obviously knows what the season entails, and what it will take with an exceptionally tough schedule, not to mention being in the same division as 3 of the best teams in the NFL.
“All four teams in our division have owners who will give everything they’ve got to win the Super Bowl,” Shanahan said. “That’s one reason the NFC East is the most consistent division year after year. The Giants’ playoff run didn’t surprise me, with the depth in their football team and those pass rushers. To win this division, you’ve got to have great players and coach the heck out of them.”
As Redskins fans, we can all hope than he performs a miracle and turns these words into actions this upcoming season, ending the 5-year playoff drought. With a young team this year like this, a play-off appearance will be plenty enough to ensure his job for next year. However, anything less than .500 might not be as friendly to the future HOF coach.