Jul 25, 2013; Richmond, VA, USA; Washington Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan walks onto the field for opening day of 2013 NFL training camp at the Bon Secours Washington Redskins Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
When Mike Shanahan first joined the team in 2010, he was known for pushing players to their limit, sometimes even past it. During practice one time, he said, “build them up, tear them down….build them up, tear them down.”
While this is the correct way to weed out anybody who isn’t up to the challenge of playing on the football team, as they found out with Albert Haynesworth, sometimes, it can cause other issues, such as injuries.
The Redskins found that out that out last season when they had lost the majority of their star players, or players needed for depth on the team; Adam Carriker, Brian Orakpo, Roy Helu, Fred Davis, Chase Minnifield, Chris Neild, Brandon Meriweather, and a whole lot more.
While some players, such as Brandon Meriweather and Chase Minnifield had lingering injuries to begin with, then re-injured themselves by pre-game activities; others were doing just as they were told and still had issues.
Could some of this wear and tear be coming from none other than Mike Shanahan himself? There’s no question he pushes players to the max, but could his overdoing be one of the reasons the Redskins have faced major injuries since his arrival?
Sure, the Redskins have found ways to win, go on seven game win streaks to win divisions, but what does that matter if in the long run players cannot stay healthy? Brian Orakpo was lost for the 2011 and 2012 season due to a pectoral injury, and now Kennan Robinson has been lost two years in a row for the same thing.
Jul 25, 2013; Richmond, VA, USA; Washington Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan speaks with the media after opening day of 2013 NFL training camp at the Bon Secours Washington Redskins Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
While they could be pushing themselves too far, or even the linebacker coach, Mike Shanahan in the end is the one who runs the show as he is not only the head coach, but also the Vice President of Football Operations, who has the final say in ALL football matters.
This training camp for the Redskins have been much different from the past three seasons. Jordan Reed, who has a foot injury has been kept out of practice, as has newly drafted running back Chris Thompson (ACL).
Fred Davis, Pierre Garcon, Robert Griffin III and many others until recently were forced to play in simple, non-contact drills (practically meaningless games of catch).
Donte Stallworth is currently sidelined with an injured hamstring, and Brandon Meriweather is just now (even though being healthy at the beginning of training camp), allowed to slowly get back into the mix of things as Mike Shanahan felt he was working too hard.
Does that mean he has finally learned his lesson when it comes to how much and how hard he pushes players? After last season’s massive blow to the defense, perhaps Mike Shanahan realizes he now has to be more cautious with his players, if he expects them to last all season.
That might be why Robert Griffin III is upset and possibly even irate with the fact that Shanahan won’t allow him to jump into the mix immediately, nor play in any preseason games. Shanahan, though in some eyes being overly cautious, might have just learned his lesson from previous seasons where he lost too many starters before the first game of the season.