Student of the game
It is official, the Redskins have hired Mike Shanahan to be the 28th coach in team history, completing a leap from a failed experiment with an inexperienced head coach and an ineffective football management team to a franchise with an actual general manager and coach with deep experience in football operations.
Dan Snyder armed coach Shanahan with a five year deal worth approximately seven million dollars a year and handed over near total control of the day to day football operation. Expect everything from the signage to equipment checkout processes to practice habits to dress code to walkthroughs to gameday routine to reflect coach Shanahan's vision of a football team.
The management plan as I understand it will feature coach Shanahan working closely with actual general manager Bruce Allen on high level strategic football matters, player selection, draft prep and selections, roster moves and trades, while Bruce handles contract negotiations and manages the salary cap.
Coach Shanahan is expected to have the final word.
This is not peepee caca news for the Redskins. The implications of this football management structure are huge for the Redskins and their fans. If this is all true then it means Dan Snyder, after more than a decade, has realized he should not be in those meetings, should not be viewing that scouting tape or driving those draft picks. He has realized he needs to step back, put it all in the hands of professional football people, sign the checks and let them work.
Will it work? Who knows, we all thought Dan had had this same revelation before the Marty Schottenheimer hire, from the beginning it went off the rails with veteran players such as Bruce Smith complaining in the media about coach Schottenheimer's tactics, Dan let the coach be undermined, never sold out to Marty, never let it be known that it was Bruce Smith's tough shit, if he did not like it he should retire.
Marty, for his part never batted an eye, armed with a solid contract he went about the business of transforming the team, jettisoning the bloated contracts and unneeded player, steady in the belief that he was right and in charge.
And then Dan fired him because he panicked, he got mad that someone else was playing with his toy. And for what? Fucking Steve Spurrier.
This could all happen again, Dan could get cold feet when the 2010 Redskins are 6-10 or 8-8, fire everyone and bring back Vinny Cerrato, give himself a parade and give the finger to Redskins history.
It may take longer than that and still fail. Bruce Allen and Mike Shanahan may not be able to work together, they may conspire to sign a bunch of ineffective old Bronco players and pick the next Heat Shuler in the draft. The job of coaching the team and running the show may be more than a 24 hour a day job, hell Jim Zorn could not even coach the roster given him and call plays at the same time!
Redskins fans though will tolerate a lot of failure from this regime before they give up, Bruce Allen and Mike Shanahan are name brand guys putting their reputations on the line, tthey are not lining up to be anyone's pet the way I think poor Joe Gibbs did in his second go round.
No matter how you look at it, no matter what prospects you think this management team has for failure or success, the moves to hire an actual general manager and bring two time Super Bowl champion Mike Shanahan to the Redskins represent bona fide change to the status quo in Ashburn.
Now the fun begins.
Mike Shanahan: Rob Schwane / AP photo from here via here.