Is it any surprise that the Redskins have only won two playoff games in three appearances since winning their last Super Bowl victory in 1991?
The commitment to mediocrity — or worse — that has hovered over the legendary franchise is its own doing.
A slew of coaches have come and gone since the days of greatness — including the return of Joe Gibbs — and all have failed. Current coach and presumed franchise-savior Mike Shanahan has a record of 14 wins and 27 losses after two and a half years that is indicative of the dysfunction that persists at Redskins Park.
At a media conference Monday, a stern-looking Shanahan was asked how he felt about the progress the team is making to become a contender again. His response: “You will have to ask Dan Snyder that. If he feels like this team is going in the right direction, then you ask him not me,” Shanahan said. “I know I am going in the right direction.”
Really? A 3-6 record at their bye week and Shanahan is confident that the team is going in the right direction?
Could’ve fooled me.
After posting a 138-win, 86-loss record with the Denver Broncos, Shanahan is going down the same path as notable legendary Redskin coaches such as Steve Spurrier and Jim Zorn. Both former coaching flops had better winning percentages after two years.
For example, the reliance on self-proclaimed me-first superstars such as DeAngelo Hall has to be addressed. Every Sunday, fans get to watch the back of number 23 as he chases yet another receiver into the endzone. Remember the Rams game earlier this year? Journeyman receiver Danny Amendola torched Hall and the secondary for 160 yards on 15 catches. Give me break. At the bargain basement price of $55 million, with $22.5 million of the contract guaranteed, team captain Hall has led a secondary that has given up 2715 yards so far this season. What a bargain.
Pierre Garcon has been a huge disappointment. Garcon had just eight catches for 153 yards and one touchdown on the season, with most of that production coming in the first quarter of the opener. Injuries are part of football. With a $42.5 million contract, $21.5 million guaranteed, he needs to suck it up and play. Maybe he has been receiving advice from Albert Haynesworth.
Robert Griffin III has been very impressive. But for how long? The quarterback position of the Redskins has to be considered one of the worst occupational hazards in the NFL, maybe of all occupations nationwide. Remember Patrick Ramsey? After the beating the poor guy took during his illustrious career with the Redskins, it is a wonder he can even remember his time with the team. How much longer until the porous offensive line has Griffin on injured reserve?
Until the fundamental problems of the team are addressed, the losing tradition will continue.
There is too much reliance on flash, not enough on substance; this is how the Redskins drop the ball every year. They have forgotten how they achieved greatness in the 1970s and 1980s — by finding unknown guys from later draft rounds and small colleges who are hungry for an opportunity to play. Players like 11th-round draft pick Monte Coleman from little Central Arkansas and fourth-round draft pick Don Warren from San Diego State. Undrafted gems like Joe Jacoby and Jeff Bostic. Safety Mark Murphy was a good one — seems to me a player earning his law degree from a small, private, elite college like Colgate would be perfect to be your defensive play-caller. Need a first-rounder? Try someone like Darrell Green from Texas A&I in the obscure Lonestar Conference. These are examples of players that know they need to produce. And these players helped produce three Super Bowl Championships.
Keep finding players like current sixth-round draft pick and rookie phenomenon Alfred Morris.
The doctrine of owner Danny-boy Snyder is to spend, spend, spend. When will he realize that having one of the biggest checkbooks in the NFL isn’t the answer to winning championships?
The management at Redskins Park needs to take a lesson from the business model of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Despite having one of the lowest year-by-year team salaries, the Steelers consistently field a contender. No flashy free agents. All players earn a position on the team by virtue of toughness and teamwork, not vanity and hype. If a player causes an embarrassment to the team, with the notable exception of Ben Roethlisberger, they are gone. Period. The next player steps up and usually performs. And they do it on the cheap. Remember Ryan Clark? The Redskins didn’t re-sign him when his contract was up. He was called “an over-achiever.” What in the heck is wrong with having an over-achiever on your team? Apparently, the Steelers like over-achievers because they immediately gave Ryan a home. The Redskins decided to go for free agent Adam Archuleta, making him one of the highest paid safeties in football history. He lasted one season and will go down as one of the biggest free agent busts ever. Ryan now wears a Super Bowl ring. Wonder which team got the best deal?
Right now, the Redskins record since their last championship in 1991 stands at 139 wins, 186 losses, with a winning percentage of .424.
Is it any wonder?