Tag:Mike Shanahan
Posted on: July 13, 2011 11:58 pm
Edited on: July 14, 2011 12:21 am

Redskins will be busy in free agency

ShanahanPosted by Josh Katzowitz

The Redskins weren’t big-time players in free agency last offseason -- though they did make a pretty big-time trade for Donovan McNabb, which didn’t exactly, um, work out for anybody -- but NFL.com’s Jason LaCanfora writes that the previous attitude will change once the lockout ends.

Apparently, the primary objective for coach Mike Shanahan is to sign wide receiver Santonio Holmes, though you can be sure the Jets will put up a fight for him, while players like Ravens G Marshall Yanda, Packers DL Cullen Jenkins and Jets DL Kris Jenkins also are wanted by the Redskins.

LaCanfora writes that the team very well could land the Jenkins brothers, because neither will be as in demand as Holmes and Yanda.

If the Redskins were to sign Holmes, there’s a decent chance that WR Santana Moss -- who’s been in Washington for the past six seasons -- would not return (though he has stated that he wants to stay with the Redskins).

Not surprisingly, the team doesn’t plan to keep McNabb or DL/troublemaker Albert Haynesworth. Washington most likely will release McNabb once the lockout is over. But the Redskins still will want to find somebody who will take Haynesworth in a trade, in part because they don’t want Haynesworth to get his way and in part because they want to control where Haynesworth plays next year (ie. not anywhere in the NFC East).

But as LaCanfora writes, this will be a big offseason for Shanahan, because he “already has fallen under scrutiny following clashes with top players and acute struggles on both offense and defense during his first season in Washington.”

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Posted on: July 8, 2011 9:08 pm

Mike Shanahan: 'I love Donovan McNabb'

Posted by Will Brinson

With very few exceptions, there's little certainty about this NFL offseason. Some things -- Kenny Britt getting in trouble, for example -- are guarantees. And some things -- Donovan McNabb not playing for the Redskins next year -- seem like guarantees.

Which is why it's so surprising to hear Mike Shanahan say the words, "I love Donovan McNabb." But that's exactly what he said on Friday at a youth football camp.

"I love Donovan McNabb," Shanahan said, per Jennifer Williams of CSNWashington.com. "He’s one of the best guys you’ll ever be around. You cannot find a better person in the world.

"The thing that you do when you put a football team together is you sit down and make some tough decisions, and I will sit down with him once we are able to talk.”

They won't be able to chat until there's a new collective bargaining agreement, of course, and that means it's anyone guess as to when they'll be face-to-face.

Once they do chat, however, it's a virtual lock that Shanny's going to be shipping McNabb out of town, at least based on his criteria for evaluating players anyway.

"You're evaluating obviously on their talent, character and age," he said.

Character might be important and Shanahan might really love McNabb as a person. But based on his decision to bench Donovan for Rex Grossman last year, as well as certain comments from certain quarterbacks during this offseason, it's pretty obvious that he doesn't believe McNabb nails the trifecta in terms of things he's looking for in a quarterback.

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Posted on: July 5, 2011 1:12 pm
Edited on: July 5, 2011 1:28 pm

Redskins shouldn't expect much for McNabb

Posted by Ryan Wilson

It's been a recurring theme this offseason. Anytime the conversation turns to matching a veteran quarterback with a team desperately in need of a starter, Donovan McNabb is usually mentioned as an afterthought if his name comes up at all.

It's not altogether shocking; McNabb is 34 and has been average (or worse) the last two seasons. But the manner in which McNabb was relegated to QB scrap heap has been something of a surprise. Washington gave division rival Philadelphia second- and fourth-round picks last offseason for McNabb, presumably because new coach Mike Shanahan thought the 11-year veteran could still play at a high level.

It only took eight weeks before Shanahan yanked McNabb late in a game against the Lions for Rex Grossman. And by the final month of the season, McNabb was on the bench for good, his Washington career effectively over some 14 weeks after it started.

So why would the 'Skins give up on McNabb less than a year after trading for him? In May, a source told CBSSports.com's Pete Prisco that it's all because "The son doesn't like him." That would be Shanahan's son, Kyle, who is also Washington's offensive coordinator.

Technically, McNabb is still a member of the Redskins, but that'll change soon after the lockout ends, and for better or worse, it will also usher in the John Beck era. The only question is if Washington will trade or release McNabb. The latter is contingent on the former, although there's no guarantee that other teams think enough of McNabb, especially given his hefty contract (signed after Week 1 of the 2010 season), to give up much to get him.

The Washington Post's Jason Reid writes that a confluence of reasons will likely lessen the demand for McNabb's services.
Forget about holding out for the highest draft pick. Don’t keep McNabb on the roster throughout the preseason in an effort to create a bidding war. That would only prolong a lingering, ugly situation that requires resolution as quickly as possible. …

The Shanahans did so much to devalue McNabb that the Redskins should not expect to receive much in exchange for a player beginning his 13th season. Also, teams are expected to ask McNabb to rework his contract to facilitate a trade, so the Redskins will need his cooperation, limiting potential trading partners.

McNabb probably would give back his $3.5 million signing bonus if the Redskins were willing to release him when the lockout ends, but Shanahan wants something more than money after squandering second- and fourth-round picks on McNabb. If the Redskins move McNabb a minute after a new collective bargaining agreement is formally implemented or wait until the day after their first regular season game — the option deadline — it would still be surprising if any team offered more than a sixth- or conditional seventh-round pick for him. Shanahan needs to let McNabb move on at any price.
Wherever McNabb ends up, it will probably be as a backup. The Dolphins, Titans, Vikings, and Seahawks are all in the market for veterans, either to challenge for the starting job or mentor young QBs currently on the roster.  

If there's a silver lining it has to be this: whatever role McNabb assumes in 2011 -- even if he's out of football -- it will almost certainly be preferable to what he endured in Washington last season.

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Posted on: June 15, 2011 8:52 pm
Edited on: June 16, 2011 12:11 am

Redskins need to consider life after Haynesworth

Posted by Ryan Wilson

A new labor deal may or may not be on the horizon, but when the owners and players come to an agreement, there will likely be an accelerated free-agency period followed by training camp and the regular season.

By that point, everything should be back to normal, which includes Albert Haynesworth making life difficult for some poor coach who thought he would be the one to motivate a man seemingly incapable of being motivated. Redskins coach Mike Shanahan was never under such illusions when he arrived in Washington last year. By the preseason it was clear they couldn't co-exist.

Just chalk it up as another one of Dan Snyder's high-priced personnel mistakes. (The 'Skins gave Haynesworth a $100 million deal in February 2009, including $41 million in guarantees.)

And now, even though Washington desperately needs some help along the defensive line, the rebuilding process won't include Haynesworth. NFL Network's Jason La Canfora figures "Aubrayo Franklin and Cullen Jenkins [will] get a good long look [from the 'Skins]," adding that “I think they’d trade (Haynesworth) for a seventh-round pick somewhere outside the division before they dealt him to the Eagles."

(La Canfora mentioned Philadelphia because Jim Washburn, Haynesworth's former defensive line coach in Tennessee, now coaches the Eagles' defensive line.) 

“They should have taken a fifth for him last offseason and ended the circus then,” La Canfora continued. “We shall see. Skins GM Bruce Allen has repeatedly told Haynesworth’s people that if they don’t get ‘real value’ in a trade they won’t move him, but I don’t see them getting anything better than a fifth for him, and they have wanted much more than that.”

Allen's thinking isn't unique to the Redskins. It's prevalent among teams that fork over substantial paydays for big-name free agents only to get in return substandard performances and less salary-cap wiggle room. Instead of cutting bait and moving on, they suffer from what economists call the "sunk cost fallacy." In English, it's simply throwing good money after bad.

Brian Burke of AdvancedNFLStats.com talked about the sunk cost fallacy late in the 2009 season, relating it to JaMarcus Russell.
Russell certainly isn’t the only top pick who was kept under center too long. Just about every team has had a similar experience in recent memory. General managers and coaches are the ones least willing to cut their losses with bad players because they’re the ones most attached to the sunk costs. The importance of responsibility is why it makes some sense to periodically replace senior management, whether at corporation, a government agency, or professional football team. New managers are not beholden to their predecessors’ sunk costs, and are freer to make rational decisions.
Unfortunately for the Redskins, Allen -- who inherited Haynesworth from Vinny Cerrato -- hasn't followed that advice. Presumably because in the back of Allen's mind is the fear that if he cuts Haynesworth, not only does that mean tens of millions of dollars down the drain (sunk cost!), there's the chance that another team will sign him, and worse, he will play well.

To paraphrase an an old saying: "A player is worth what somebody's willing to pay for him." Which is usually muttered right before someone else says, "It only takes one team." The problem: "one team" has historically referred to the Redskins, an outfit renown for paying well over market rates -- either in salary or draft picks -- for locker room malcontents, players on the downside of great careers or both.

Of course, if Allen promptly jettisons Haynesworth when the lockout ends, and Bill Belichick signs him for the league minimum, expect the media to hail the decision as "low-risk" and "genius." It's this thinking that got the Redskins in their current predicament.

On the upside, Washington gets a $41 million paperweight out of it. So there's that.

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Posted on: May 26, 2011 4:36 pm
Edited on: May 26, 2011 4:56 pm

Skins break ranks on NFLCA appeals brief

Posted by Will Brinson

On Wednesday, the NFL Coaches Association filed an amicus brief in support of the players' request to lift the lockout.

On Thursday, the Washington Redskins' coaching staff issued an interesting statement in which they renounce said brief.

"We stand united with our ownership and the brief does not reflect our thoughts on the matter," the letter reads, per Albert Breer of the NFL Network. "We, like everybody else, are hopeful we can return to playing football. ... Our former representative, Kirk Olivadotti, is no longer with the organization & no member of our ... staff was consulted."

According to Breer, 17 members of the Redskins staff signed the letter, though it did not include the signature of head coach Mike Shanahan, who is apparently considered part of "management."

The basic takeaway from the letter appears to be that the Redskins staff was none too pleased about the NFLCA filing their brief without checking first with the organization's coaches.

But then again, no coaches specifically attached their name to the NFLCA's brief, so perhaps this is just the first of many letters to leak in the media courtesy of coaching staffs.

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Posted on: May 19, 2011 10:14 am
Edited on: May 19, 2011 10:20 am

Rex Grossman: No, 'I'm the starter'

Posted by Will Brinson

Just how awesome are the Washington Redskins? Well, we're in the middle of a lockout that's preventing any football from taking place, they only have three quarterbacks on their roster, only one of whom -- Donovan McNabb -- has any success as a starter, and there's still a war about whether or not John Beck or Rex Grossman is going to start.

Alright, "a war" is a bit of a stretch. But after Beck declared himself the starter amid a motivational speech on Sirius XM the other day and, Grossman also weighed in.

"If you’re asking me, I definitely feel like I’m the starter, but I’m not even signed yet so I’m assuming a lot of things here," Grossman said on the radio, via Cindy Boren's "Early Lead" at the Washington Post. "I feel like I’m coming into the prime of my experience and I know exactly what I can do well, what my weaknesses are and what my strengths are and how it relates to this offense. I’ve been in a lot of situations, crucial games. I’ve played in a Super Bowl. I feel like I’m so much better than I was then that I’d love the opportunity to have a full season with this offense and have a whole season to really feel like this is my team.

"That’s my goal and that’s what I want to happen. I’m assuming a lot of things here, that I’m signed and they’re going to do all those things. At the same time, I don’t see why it doesn’t make great sense."

'Skins Spicy Offseason
Andy and I talked about this on our most recent podcast, but it warrants repeating here: an NFL team going into the season with just Beck and Grossman as starting quarterback options is not only the most insane thing ever, it's also the most Shanahan thing of all-time.

Had Washington not already given Donovan McNabb the kind of extension that makes keeping him in 2011 unbearable, at least the 'Skins could come back with a gimpy, three-headed monster of sorts to compete for the quarterback spot. At this point, though, it seems pretty obvious he's gone, even without having to read between the lines.

It's still possible that the 'Skins could trade for a quarterback and/or pick up someone off of the veteran free agent pile once (when?) the offseason starts.

But whoever that person is, they better understand they're waltzing into a hornet's nest of public controversy that's already buzzing. So, yeah, nothing's really changed in Washington.

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Posted on: May 18, 2011 5:52 pm
Edited on: May 19, 2011 10:13 am

McNabb speaks about wristband, Beck, future

D. McNabb (US Presswire)Posted by Andy Benoit

Last week, reports surfaced that Donovan McNabb refused to wear a wristband in his first season as a Redskin. According to the story, McNabb’s pride carried the day on that decision.

McNabb did not respond to the reports…until now. In an interview with Mike Jones of the Washington Post, McNabb declined to say whether he did indeed decline a wristband or not. But he did characterize the anonymous reports as “amazing”.

“For someone who’s so quiet and really just tries to be the best at what I do, and to be a part of the firestorm every offseason, it’s amazing,” McNabb said. “But I never let that affect what I’m doing. I write goals for myself every season and offseason, and I look to achieve those goals, and they really make you stronger mentally and physically. Things are going to be out there negative, out there about you. Everyone’s going to play the hoopla and what-if. But I can only control what I can control. All I can do is make sure I’m ready when the time comes.”

McNabb was also asked about John Beck boldly saying he plans to be the starter in Washington.
'Skins Spicy Offseason

“John is a great guy. He does a great job preparing himself,” he said. “I’ve known him since he was about 16 years old. I’ve trained with him in Arizona, he went to BYU. He’s done a great job, and I’m sure he’s taking on that role because he’s kind of been given the position, so to speak. He’ll do a good job if that was to happen. But whatever the situation is – if I’m here, if I’m elsewhere -- I’m gonna be ready to go.”

McNabb is not sure where he’ll play in 2011. He intimated that he likes the city of D.C. but, reading between the lines, it’s apparent that McNabb himself is, well, also capable of reading between the lines.

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Posted on: May 17, 2011 1:10 pm
Edited on: May 17, 2011 5:01 pm

John Beck: 'I think I'm the starter'

Posted by Will Brinson

As someone who's written WAY too many posts about Donovan McNabb, I can tell you that Redskins quarterback news just isn't that fun anymore. Until John Beck decided to show up anyway.

The potentially best quarterback on the 'Skins roster come the start of the season had an interview with Adam Schein and Rich Gannon of Sirius XM Radio on Monday and man-oh-man! I mean, it's awesome.

"I've been through crappy situations, and I've always just tried to maintain through this whole thing [that] I believe I'm a starter in the NFL and I'm not gonna let anybody tell me no," Beck said. "And if they try to tell me no, I'm not going to listen to them."

As Dan Steinberg of the Washington Post said, everything about Beck is just "spewing testosterone."

Listen to how he started the interview off when he was asked by Gannon and Schein whether or not he could be 'Skins starter come 2011.

“This is XM Radio, right?” Beck asked [Ed. Note: It was, obvs.] "I basically say, 'Screw the awkwardness.' I'm trying to be the starting quarterback. I'll call whoever, try to set whatever up. If you don't think like a starter and act like a starter, your teammates probably aren’t gonna believe you’re the starter. So I'm thinking I'm the starter."

I mean, he's like the total opposite of Donovan McNabb. And I don't mean that in any sort of ridiculous Bernard Hopkins way, of course -- it's just that McNabb always says the right thing and the smart thing and now Beck's just lobbing his chestnuts up on the table and basically daring Shanahan to roll with him to start the regular season.

I'm still not buying that the Redskins won't acquire some veteran if there's an offseason, simply because they need some stability at the quarterback position, but if Shanahan's adrenaline functions anything like mine, he's getting pretty excited to kick off the John Beck era in Washington.

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