Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Shanaplan!

The players still believe in Mike Shanahan, even Hunter Smith who was recently cut. They believe that Shanahan and Allen will eventually rebuild this team into a winner. Let's look at what they've done so far:

This off season season the Redskins lost:

QB Jason Campbell- Traded for a 4th round pick in 2012.
RB Ladell Betts- Signed with New Orleans, hasn't played a big role for them.
OT Chris Samuels- Retired due to injuries.
OG Randy Thomas- Also retired due to injuries.
RB Rock Cartwright- Hanging on with Oakland, not a huge role there.
DT Cornelius Griffin- Retired from football. Bought into an insurance company.
CB Fred Smoot- Still looking for an NFL job. Might open some franchise waffle houses in the DC area.
DE Renaldo Wynn- Playing in the UFL

There's not a lot of quality there that we lost. He got rid of some older guys who didn't fit the system. FWIW he also cut Devin Thomas who is young, but was a distraction and wasn't getting it done. Haynesworth of course is on suspension though Adam Shefter of ESPN seems to think the Redskins can get a 3rd rounder for him next offseason. (One can only hope!)

What did the Redskins get?

QB Donovan McNabb- Quality starter. Not an elite QB but someone who will gain more familiarity with the system and hopefully get better as more talent is added.
OT Jammal Brown- 2 time Pro Bowl left tackle. He's been injured this season but he rightfully deserves a spot on the team next year.
RB Ryan Torain- Not especially fast, but someone who is getting it done behind a shoddy offensive line. Shanny thinks he's got elite back potential.
DT Ma'ake Kemoeatu- Strong nose tackle. Hopefully he's not pressed into starting action too often but he's great at occupying blockers and is incredibly strong.
CB Phillip Buchanon- He never lived up to his limitless potential, but he's been very good in Washington.
DE Adam Carriker- Very strong defensive end. Never panned out as a defensive tackle but as a 3-4 end he may become great.
DE Vonnie Holliday- Revered veteran, knows the 3-4. Brought in for veteran leadership.

No question that they lost some very good players to injuries and retirement last year. But they brought in more than they shipped out. It's hard to argue that the new additions are the reason for our present predicament. Rebuilding a franchise is damned hard work, and it takes patience. Remember that Shanahan has done this before.


In 1994 the Broncos finished 7-9. They'd gone to the playoffs in '93, but backed in as a 9-7 team. They'd been 24-24 in the three years under Wade Phillips. Something had to happen, and Broncos owner Pat Bowlen hired Mike Shanahan away from the San Fransisco 49ers where he served as offensive coordinator and won that year's Super Bowl.

The 1994 Denver Broncos had some pieces of a winner. They featured QB John Elway, LT Gary Zimmerman, TE Shannon Sharpe and FS Steve Atwater. Two hall of famers (Elway and Zimmerman) and two possible hall of famers to be. But they were desperately thin. They had no depth, no weapons on offense. The 25th ranked defense in the league. They had some star power, but it was going to be a lot of work to make them into champions. Shanahan got right to work.

Shanahan didn't have a 1st, 2nd, or 3rd round pick but he managed to draft the franchise's career rushing leader in the 6th round. RB Terrell Davis from Georgia. He also nabbed TE Byron Chamberlain who eventually made the pro bowl.

Shanahan also brought in the franchise's all time receiving leader an undrafted WR named Rod Smith a 25 year old from Missouri Southern. Shanahan also brought in WR Eddie McCaffrey, G Mark Schlereth, DT Michael Dean Perry, SS Tyrone Braxton, DL Mike Lodish, and DB Lionel Washington. He also started backup C Tom Nalen.

The 1995 Broncos went 8-8 but there was still work to be done.

Shanahan drafted LB John Mobley and FB Detron Smith. He made a huge addition in LB Bill Romanowski, quite possibly the meanest SOB in the history of mean SOB's.

That year the Broncos went 13-3 and lost by a field goal to the Jacksonville Jaguars in the divisional playoffs.

The rest is history. With an intelligent team building approach the Broncos continued to add talent and depth. In 1997 they added OT Tony Jones and drafted long time Broncos G Dan Niel and DL Trevor Price. They went 12-4 and won the Superbowl.

Same story in 1998. They had a decent draft, added some role players and with basically the same team and depth up and down the roster they went 14-2 and won a second consecutive world title.

Losing Elway was tough for the Franchise and they had some growing pains trying to find another quarterback, but the Broncos went 91-69 from 2000-2008. In that span, they went to the playoffs 4 times including 3 consecutive trips from 2003-2005.

Shanahan knows a thing or two about team building, he's got a General Manager in Bruce Allen who's had some success as well and excels at contract negotiation. This plan should work, but it will take time. When Shanahan took over the Redskins they were an absolute mess. 4-12 with no depth on the team and a lack of direction. The franchise had been crippled by 18 years of front office incompetence.

We just have to have faith he's the right man to rebuild our once proud franchise. He's certainly got the background.

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