So, the Redskins have turned a few heads in these past two months. Cerrato and Zorn are out; Allen and Shanahan are in. Dan Snyder seems committed to showing the fans that he has done away with his meddlesome nature (which this blogger believes ended with the re-hiring of Joe Gibbs) and is going to leave the football decisions to his newly hired staff.
As usual, there is a lot of buzz around the Redskins in the offseason. Not all fans are excited about the recent changes. Many don’t see how this is any different than any of the other “sure-fire” fixes the Redskins have done in previous years. Can you blame the fans for being more than a little skeptical?
I recently had someone (who shall remain anonymous) send me this which shows clearly the pulse of skepticism among the fans. What follows is a breakdown of what he sent, and my replies to his points.
—“And could we please not pretend that the Redskins have even a bare hint at having a good year next year? It’s going to be one of the worst, Shanahan has a worse record than the Redskins over the last 9 years”
Shanahan’s worst season came in 1999 when the Broncos went 6-10. This was the year that Elway retired. Snyder purchased the team in ’99, and that year Norv Turner somehow managed a 10-6 record. Shanahan from ’99-’08 went 91-69. The Redskins during the same time period went 76-84.
Shanahan went to the playoffs in four of those years, while the Redskins went three. Both won only one postseason game, but the Broncos went as far as the conference championship, (the game before the Super Bowl) while the Redskins were eliminated in the Divisional round.
In 14 years Shanahan only had 2 seasons where his team finished with a below .500 record (’99 and ’07)
In that same time frame the Redskins finished below .500 a total of 6 times.
During Shanahan’s tenure with the Broncos, his team finished with 10 wins or more 7 times. During that time frame, the Redskins have never had more than 10 wins, and have only had that amount twice (’99 and ’05)
I wouldn’t exactly say he’s done worse than the Redskins.
—“and if it weren’t for Elways’ help that 10th year would have been bad too.”
There is no doubt that John Elway made all the difference in ’97 and ’98. The man had been playing since 1983, and had been to several Super Bowls (’86, ’87 and ’89) but it wasn’t until ’97 and ’98 that he finally won them…under Mike Shanahan.
Sure the Broncos dived the year following Elway’s retirement, finishing 6-10, but they rebounded a year later to finish 11-5. The team cooled in ’01 and ’02 finishing 8-8 and 9-7 respectively (the Redskins went 8-8 under Schottenhiemer and 7-9 under Spurrier those years) but got hot again from ’03 to ’05 finishing 10-6, 10-6, and 13-3.
—“It feels like we got Gibbs back, sure he was fantastic at one time but that time has passed,”
Gibbs had been out of the game for 11 years when he came back. The year after Gibbs retired, the League instituted Free-Agency (something Gibbs had never had to deal with during his tenure previously). Many of the rules had changed, most notably, the play-clock had been reduced from 45 seconds to 40 seconds. This interfered with Gibbs’ love for pre-snap motion.
Shanahan has been unemployed 1 season. He’s won two Super Bowls and has made the playoffs 7 times in the Free Agency era. He was fired by the Broncos after going 9-7, 7-9 and 8-8 in his last three seasons. During that same period, the Redskins went 5-11, 9-7 and 8-8.
—“of course I could be wrong, I hope I am, since he does have GM powers along with the head coaching spot maybe he gets all the tools he needs, who knows. But I doubt it”
It’s too early to tell, but maybe now you see why there is so much excitement. Bruce Allen and Mike Shanahan have been given a blank check for whatever they want or need.
If 2010 goes uncapped as it looks like it’s going to, this could be a good thing for the Redskins. Not because they can go nuts and sign everyone to ridiculous contracts, but because some of the players who would have been too expensive to “get rid of” now will have no impact on a salary cap.
The Redskins can unload anyone they see as “dead weight” and they still have a majority of their draft picks.
We’ll have to wait and see.
End of Message
Now my interpretation of the impact of an “uncapped year” may be wrong, I haven’t seen or heard anything to that effect, but it stands to logic that if there is no cap, then there are no “negative salary cap implications” to releasing a player for 2010.
As I said in my message, we’ll have to wait and see. I don’t think anyone is realistically expecting this year to be much; typical of a new coach on a rebuild. It’s the future that people are most excited about and currently, the future looks a lot brighter now than it did in November.