A Burgundy and Gold Obsession
Game 12 - Philly. No biggie. Just a season in the balance ...

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  1. #1
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    Default Shanahan's Personnel Decisions

    Shanahan's first year in Washington is beginning to look like a continuation of Gibbs II. The discipline and order is back. The players for the most part are giving 100% effort. But the decisions taken on the personnel side continue to hinder the longer term recovery of the franchise. Most of the wounds here are self-inflicted.

    Starting off with the McNabb controversy, I just don't understand what has taken place. Donovan McNabb has been in the NFL for 10 plus years. There are scouting books on him in 31 other cities that are updated annually.

    And yet the Redskins, installing a new offense, went out and traded two draft picks for McNabb and after 8 games are ready to admit that his skill set perhaps doesn't fit what the team is trying to accomplish.

    This is the same kind of kick in the gut we got in 1994 when a new coach named Norv Turner drafted Heath Shuler and talked about him growing into a second Troy Aikman. Joe Theismann and then Lawrence Taylor did double takes after watching the kid throw the ball.

    What information was not available on McNabb or was missed during the due diligence process? McNabb has a strong arm and is a playmaker - completing throws on the run and extending drives with his feet. He is not a timing passer in the mold of Phillip Rivers or Peyton Manning. Kyle Shanahan seemingly wants a clone of Matt Schaub but who in their right minds would look at Donovan and Matt and start to write down similarities in their style of play?

    On defense, the club has been able to get turnovers. And that as much as anything has contributed to the 4-4 start. Notice in the Lions game how a neutral or negative edge in the turnover count leads to a double digit loss for this team.

    But what it hasn't done is match scheme to personnel any better than has been done on the other side of the ball. Orakpo is playing well but he is versatile enough to be effective in either a 4-3 or 3-4. Landry is a natural strong safety and Haslett did put him back there but then again so would most defensive coordinators in the NFL not named Greg Blache.

    Once again, I am mystified how Shanahan could look at offseason film of teams like NE and Pittsburgh and then decide whenever he gets his next coaching gig he is going to run a 3-4.

    That decision marginalized the Redskins two best defensive linemen, Albert Haynesworth and Andre Carter. Haynesworth got paid for either sitting in the press box or on the bench for the first month of the season and Carter looked really out of place as a stand up OLB.

    Now both players are situation substitutes based on down and yardage.

    And in those packages the defense morphs back into a more traditional front in re the responsibilities of both palyers.

    In terms of some of the other spots on the roster, the Redskins took a gamble on guys that were injured in 2009 and were hoping to bounce back in 2010 with a new team.

    In a year with limited free agency, it was a decent gamble.

    Ryan Torain and Adam Carriker are both contributors now and add much needed youth at RB and DE.

    The club seems to have missed however on Maake Kemoeatu, Jammal Brown and Josh Bidwell. Bidwell is on IR. Kemoeatu has been on the field less and less each week as Haslett has gone to other looks. Brown is sharing the RT job with Stephon Heyer.

    All of this leads me back to the argument made over the years as to whether a team can win with the Head Coach being responsible for both personnel and coaching.

    George Allen is here and while I don't see him as being a 'dupe' or straw man the way that Vinny was for years it does seem clear that the major decisions are being made by Shanahan.

    Allen's footprints may be on the signing of Buchanon as the #3 corner or in concert with Haslett the trade for Carriker, but the McNabb decision and the decisions that were made on Haynesworth, etc. seem programmed by the coach.

    On an aging team rebounding from 4-12 one has to question whether those picks traded for veterans in retrospect might have been better used on younger players. Trent Williams as I have posted before was a great START on the OL. Carriker may be a piece on the DL. But given the state of the other 4 positions on the OL and the move to the 3-4 on the DL, this club needed to find 5 or perhaps even 6 new performers. That wasn't going to happen in one year.

    At 4-4 and with the second best turnover ratio in the league, my concern is that over the last 8 games this team could finish with a thud, especially if as in the Lions game the Redskins end up committing more turnovers and face defensive and offensive lines that are simply bigger and/or more talented.

    The acquisition of McNabb was key in my mind for the rebuilding process because if the club could get him on the field, enjoy some success in the passing game in 2010 and then resign him for the next 3 years, then in 2011 the front office and staff could focus more narrowly on the OL/DL and RB/WR positions in free agency and the draft.

    To have to start over at quarterback in 2011 will have meant largely wasting Year 1. That #2 pick coming early at #37 overall could have been another OL or DL starter for us. Ditto for the #3 pick in 2011.
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    Florida Atlantic

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    I think 11-years of success in a West Coast Offense was what attracted the Shanahans to McNabb...just a hunch.

    EDIT: there are similarities between McNabb and Elway also, not to mention McNabb is known for his work-ethic, and Shanahan likes hard workers.
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    Florida Atlantic

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    RE: the 3-4; nobody thought this transition was going to happen overnight. Shanahan may have been in discussions with Haslett for the past year, while both were out of coaching, talking about what they wanted to do. We've got the dominant OLB/edge-rusher and what we thought was going to be a dominant NT in Haynesworth, the two most important pieces in a 3-4 defense. The rest will be a building process. Landry has looked downright dominant in the 3-4, and outside of Rogers catching the ball, our secondary has looked pretty damn good in the past few weeks.

    My point is that its a little early to pass judgment on the 3-4...gotta give that one some time. Also, Carter was one of our best DL last year, but he's also 31 years-old. He might have been on the way out anyway...
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    Mike Shanahan's offense from Denver differs from what we are seeing with Kyle Shanahan. Kyle's offense is bigger risk/bigger reward and to run effectively IMO means you have to have even better skill players at WR and RB than the Redskins do.

    McNabb played in a WCO but one where Reid had Donovan getting the ball out of his hands more quickly, going with the first read much of the time and using #5's athleticism in getting outside of the defense to make plays.

    We aren't seeing that here.

    McNabb is getting into trouble because he is now being asked to drop back 5-7 steps and survey the field in segments and read 2/3 levels and then make a throw.

    Not only is that more difficult for McNabb as a decision-maker on a philosophical level it is also more difficult because the Redskins OL is not strong enough to support a pass offense based on those deeper drops.

    Against the Lions I saw plays where Lichtensteiger and Heyer were waving at guys as they were running by them on the way to the qb.

    But Kyle Shanahan does not run slants and crosses. He doesn't use the RB out of the backfield very often. He throws the ball to Cooley but not enough IMO.

    You can't survive in the NFL hoping to make ONE play of 50 plus yards a week for a TD or long gainer and then expecting the defense to make that hold up with turnovers and/or scores on special teams.

    The turnovers on defense and the performance of Banks on special teams has really masked how little this offense has contributed in 7 of the first 8 games.

    DeAngelo Hall by himself in the opener and against Chicago won the games on the strength of turnovers by the opposition.

    Without his scores, the Redskins put up 6 points against Dallas and 10 against Chicago.

    Those are awful numbers in ANY offense.

    Look at Cleveland and Buffalo. Even they are scoring more points on offense.
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    James Madison

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    Still recovering from the Norv/Shuler comment, hang on...

    (how do you all uncurl from the fetal position?)

    BT, good post. My major concern is that Shanahan (either of them) does not seem particularly adaptive. I completely agree with you that outside of the Houston game, McNabb has not looked good, nor has the offense as a whole. Seems to me that in the Detroit game, for instance, when our line couldn't have blocked my 13 year old daughter, Kyle would have called some short screens or slants to slow the pass rush down. Didn't see a whole lot of that, IIRC.

    Our line isn't great, as detailed here; our skill positions aren't great either, so why not play to strength of your QB, who has at least proven to be am above-average (in some cases outstanding) NFL starter?

    Then again, what the hell do I know?

    (yeah, I linked to my own blog. So what? )
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    OLine. DLine. Secondary.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bulldog's Twin View Post
    George Allen is here
    OK, who gave Dan Snyder a Ouija board for Chanukah last year?
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    I don't care who plays Qb behind our Oline....then result won't be pretty. Mcnabb has struggled at times but no more than any other Qb would have under these conditions.
    Our best Olineman is a rookie. The other 4 lineman are decent back up players but I couldn't see any of the other teams out there likely to trade anything of value for thier sevices.
    Is there any great mystery as to why we can't move the chains running or throwing? I don't think so. It doesn't matter who plays qb or rb if the Oline plays poorly. A pocket passer is going to get crushed when there isn't a pocket. A mobile Qb is the only hope.
    Of all the mistakes that have been made in the last 10 yrs or so (and there are many) none are more glaring then the neglect of gathering better talent on the Oline. That problem isn't going to go away in one half of a season.
    Way back when- we had Jansen and Samuels to anchor the Oline and there were glimpses of a potent offense. At that time yes they should have groomed a young qb.
    As for the defense? I'm fairly impressed... they don't have all of the pieces yet and have played against some of the more potent offenses in the league thus far. I'd give them a C+ at the halfway point. If the offense could move the chains alot better in the second half those yards allowed would look alot better.
    That all being said I believe the bye week will help alot. Perhaps the extra week of preparation will help get better production out of the Oline. They aren't talent laden on the Oline but they could still play alot better.
    Looking back at things it's not all that bad thus far. The loss to the Rams and Lions doesn't hurt so much when we realise those two teams are playing some pretty good football. They aren't the creampuffs that they appeared at the start of the season.
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    BT raises what I think is the right question: what the heck was/is the personnel strategy? now...I'll concede I arrive at this from a bias....I wanted the roster blown up and the to team engage in a methodical 2-3 yr rebuild. not to be. so what's the gameplan? all this activity with McNabb makes no sense in the bigger scheme of things. They made the commitment...they traded chunks of the future.....what are they doing/thinking?

    - focus on the lines? yup.

    - get younger? yup.

    - groom the long-term answer at QB? yup.

    I can only see this being done fundamentally through the draft with a cheap FA signing here and there...or..as with the Pats...a big FA signing/trade at minimal cost all the while using the draft to generate quantity in low 1st/2nd rounds. partly inherited...but it seems the Skins are perpetually trapped in a numbers game and instead of sucking it up for a year to reestablish a solid starting point, they continually persue a hybrid of personnel strategies that doesn't add up coherently over the long haul.
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  9. #9
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    After the Broncos ended their Super Bowl run, Shanahan never blew up the team to start over from 2-14 or 3-13. He was always looking to re-tool on the fly.

    So I think a valid question that Fan Since 62 has brought up is whether the current Redskins' regime has what it takes to show the patience that is often required to make the necessary moves.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bulldog's Twin View Post
    ....whether the current Redskins' regime has what it takes to show the patience that is often required to make the necessary moves.

    you're on a roll today/tonight! knowing the necessary moves (i.e., having a strategy), having the right strategy and sticking to it....I can't tell what they're doing.

    oh well....sit back and enjoy the ride! at least one thing is clear....Shanahan hsa changed the culture. that was a critical first step.
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  11. #11

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    James Madison

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    I think one of a couple of things happened, or perhaps several of them together. Shan-Allen I suspect thought the talent on the roster was maybe a little better than it really is. I'm guessing they thought with e addition of McNabb, we could contend for a playoff spot right away. And actually, they may have been right about that. We are in the middle of things for a wildcard spot.

    Additionally, I think they peed a little when McNabb became available. I suspect that Shanahan was convinced he could mold Donovan into the type of QB he wanted. As a side note, it is fascinating this season seeing who is more responsible for the Eagles failings, McNabb or Reid. Looks like neck and neck at this point.

    I'm guessing when they got McNabb, their plan changed somewhat, and they put all their chips in, trying to win now. They did not draft a developmental QB, and the dramatic improvements they made were shooting for a playoff spot, not rebuilding. At the mid point of the season (still time to change things), the McNabb trade looks bad, as does the Brown trade (being replaced by Heyer consistently for injury or incompetence is not a good thing).

    Here's the crappy thing. If we finish the season with 7 or more wins, I think they will keep going down this road. And a lot of fans, possibly myself included,will support that, because we are getting close. If we finish with only two more wins the rest of the way, I don't think they will have much of a choice but to start over. And a lot will be determined by how the McNabb benching shakes out.

    Come to think of it, an awful lot of our future depends on how McNabb responds to being benched.
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    I find it ironic that so many fans say they hope Shanny and Allen have the patience to develop the team and start making the right moves in the draft....we're only at the halfway point guys of the first season.
    Its a tad early to make any real conclusions as to who or what were good moves or bad ones IMHO. We the fans have the luxury of changing our opinions on the fly. The media and the fans normally give a coaching staff a 1 yr honeymoon period. Coaches get 3 yrs tops before the fans and media turn things upside down.
    That being said LOL, I don't understand why Galloway is even on the roster. Terrance Miles is on the practice squad and I believe he should get some looks. Its not as though Galloway is contributing a whole lot and hes way past his prime.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Goaldeje View Post
    I think one of a couple of things happened, or perhaps several of them together. Shan-Allen I suspect thought the talent on the roster was maybe a little better than it really is. I'm guessing they thought with e addition of McNabb, we could contend for a playoff spot right away. And actually, they may have been right about that. We are in the middle of things for a wildcard spot.

    Additionally, I think they peed a little when McNabb became available. I suspect that Shanahan was convinced he could mold Donovan into the type of QB he wanted. As a side note, it is fascinating this season seeing who is more responsible for the Eagles failings, McNabb or Reid. Looks like neck and neck at this point.

    I'm guessing when they got McNabb, their plan changed somewhat, and they put all their chips in, trying to win now. They did not draft a developmental QB, and the dramatic improvements they made were shooting for a playoff spot, not rebuilding. At the mid point of the season (still time to change things), the McNabb trade looks bad, as does the Brown trade (being replaced by Heyer consistently for injury or incompetence is not a good thing).

    Here's the crappy thing. If we finish the season with 7 or more wins, I think they will keep going down this road. And a lot of fans, possibly myself included,will support that, because we are getting close. If we finish with only two more wins the rest of the way, I don't think they will have much of a choice but to start over. And a lot will be determined by how the McNabb benching shakes out.

    Come to think of it, an awful lot of our future depends on how McNabb responds to being benched.
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    nice post. so you're in the "the strategy has morphed" camp?

    perhaps, as fans, we should put aside aspirations for Championships and just use "progress" as the standard for the next few years? I know for me that would make watching games a whole lot easier.
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    Quote Originally Posted by fansince62 View Post
    nice post. so you're in the "the strategy has morphed" camp?

    perhaps, as fans, we should put aside aspirations for Championships and just use "progress" as the standard for the next few years? I know for me that would make watching games a whole lot easier.
    Count me in as well. I'm enjoying watching the games alot more with the hope that unlike last several seasons past....they are moving in the right direction Nothing can be as bad as the last 2 seasons
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    Marine Corps Virginia

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    I need to do likewise. Flawed decisions or not, there is no question we have made some progress this season, and there's no reason to believe they can't keep making that progress.
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    After the McNabb incident, I've come to the conclusion that our coaches are either of the "My way or the highway" mentality or could perhaps be slightly unhinged

    We spent a couple of decent draft picks on McNabb. I find it hard to believe that the coaches didn't look at film and decide that he was the best we could get. If we were going to serious re-build mode I would have thought they would have kept JC and the picks

    So the publicly dog McNabb now is puzzling to say the least
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cycleans View Post
    I find it ironic that so many fans say they hope Shanny and Allen have the patience to develop the team and start making the right moves in the draft....we're only at the halfway point guys of the first season.
    Its a tad early to make any real conclusions as to who or what were good moves or bad ones IMHO. We the fans have the luxury of changing our opinions on the fly. The media and the fans normally give a coaching staff a 1 yr honeymoon period. Coaches get 3 yrs tops before the fans and media turn things upside down.
    That being said LOL, I don't understand why Galloway is even on the roster. Terrance Miles is on the practice squad and I believe he should get some looks. Its not as though Galloway is contributing a whole lot and hes way past his prime.


    Quote Originally Posted by fansince62 View Post
    nice post. so you're in the "the strategy has morphed" camp?

    perhaps, as fans, we should put aside aspirations for Championships and just use "progress" as the standard for the next few years? I know for me that would make watching games a whole lot easier.
    Quote Originally Posted by Boone View Post
    I need to do likewise. Flawed decisions or not, there is no question we have made some progress this season, and there's no reason to believe they can't keep making that progress.

    These three quotes pretty much distill the perspective I have on this. The Redskins had developed a multitude of deep problems in many areas over a long period of time and overcoming them isn't a "quick-fix" affair. I took the perspective before the season that the improvement would be gradual-first a cultural/attitude change that was necessary before any other improvements could be implemented which seems to have happened-followed by a triage-like approach to problem solving-new LT, new(or different) QB...etc.

    Fansince your posts about the strategy having changed touched on something I've wondered about-and actually speculated about in a post or two on other threads.

    Bruce Allen and Mike Shanahan were hired to do a job-but what exactly was the job they were hired to do? Was it to rebuild the team from scratch over a 2-3 year window or was it more along the lines of turning the team into a winning football team as expeditiously as possible because the FO was under increasingly uncomfortable pressure from an intensly loyal and disgruntled fan base? My personal instinct is to lean toward the latter even though I'm not privy-as none of us are-to the actual "job description" they were given when hired. They are employees, after all, and employees are given a job description when they're hired detailing what's expected of them-basically what they were hired to do. The reason I tend to lean toward this view is that it makes some of the things that have happened make more sense if the scenario is one of "turn this thing around quickly.' The questions over personnel matters-which is the topic of this thread-then become questions of methodology as opposed to questions of strategy. Those questions then legitimately fall on the GM and coaching staff but could simply be the application of an "it worked in the past so it should work now"-which itself becomes part of the debate.


    Boone-one improvement you can look at is this:

    Last season after 8 games we stood at 2-6. 0-2 in the NFCE-and having played, with the exceptions of the Giants and Eagles, no teams of real note as "power teams" during the 2009 season (Rams, Lions, Chiefs, Bucs, Panthers)

    This season after 8 games we're at 4-4, having beaten both the Cowboys and the Eagles (in Philly no less) to stand at 2-0 in the NFCE with wins over the top two teams on the NFCN-Packers and Bears and narrow losses to the Texans and Colts who both look like possible playoff contenders. I'd call that progress, my friend.
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    I'm giving it a 2-4 year window. Looking for improvement in all areas. Redskins, you're on the clock.

 

 

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