SBD/December 30, 2013/Franchises

Redskins Fire Mike Shanahan, But Many Believe Team's Problems Go Beyond Coach

Snyder is now in search of his eighth head coach since '99 after Shanahan's firing
The Redskins this morning fired head coach Mike Shanahan, a "widely anticipated move that now leaves the franchise on yet another coaching search -- its seventh since owner Daniel Snyder bought the team" in '99, according to Maske & Jones of the WASHINGTON POST. Shanahan "has completed the fourth season of a five-year contract that pays him" an estimated $7M per season. The Redskins "would have to pay" an estimated $6M in additional money to members of Shanahan’s coaching staff to "dismiss the entire staff because of contracts for some coaches that run beyond this season." Shanahan's hiring in January '10 was "greeted with expectations that he would bring stability and professionalism to a franchise that for years has often lacked both." But four years later, the organization "is in disarray." Meanwhile, the Redskins "could restructure their front office this offseason," but team Exec VP & GM Bruce Allen, "an ally of Snyder who is expected to remain, is considered more of a contract negotiator and salary cap manager than talent evaluator." The Redskins "potentially could hire an executive under Allen to make decisions on personnel unless they add a coach with enough clout to have final say over all player-related matters" (WASHINGTONPOST.com, 12/30). ESPN’s Chris Mortensen reports Snyder “has instructed" Allen to "start putting a list of names together, 10 to 12 names deep" (“SportsCenter,” ESPN, 12/30).

A TEAM IN DISARRAY: In DC, Babb & Maske wrote the Redskins franchise "remains in ruin, and perhaps at Shanahan’s feet is greater destruction than what came before him." Babb & Maske cited approximately 20 Redskins sources as suggesting that a "root cause for the downfall lies with the very power Shanahan insisted on and Snyder granted him four years ago." Shanahan, "like many football coaches, puts high value on the control he has over his team," but he "seemed to become more protective of his authority -- and Snyder’s role -- particularly after" Robert Griffin III's emergence last season. The "push and pull helped to poison Shanahan’s relationship with Griffin, the team’s most important player, and ultimately, with Snyder himself" (WASHINGTON POST, 12/29).

ONUS ON THE OWNER
: In DC, Sally Jenkins writes of the Redskins' loss yesterday to the Giants at MetLife Stadium, "Yet another brief Redskins era ended, under a dirty rain in a stadium full of jeering malcontents wearing garbage bags." The field "looked like an environmental waste site, and so did Mike Shanahan." To "summarize Shanahan’s tenure as coach: the Redskins are so defective, so toxically malfunctioning, that they are beyond the repair of a mere professional." The problem, and it has "been the same problem all along, what’s chronically wrong with the organization, is that the owner would rather be a central figure on a losing team than a marginal figure on a winning one." Snyder "simply can’t live with being a mute observer," and this means "drama instead of success, year after year." The problem is "pervasive, and goes way beyond this particular coach." Shanahan, "once known for consistent professionalism, has been undeniably damaged." But then, "no coach under Snyder, with the exception of the beatified Joe Gibbs, has escaped with reputation un-dinged" (WASHINGTON POST, 12/30). ESPN’s Ron Jaworski said, “I don’t think anyone was surprised by this. It has been a very acrimonious relationship with Dan Snyder and Mike Shanahan over the last year.” He added the Redskins are "the poster child of instability in an organization," but Snyder has "been the most consistent part" (“SportsCenter,” ESPN, 12/30).
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