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Need to Know: Five good things from the Shanahan era

Dec 31, 2013, 4:49 AM EDT


Here is what you need to know on this 2013 New Year’s Eve, 250 days before the opening Sunday of the 2014 NFL season.

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The Mike Shanahan era is over. This morning we look at some of the good things the team accomplished since 2010. Tomorrow we’ll turn our attention to the bad.

In chronological order, five good things accomplished under Shanahan:

1. In 2010, the much-hyped return of Donovan McNabb to Philadelphia ended with the Redskins escaping with a 17-12 win over the Eagles. The following week they took on the eventual Super Bowl champion Packers at FedEx Field and came out with an exciting 16-13 OT win.

2. In 2011 they beat the Super Bowl champion Giants twice. They won 28-14 in the season opener at FedEx Field and took at 23-10 victory in the Meadowlands in Week 15.

3. In the sixth round of the 2012 draft Shanahan drafted Alfred Morris, who set the franchise record for rushing yards in a season as a rookie.

4. Mike and Kyle Shanahan developed an offense that took read option and spread elements from the college game and mixed it in the zone blocking in the run scheme to help Robert Griffin III and the Redskins offense light up the league in 2012. The team led the league in yards per play and in rushing yards and Griffin won about every rookie of the year honor there was.

5. That offense helped propel the Redskins on a seven-game winning streak to end the season. That got them the NFC East title, the team’s first since 1999.

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Stat of the day

—Through eight games the Redskins defense was ranked 30th in the league in terms of yards allowed. It finished the season ranked 18th.


—On this date in 1972, the Redskins beat the Dallas Cowboys 26-3 in the NFC title game to advance to Super Bowl VII.

Days until: NFL free agency 70; 2014 NFL Draft 128; 2014 Opening Sunday 250

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  1. rhinochaserdesign - Dec 31, 2013 at 11:20 AM

    A few other positives brought in by Shanahan –

    1. Bringing in drafting/personnel policy that places character over HYPE. Shanahan corrected Snyder’s/Cerrato’s fantasy football style personnel decisions. How is this not at the top of your list, or even mentioned?

    2. Shanahan brought HOPE for many, many Skins fans over the last few years. The Skins were steadily making strides in the right direction until our glory boy QB decided he knows better than the coaches. But, until that happened, Skins fans had HOPE for a bright future.

    Rich, let me write your next article about the 9 High Points of the Griffin era, in chronological order:

    1. Super cool socks (they have superman capes!)
    2. Has a great smile, and is super charismatic
    3. Runs really fast.
    4. Throws perfect balls
    5. That smile, wow. Can do no wrong.
    6. Tries to gut it out in that playoff game (damn Shanahan actually BELIEVED him when he said he’s ok)
    7. Amazingly starts week 1 after ACL surgery. He lives up the his offseason commercials – Operation Patience
    8. Lead Skins to many ‘almost’ wins – if it only weren’t for those damn Shanahans!
    9. Still says all the right things after getting coach fired.

    • Rich Tandler - Dec 31, 2013 at 7:27 PM

      Zero credibility, rhinochaser. No mention of ROY, best passer rating and INT % ever for a rookie, NFC East title. And, ya know, if the $7 million/year coach lets the Boy Wonder QB run the show, well, whose fault is that?

      • kenlinkins - Jan 1, 2014 at 6:04 PM

        As for number 2, most of the Redskin fans I know have hope every year no matter the coach. While that hope may fade fast in some years, Redskins fans in general seem to stand by their team. As a whole, we may sound dumb sometimes to other NFL fans early in the year due to our hope, still show up!

  2. manchild157 - Dec 31, 2013 at 1:44 PM

    I was thinking that you would include that the Redskins were 29th oldest team(I think) in the league when he took over and increasingly grew younger it seemed each year. Oi, don’t know if I can stomach the bad, seems to be so many bad things happened from McNabb on……

    • Rich Tandler - Dec 31, 2013 at 7:24 PM

      I’ll look it up when things settle down but I believe they are back to being one of the five oldest teams in the NFL. If London and Sav are gone that should drop some but they did age since 2011.

      • manchild157 - Jan 1, 2014 at 8:58 AM

        Well dang. I think that happened with the salary cap hit, having to build depth with old guys that would sign cheap. Still am looking forward to your opinion on Head Coach search. Read in the newspaper here in Tidewater the poll of fans top 4 candidates….Grimm, Cowler, Gruden, and Lovie Smith. I really don’t like them going with that route.

      • manchild157 - Jan 2, 2014 at 7:44 AM

        Scratch Lovie Smith.

  3. kenlinkins - Dec 31, 2013 at 3:22 PM

    Rich, Are you sure you can get all the bad into one story? You may have to go to Parts One, Parts Two, and Part Three! I give you credit for starting with the good and not acting like a teenager with daddy’s car for the first time and piling on a fired coach the same day he was let go. Sometime soon, I hope we get all the inside stuff that could not be reported at the time for fear of up-setting King Shanahan (as we all know, his Dog House was no place to be). I have read some items already but most seem to be hatchet jobs from reporters outside of the DC market place who were not given the time of day by the old coaching staff. I do hope the next coach can admit mistakes and allow the fans a better understanding of what really go’s on in the NFL locker rooms and front office. Most of my concerns over the years were the way coach Shanahan refused to give a straight answer to questions if it in any way would question him or place him (or his son) in a poor light (even if the whole world knew he was telling a half truth or a our right lie) as I am sure that made reporting on the Redskins much harder than normal. Last, I would like to place James Franklin’s name in the hat for new Head Coach, Any thoughts on that one? Happy New Year and I hope your wife is feeling better. Archives

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