Going into the offseason, Redskins fans were clamoring for a quarterback. Too many times had the defense kept them in games, only to have their efforts thwarted by the leader of their offense.
Mike Shanahan had staked his reputation on Rex Grossman and John Beck, but they couldn't carry that weight. He shouldn't have provided such a memorable quote to the press, but he was correct to not reveal what a lot of people were thinking: There wasn't a quarterback in that year's draft whom he felt was worth pursuing.
There was no chance of getting Cam Newton, and Shanahan didn't want Blaine Gabbert. Andy Dalton may have ended up going to the Pro Bowl, but going into the draft there were concerns about his pocket awareness and ability to make multiple reads.
Instead, Shanahan traded down and finished with 12 draft picks, all of whom contributed to the 2011 campaign. Not only was this necessary in the wake of the Dan Snyder/Vinny Cerrato debacle, it also showed that Shanahan was unwilling to bow to external pressures.
The 2012 draft showed that if he finds a player he believes to be worthy, Shanahan will make the move.
In 2012, Robert Griffin III was that player, and Shanahan wasn't willing to risk losing him. It was a move that a lot of people judged to be a last throw of the dice, but that ignores the fact that Griffin is a better fit for Shanahan's offense than any other offense in the NFL.
NFL coaches are hired to make hard decisions, and Shanahan makes them. He stood up and declared Griffin to be his guy, then he declared him the starter. He trusted himself and his board when he took Josh LeRibeus, and again when he took Kirk Cousins.
After Snyder had finished playing fantasy football with the draft picks, the one thing the Redskins needed from their new head coach was a plan, and Shanahan's determination to follow it has been admirable.
With a little bit of luck, the results should be next.