Washington Redskins: It's Time to Start Questioning Mike Shanahan

Tom NataliCorrespondent IOctober 29, 2012

PITTSBURGH, PA - OCTOBER 28: Head Coach Mike Shanahan yells at Line Judge John Hussey during the third quarter against the Pittsburgh Steelers on October 28, 2012 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)
Joe Sargent/Getty Images

You go 6-10 in Year 1 with Donovan McNabb. The McNabb experiment turned out to be a colossal failure. You go 5-11 the following year with Rex Grossman and John Beck. And now you enter the halfway point of the season at 3-5, on pace for another 6-10 year.

Take Robert Griffin out of the equation. You have records like that and what does that tell you? It tells me that the head coach is not doing his one job: Win football games.

He’s lucky his name is Mike Shanahan, and he’s lucky Robert Griffin has been having such a successful season because if not, this man would be out of a job by now.

Here’s what I credit Shanahan on: He’s drafted well and most of the free-agent signings have been a hit other than OJ Atogwe and Pierre Garcon.

With that said, none of that really matters if you aren’t winning. Would you rather be 5-3 and have Robert Griffin putting up decent numbers? Or would you rather be 3-5 and Griffin becoming the talk of the league?

I choose 5-3. I’m sick of watching half-ass football. That’s what the Redskins play, and yesterday was the embodiment of it.

The execution was lackadaisical, the play-calling was too predictable and the defense remains the worst I’ve ever seen. And then I see DeAngelo Hall being restrained by his teammates after harassing a referee, which eventually led to an ejection.

Now before any major Shanahan supporters freak out with this article, I can’t blame him for the 10 dropped passes that occurred.

I’m also not calling for his job at this moment, but it’s completely realistic to start questioning his ability to win.

Mike Shanahan knows football. He has an eye for talent, but it clearly takes more than that to win. After two-and-a-half years at the helm, his players simply are not responding to him.

So what’s the next step? Do we continue to wait for his plan to finally come to fruition? Or is he just not good enough?

For hypothetical purposes, let’s say the Redskins finish the year at 6-10. That gives the 'Skins 17 wins in the past three seasons under Mike Shanahan’s regime.

In two out of the three years, the defense has been so poor that it is going to set NFL records. This was the kind of defense that Mike Shanahan wanted, and Jim Haslett was the man he wanted to run it.

He gave $36 million dollars to nose tackle Barry Cofield—who is decent at best. He gave $41 million dollars to Pierre Garcon who can’t see the field, and Josh Morgan will earn $7.5 million dollars this season.

He’s relied on NFL journeymen to be regular starters—Will Montgomery, Kory Lichtensteiger, Tyler Polumbus and Madieu Williams. None of which have turned out to be a resounding success.

John Beck is out of a job, and Rex Grossman has been inactive every week so far. Just the two of those names will forever be DC sports punch lines from now on.

6-10 or worse won’t cut it. That’s simply not good enough, which is a shame. Shanahan had tremendous success in Denver and had a Hall of Fame resume until he came to Washington.

He has utilized the draft better than any other coach in the Snyder era, and he’s weeded out the off-the-field issues that have plagued Redskins Park for over a decade.

However, he still hasn’t won.

Let’s take my known Redskins fandom out of the picture. As a journalist (I would like to think of myself as one or at least attempting to be one), I wouldn’t be doing my job if I wasn’t critical of the head coach.

For anyone who thought the playoffs was a realistic goal, I’m sorry to crush your dreams, but it’s not happening.

Mike Shanahan and his staff have eight more games to prove themselves. Otherwise, Dan Snyder might have to look elsewhere and I can’t say that I would blame him.