Lost in the shuffle of player analysis and reaction to the newest additions to the Washington Redskins in last week's NFL draft was head coach Mike Shanahan's address to the media as seen on the team's official website, Redskins.com.
To the surprise of no one who follows the team, Shanahan was optimistic as he stressed the importance of adding depth to the secondary but cautioned, "We still have a lot of work to do."
The Redskins made seven selections in the 2013 NFL draft—adding four defensive players and three on offense. Coach Shanahan expressed a positive outlook with the team's draft picks, while in another breath downplayed the overall draft experience.
"I felt good about the guys we did get," Shanahan mused. "What it does is it gives guys a chance to compete against one another."
There has always been a side to coach Shanahan that, upon closer examination, makes him sound more like a politician than a head coach of an NFL franchise. On the one hand he can be bold, decisive and a risk-taker—going with his gut instinct instead of what the facts presented reveal.
In doing so, we hear the head coach, as he said in his post-draft press conference, confirming or reaffirming what any fan of the Redskins wants to hear.
"We're a better football team today," he exclaimed.
Then there is the subdued and nonchalant coach Shanahan who, when pressed, will act and speak cautiously as not to offend anyone or stir up the pot. More specifically, Shanahan likes to choose his words wisely should they ever come back to haunt him.
Such was true in the fact that, just moments after declaring the selection of safeties Phillip Thomas and Bacarri Rambo added depth to the secondary and would allow them to fill a need for an "interchangeable" player at the safety position, he spoke of the draft selections as a whole:
"At the end of the day, I had a great feeling about our draft. You don’t have great feelings all the time... We were lucky enough in this draft to get the majority of the guys we wanted and that doesn't happen very often because a lot of the time your position needs just doesn't coincide with the way guys come off the board. So overall I was pleased.”
One area where Shanahan has been consistent is his desire to have some depth on a depth chart, while adding that competition within the Redskins is one of the keys to winning.
"We love competition." Shanahan said with a grin. "When you’ve got competition it doesn’t matter if you are a first-year player, second-year player, or a 15-year player. You’ve got to go out there and prove it every day, every game each week. To me, when you have healthy competition it gives you a chance to get better.”
The Redskins will certainly have depth and competition in the secondary this year with the addition of draft picks David Amerson, Phillip Thomas and Bacarri Rambo. This three draft picks will join starters DeAngelo Hall and Josh Wilson along with free agent E.J. Biggers.
The Redskins are hoping to have Chase Minnifield and Brandon Meriweather return from injuries suffered last season.
No denying the added depth in the secondary. How well they perform is still to be determined.
That is just one of the things I like about Mike Shanahan. He has a level of optimism that is not arrogant or boasting, and he has the ability to motivate and push players in a inconspicuous way, allowing them to prove themselves and earn a position in the starting lineup.
Despite other analysts' post-draft grades, I think the Washington Redskins earned a solid B.
Coach Shanahan has left plenty of room for players to prove themselves and earn a spot on the Redskins' 53-man roster for the beginning of the regular season on September 9 on national television against an NFC East rival, the Philadelphia Eagles.