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Mike Shanahan is facing the reality of a third losing season out of four.
The collective coaching approach starts with the man at the top, and head coach Mike Shanahan looks like a man without a plan. To be more accurate, he resembles a man lacking a contingency plan.
When things begin to go wrong for the Redskins, there is no sense of calm emanating from the sideline. The play-calling becomes unnecessarily hectic and risky, particularly on offense.
This team seems to need little encouragement to abandon what is working. It can happen from week to week, as it did on defense.
Coordinator Jim Haslett ditched a press-based coverage scheme for one that gave wideouts like Simpson a healthy cushion on the outside.
It can also happen during games, as it did in Minnesota. The younger Shanahan went away from the run too early, even though Washington was still firmly in control.
This lack of composure in both play-calling and on-field discipline is an indictment of the Shanahan era. The result is a 3-6 team that has the talent to be better.
Last season, Shanahan had the answers to turn that around. But as The Washington Times' Zac Boyer points out, there may be too many questions for him to find answers for this time: "This year, the questions are numerous, broad, and affect all three phases. Why can’t the offense sustain drives – and how come the defense does? Why are there so many miscues on special teams, especially on punt coverage?"
Shanahan needs a definite plan for recovery, and he needs it fast.