Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Mike Shanahan again couldn't get his players to respond.
For the third game in a row, Mike Shanahan couldn't get his players to show enough fight. It is worrying to watch just how early Shanahan's players appear to be throwing the towel in when things go wrong.
The underachieving head coach now can't escape the pressure on his job, as ESPN's John Keim points out:
Afterward, coach Mike Shanahan said, “It was one of the poorest performances since I've been here.” Yes it was. That's what is disturbing. They had a lot to prove after two losses and a week of controversy. A win was needed, but really they just needed to play well. They did not. Shanahan is an accomplished NFL coach and a smart man, but he should be coaching for his job over the next five weeks. One player said what bothered him is that they're letting the coaches down. Many privately feel strongly about having the right person in charge. Great. Then win. Otherwise, changes will be made -- and no one can say owner Dan Snyder acted irrationally.
Keim is right about that last part, because it is the psychological manner of these defeats that is more concerning than the scheming that goes into them.
Coordinators were trying different things to outwit the 49ers. Defensively, Haslett fielded a dime defense featuring safety Brandon Meriweather at linebacker. It gave Washington more athletes on the field to spy Kaepernick.
On offense, Kyle Shanahan tried outnumbering rugged defensive end Justin Smith in the running game by placing both offensive tackles, Williams and Polumbus, over him.
Both schemes were sound on a conceptual level, but neither worked in practice. When decent schemes consistently fail it is because they simply cannot mask such an obvious lack of talent.
That lack of talent is down to Shanahan and the men at the top. They have remade this roster and done it poorly.
Only a clean sweep of the last five games should save Shanahan now. But it won't come unless he gives his players a reason to improve their attitude and demeanour.