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What a difference a year has made in Washington. After coach Mike Shanahan and quarterback Robert Griffin III led the Redskins to a 10-6 season and a playoff berth in Griffin’s rookie year in 2012, Washington is 3-11 this year. Prior to the team’s Week 15 game against the Atlanta Falcons, Shanahan made the decision to bench Griffin, which, at the least, drew more attention to Shanahan.
Though Griffin may be out of a starting job for the last three weeks of this regular season, it is Shanahan whose job is truly in jeopardy going forward to 2014. The Redskins have the worst record among the NFL teams who have not yet fired their head coach this season, and Shanahan is likely to be a scapegoat of the team’s failure.
Shanahan may be a two-time Super Bowl champion head coach from his tenure with the Denver Broncos, but he can no longer ride the coattails of that success. He is 24-38 as the head coach in Washington, a record that should be considered unacceptable four seasons into his tenure.
Multiple controversial handlings of Washington’s quarterback situation, nonetheless, may ultimately be what do him in. Shanahan first met criticism in last year’s divisional round playoff game versus the Seattle Seahawks when he continued to play Griffin despite a knee injury, which eventually led to Griffin suffering a torn ACL.
Though Griffin made it back in time to start Week 1, he has not been nearly as successful this season as he was as a rookie. But Griffin should still be considered the franchise quarterback going into 2014, and Shanahan’s decision to bench him now might not only create a rift within the team, but also with ownership and with Washington fans.
As the Redskins have lost one game after another, it is has become clear that the situation in Washington is a damaged one.
Firing Shanahan might not be an easy move for Washington to make, as it will still have to pay him $7 million next season, according to National Football Post’s Aaron Wilson. That said, it seems as though irreparable damage has been done in Washington, and a new coaching structure is needed to turn Griffin and his teammates back to their winning ways of last season.