Mike Shanahan has reportedly accepted the Washington Redskins' offer to become their next head coach, agreeing to a five-year deal worth $7 million annually.
So, what now? Who goes? Who stays? More importantly, what will happen to embattled quarterback Jason Campbell?
Even money says that Campbell is out. Shanahan will want to bring in a new guy to mold, and Campbell has been far too ineffective to justify giving him a new contract. Besides, the kid could probably use a change of scenery.
It's possible that the Skins will target either Sam Bradford or Colt McCoy in this year's draft as either would fit the prototype that Shanahan loves. Bradford's shoulder is a concern, but in Shanahan's system, the quarterback is protected by two elements: a good offensive line and a solid running game.
As long as whomever he chooses can make that short to intermediate throw that is so key in a Shanahan run offense, then he should be fine.
The offensive line is another animal altogether.
Plagued by injuries and poor play, the line could definitely use some retooling. I'm not sure where you would need to start to get things going in the right direction, but this is for sure: they need a better offseason training regimen.
The line was piecemeal throughout the season, and that meant that guys never really gelled.
If the line is going to get better, it will start with getting guys healthy first and figuring out who's dispensable second.
The run game should be fine—for now.
Clinton Portis is due a large sum of money this season, and he fits the running style that his new coach likes. Portis played for Shanahan in Denver and should have no trouble picking up any of the old schemes.
Portis is closer to the end of his career than the beginning, and the Skins could be looking to find a relative steal in the draft without having to pay a pretty penny in free agency.
That said, if he's looking to bring back some old blood, Mike Bell of the Saints will be a free agent at the end of the season, and he ran the ball well for Shanahan in 2006 as a Bronco.
The arrival of Shanahan in the NFC should be interesting as the East is loaded with teams that all have Super Bowl aspirations and the players in place to get them there. However, the Skins have a long way to go to get where their new coach is likely to want them to be, and that means 2010 will be as much of a crap shoot as 2009.
Even so, it will still likely bring a more focused and disciplined squad than this season did. By virtue of subtraction, the Skins already look like a much better team. Zorn was simply not the right guy for the job and that showed in the overall effort, or lack thereof, of his team.
I expect to see a bit of housecleaning in Washington once Mike Shanahan is officially introduced, and that will be a very good thing.
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