Washington Redskins: Let's Fire Mike Shanahan Now

Josh McCainSenior Writer INovember 9, 2010

ST. LOUIS - SEPTEMBER 26: Head coach Mike Shanahan of the Washington Redskins yells at an official against the St. Louis Rams at the Edward Jones Dome on September 26, 2010 in St. Louis, Missouri.  The Rams beat the Redskins 30-16.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

I'm sure my sarcasm doesn't come through in the headline, but this is what a lot of fans are yelling when they call into local sports talk radio stations in the Washington, D.C. area.

These detractors' scathing remarks come on the heels of John Feinstein explaining that Coach Shanahan used racial code words to describe quarterback Donovan McNabb and that Shanahan's conduct was worthy of a firing.

First off, let me dispel some of these conspiracy theories out there about the Shanahans (Mike and offensive coordinator Kyle) and McNabb.

1. McNabb's benching had absolutely nothing to do with race. The NFL is made up of many different ethnicities, and 75 percent of the players are black.  If the Shanahan are racist, they certainly picked the wrong sport to coach.

2. Kyle wanted to put in his buddy Rex Grossman and make him the star of the offense.  Well, there is no evidence that Kyle and Rex are "boys;" and, if that were the case, Rex was signed before the team traded for McNabb. If the Shanahans wanted Rex to be the starter, why trade away two draft picks for McNabb?

3. McNabb doesn't understand the playbook.  While he may not have mastered the playbook just yet, McNabb played under a different system for 11 seasons and will get it soon. If McNabb is here next season, he'll undoubtedly be improved.

Now, on to the idiots out there who want to fire the coach eight games into his first season, when he is 4-4 and only two games out of the division lead.

Sure, Shanahan messed up with the McNabb benching. It was bad enough going into the break after losing to the Detroit Lions, but the absolutely worst thing that could be done was benching McNabb, no matter how poorly he played.

If there is one thing the D.C. media loves talking about more than the Redskins winning is a quarterback controversy. With the bye week, that's all that's been talked about for two weeks now.

Even with that mistake, should we really fire this coach?

Absolutely not.

First off, he came in with no salary cap room, so he did not have the chance to build the team in his image and get more offensive line help.

This team is still essentially a left-over from the Gibbs and Zorn eras. Shanahan is doing what he can with it and is probably doing a lot more with it than Zorn would be right now.

Also, this franchise has fired a big name coach after a poor start but strong finish.  Anyone else remember Marty Schottenheimer?

He started 0-5 in his first season (like Joe Gibbs) and then finished 8-8 (again like Gibbs). Not saying that would have led to Super Bowls, but then you look at the team he built in San Diego, which was 1-15 before he got there, and then he was fired after a 14-2 season.

I often think about what could have been if only owner Dan Snyder would have stayed the course.

What followed for the Skins were two dreadful seasons under Steve Spurrier, two playoffs and two losing seasons under Joe Gibbs, and then an 8-8 and a 4-12 season under Jim Zorn.

The one thing the Redskins franchise needs to do more than anything is stay the course, even if they don't win another game this season. They need to give Shanahan at least four seasons to build his type of team. 

Once he and general manager Bruce Allen get their people on the team, then you can truly judge the Mike Shanahan era.

So, for all of you calling for Shanahan's firing: settle down, you're just overreacting to a benching during a bye week.