Washington Redskins Glory and the Shanahan Plan: Their Bid for a Dynasty

Matt JamesContributor IIMarch 3, 2011

Mike Shanahan wraps up his first season.
Mike Shanahan wraps up his first season.Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

Mike Shanahan’s arrival in Washington was heralded by many as a sign that Redskins owner Dan Snyder was on a path to sanity. Besides Joe Gibbs (royalty in the DC area), Shanahan was the first head coach brought in by Snyder that would give warm fuzzies to one of the NFL’s most loyal fanbases.

Expectations are high, and failure is not an option. Will the bizarreness of the 2010-2011 season prove to be something more, or will Coach Shanahan show that his master plan is of championship caliber? 

The Washington Redskins have been a mediocre team for the better part of two decades. With the legacy of their past constantly looming, and the ravenous loyalty of the fans, being a part of this organization can be anything but easy. Add to this the seemingly amateurish decisions of their owner, and one can quickly see the need for the next dynasty’s mastermind. Can Shanahan fill this role? Does he have the skill-set required? 

Shanahan’s first season was anything but normal. With mind-boggling press conferences, an unforeseen quarterback debacle and a season that created more questions for the organization than answers, fans can only assume that the Shanahan Plan has some depth of genius that has yet to be seen. 

Looking back at Shanahan’s career in the NFL provides a history of proven success. His back-to-back Super Bowl championships in 1997 and 1998 show that he has some formula for winning. After taking over the head coach responsibilities for the Denver Broncos in 1995, Shanahan was able to take the mediocre team and form it into a fierce competitor within a couple of seasons. 

If Mike Shanahan is able to make the personnel changes necessary for success, and owner Dan Snyder stays out of his way, the Washington Redskins could very well end up a team to be reckoned with in the NFC—if not the NFL. The 2011-2012 season will be crucial for Shanahan. He will need to prove that his rebuilding schema is valid, and that there is a method to his madness. 

A note to consider—

When Mike Shanahan took the Denver Broncos to their first Super Bowl win, he did so with a veteran quarterback that already had 14 years in the league, and no championship ring. Donovan McNabb has 12 years in the league and finds himself in a similar situation.

Do you think Shanahan can make magic happen again? And if so, do you think he should keep McNabb on the roster?

Follow my sports insights on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/MattJamesWSH