Washington Redskins: Dear Mike Shanahan, the Team is a Long-Term Project

Luis De LeonContributor IIIApril 1, 2011

Mike, take a moment to think about what I'm telling you.
Mike, take a moment to think about what I'm telling you.Leon Halip/Getty Images

Dear Mike Shanahan,

When you traded for Donovan McNabb, even your players publicly declared they were NFC East favorites.

Unfortunately, McNabb was a disappointment. I would like to think it's because he had to learn a new system for the first time in over a decade. He also played behind an average offensive line at best.

Despite the contract extension, the world is expecting McNabb to get traded. The veteran should still have enough in the tank to give an NFL team a few more decent seasons.

McNabb is the most talented QB the Redskins have had in a while, but trading him would be best for the team. You might still get decent value for him. If so, that would be due to a lack of decent QBs available.

Washington needs every draft pick they can get. After the 10th overall pick and a second rounder, you don't pick again until the fifth round.

Mike, you and Bruce Allen can't afford to draft a bust.

What was supposed to be a team that only needed another receiver, some protection and a decent free safety turned out to be a messy situation.

Weren't you hired to provide and maintain stability?

Well, at least Washington finally found a replacement for the late Sean Taylor.

Hello Mr. Atogwe.

Many thought the Redskins were playoff contenders prior to last season because they assumed Washington would continue playing solid defense. They had a respectable defense before you showed up.

After ranking in the top half of the league in defense from 2007-2009, switching to a 3-4 was a horrible decision. 

Why fix something that isn't broke?

I don't support Albert Haynesworth's selfish actions, but Washington is better in the 4-3. Only your former team, the Denver Broncos, allowed more yards per game last season.

It's not like you were managing the Buffalo Bills or Houston Texans. They switched to the 3-4 because they were previously horrible.

Green Bay switched to a 3-4 several years back, too. Unlike the Redskins, the Packers already had the personnel to do so.

You stripped the team of its strength, Mike.

Naturally, younger players have to replace older players. But now, you have a lot more rebuilding to do because you want the defense to fit your scheme. The rebuilding must be done with less valuable draft picks, too.

Mike, you gave up on your new John Elway project. If you really plan to move on, the next franchise QB has to be acquired through the draft. 

Rex Grossman should be a decent short-term answer. He is comfortable under your son's system. A veteran can also be signed as a backup. He can even challenge Grossman for the starting job.

Anything that doesn't involve parting ways with draft picks would be fine.

On a lighter note, you realized Ryan Torain made Clinton Portis expendable and Anthony Armstrong was a pleasant surprise.

Washington can return to the playoffs if the right personnel moves and coaching decisions are made.

This letter was to remind you that you're a heck of a coach, but you still need to win over the nation's capital. A youth movement and providing stability is a good start. I know I was a little tough and blunt. But if your coaching stint in Washington is a failure, it will hurt your reputation and legacy.

We'll keep in touch.

Your Friend,

Luis De Leon