Is Mike Shanahan the Answer for the Washington Redskins?

Kevin Roberts@BreakingKevinSenior Writer IJanuary 7, 2010

ASHBURN,VA - JANUARY 06:  Mike Shanahan speaks at a press conference introducing him as the new Executive Vice President and Head Coach of the Washington Redskins to the media on January 6, 2010 at Redskins Park in Ashburn, Virginia.  (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)
Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

Norv Turner couldn't do it. The guy that originally brought Washington three titles, Joe Gibbs, couldn't get it done in his second try, either.

Few truly believed Jim Zorn, who had zero previous head coaching experience, was ready, so after all the Washington Redskins franchise has been through in the past 15-plus years, what makes anyone think Mike Shanahan will be any different?

The former Oakland Raiders and Denver Broncos head coach brings in a proven offensive philosophy, one that helped him achieve a career record of 146-95 (8-5 in the postseason), as well as two Lombardi Trophies.

But the question is, in a city where money has attempted to buy everything (and everyone), what is there to make this time any different?

Before you rush to judgment that this is just another attempt at "buying" Washington success, take a look at the pieces to the puzzle.

The Redskins acquired Albert Haynesworth via free agency last offseason, and then watched their defense finish 16th against the run. Not spectacular, but considering Haynesworth and other players missed several games with injuries, it's respectable.

The defense picked up the offense's slack for most of the season, finishing 18th in points allowed, ninth in passing yards allowed, and 10th in total yards allowed.

Clearly the personnel is there on the field for the Redskins to continue, and possibly even improve, on their defensive rankings.

However, the Achilles heel for Washington all season (and all through Zorn's tenure) was the inconsistency and predictability of a stale offense.

Zorn's lack of creativity (or too much of it) on offense hindered the growth of Jason Campbell, and in turn affected a once promising rushing attack.

The Redskins finished 16th in passing yards (their only positive), as Campbell took off after Zorn was stripped of play-calling duties. Their rush attack was fairly dormant the entire season as well, finishing just 27th in the league, while ranking 22nd overall on offense as a team.

And in points scored? A dismal 26th.

Needless to say, Washington was a team with a solid defense that was victim of poor play-calling and decision-making.

In comes Shanahan, the proposed offensive guru who made Jay Cutler into a 4,500-plus yard passing quarterback, made Jake Plummer look like an elite passer, and helped an aging John Elway win two Super Bowls before his retirement.

But can he help Washington?

The answer is yes, and possibly a lot quicker than people think.

Shanahan is a quarterback guru. That doesn't mean Jason Campbell can look forward to a bright future. He simply isn't Shanahan's guy.

But Campbell will immediately find more success than he ever had under Zorn or Gibbs, while Shanahan brings in his own guy through the 2010 NFL Draft and grooms him behind Campbell.

And as for that powerful and extremely effective zone-blocking scheme that Shanahan made so popular while in Denver, you can safely assume it will be back.

Whether or not former Denver back Clinton Portis is around to reap the benefits is another discussion on its own.

But if history is honest, then Shanahan coming on is the missing link that is keeping this team from being competitive.

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