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Mike Shanahan: Will It Be The Best Of Times? Or The Worst?

Phillip O'BrienContributor IJanuary 9, 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

As a Redskins fan on Bleacher Report, I felt obligated to write something about Mike Shanahan. I personally think this can be the best opportunity we've had since Dan Snyder took control. I could also just be another disaster.

Shanahan obviously has a lot of upside. His two Super Bowl rings are the most obvious thing that comes to mind. It is hard to deny the success Shanahan had with taking a team that was always close, but just couldn't seal the deal, to the Super Bowl.

He motivated them, and brought in many talented players. Many people would say it wasn't hard to win two Super Bowls with Elway, but Dan Reeves and Wade Phillips both couldn't do it.

Out of the eleven offensive starters in Super Bowl XXXII, five were brought in under Shanahan's watch, including the ultra-productive Terrell Davis. So Shanahan knows how to win. The thing is, without an elite quarterback and running back, he struggles.

The Denver Broncos descended into mediocrity after Elway's retirement. Shanahan had been spoiled by having a quarterback of that caliber, and didn't seem to know what to do without one. Unless he gets his hand on an elite quarterback somehow, I'm not sure how he'll do.

The most important factor for the future will be drafting. With a good staff and talent, any half-decent coach can do fine, so this will be the key. I've always been of the opinion that the main problem over the last 10 years has been personal, not coaching nor play on the field. 

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The Redskins have never had any sort of depth, which prevents them from playing through injuries. Snyder has to learn his lesson. He was less involved when Gibbs was around, and maybe having another big name coach will cause the same thing to happen.

Shanahan can't be left to his own devices, however. Shanahan, while skilled at finding and utilizing talent in the first and second round, he has trouble finding late round sleepers, with the exception of running backs.

Having some help, probably in the form of Bruce Allen, to help him will set the 'Skins on a path toward success. A rebuilding year or two is in order, since he is used to operating with very different personal.

If Snyder keeps his nose out, Shanahan learns how to win without an Elway level quarterback, and he is given a major role—but not complete power—in drafting, the Redskins could be in for—if not a role as an elite team—at least a respectable one.

If one of these happen, this will amount to yet another failed venture by Snyder and Co.