Dan Snyder, Mike Shanahan stop by Waco Hooters while scouting RGIII (Picture)

The Redskins were on the Baylor campus Wednesday checking out the pro day of likely their next quarterback, Robert Griffin III. The Redskins’ contingent, which included owner Dan Snyder, head coach Mike Shanahan, his son and offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan, and GM Bruce Allen, flew into Waco on Tuesday and evidently soon after made their way to a local Hooters. Can’t imagine a more awkward fit than Dan Snyder going to Hooters.

According to one Waco-area Skins fan, that wasn’t the first restaurant/bar they went to Tuesday night. On a Redskins message board, the fan wrote a first person account of meting the team’s brass at another watering hole that night, where they were meeting with Griffin. (Among the more interesting details, the fan recounts a conversation he has with Allen: “He talked about how excited they are about RG3 and how Griffin is glad it wasn’t Cleveland that moved up to number 2.” Yikes, Cleveland just can’t catch a break.) The thread became quite popular also turned up the above Hooters photo. Shanahan and Snyder can say they went for the wings, but we all know nobody goes to Hooters for wings (except Pacman Jones).

Oh, and Griffin looks like he’s going to be really good.

Helmet knock to Hogs Haven via DC Sports Bog
Photo via ExtremeSkins

Mike Shanahan thinks the Redskins had a playoff-caliber offense last season

The Redskins struggled mightily in 2011, but the team didn’t exactly see it that way. For some reason, it sounds like they thought they were good. Washington finished the season with a record of 5-11, but quarterback Rex Grossman is under the impression that no team wanted to play them. Better yet, Mike Shanahan says he believes the team had an offense that was good enough to make the postseason.

“Well, I think we were a playoff-caliber offense this year,” Shanahan said during an interview with Redskins.com. “But we didn’t have the depth that you need to go through a season. You can’t lose your left tackle, your left guard, your center. You can’t lose your starting running back and tight end, especially your tight end that’s your best blocker in Chris Cooley. And then you lose Santana Moss for four or five games, and a guy like Hankerson who finally gets ready, he goes down.

“And it’s just part of football. There’s no excuses. But what you have to do is you have to build your football team, where you can lose three or four guys on offense, you can lose three or four guys on defense, you’re deep enough to still win football games. And that is what great organizations do.”

Whatever these guys are drinking, I want a sip. Injuries certainly didn’t help the Redskins, but they weren’t exactly the 2001 Rams or 2007 Patriots before the guys Shanahan mentioned went down. There are a few exceptions, but for the most part a playoff-caliber offense features an above-average quarterback. Whether it be Grossman or John Beck, Washington did not have that. If they did, they wouldn’t be trying to trade up in the draft to land Robert Griffin III.

H/T DC Sports Bog and Pro Football Talk

Elvis Grbac: Mike Shanahan Ordered Me to Throw a Football at Al Davis’ Head

With the passing of Al Davis over the weekend came many stories about how he changed the game of football for the better.  Davis was glorified by players, fans, and writers and much of the praise he received is deserved.  While Davis left behind a legacy of positives — as we outlined in our piece on Saturday — the fact that he was not a very well-liked figure across much of the league has been somewhat lost.

On Wednesday, Rick Maese of the Washington Post dug up a 13-year-old NY Times article that reminds us Davis had as many friends as he did enemies when he was alive.  One of those enemies was Mike Shanahan, who was the head coach of the Raiders for just over a season in 1988 and 1989 before a feud about money became too much for both men to handle.

In 1994, Shanahan was the offensive coordinator of the San Francisco 49ers.  Prior to a game with the Raiders, he was working with quarterback Elvis Grbac, who says Shanahan ordered him to throw a ball at Davis’ head from about 30 feet away.

“I can’t do that,” Grbac said he replied. “If I hit him, do you know what he could do to me?”

[Read more...]

Mike Shanahan Wants Punter Sav Rocca to Get Married So He Can Get a Visa

The Washington Redskins hope to have a new punter joining them this season.  Sav Rocca, a 37-year-old former rugby player from Australia, spent the last three seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles.  He has yet to arrive in Washington, however, as he is currently held up in Australia waiting for his work visa to be processed.  With the regular season creeping up fairly quickly, Mike Shanahan needs his punter to report to camp.

We all know Shanahan has a reputation for ruling with an iron first.  Mark Schlereth has plenty of personal experience working with Shanahan and he thinks he’s a control freak.  When you consider what he did to Albert Haynesworth at the end of last season and the decision he made to bench Donovan McNabb, that isn’t hard to believe.

Now, Shanahan has a simple message for his Australian punter: Marry an American.

“He’s got a job here in the U.S.,” Shanahan told reporters as passed along by Shutdown Corner. “Eventually they’ll let him go or, at least, I’m hoping they let him go. If not, I told him to get married to an American and that’ll make it easier.”

Shanahan is obviously joking and doesn’t expect Rocca to marry an American just so he can get his visa more smoothly.  Or is he?  The Redskins aren’t exactly filled with game-changers heading into the upcoming season, so Shanahan could be starting to get a little nervous.  Yes, even over a punter.

Mark Schlereth: Mike Shanahan Is a Control Freak

An NFL coach needs to be in control at all times, especially in this day and age. There are dozens of assistant coaches, offensive coordinators, defensive coordinators, and positional specialists, but it’s always important to have someone sitting at the top of the food chain. But how much control is too much? According to Mark Schlereth, look no further than Mike Shanahan and you’ll find the answer.

Schlereth shared his thoughts about the coach he played six seasons and won two Super Bowls under on Mike and Mike in the Morning on Friday, via Pro Football Talk. “I would say the one criticism I have is a lot of times he’s such a control freak that he doesn’t allow his coaches to coach,” Schlereth said. “I think that’s an issue. You have to have a system of checks and balances where you can argue, you can fight and you can say, ‘We’re not going to do it that way.’ I don’t know that he still has that in the place that he is now, or at the end of his tenure in Denver.”

There is certainly evidence to support Schlereth’s claim.  We all know Albert Haynesworth is a piece of work, but Shanahan has done things like bench the defensive tackle for being a minute late to practice and give up on Donovan McNabb in the fourth quarter of a close game — moves that probably haven’t helped improve team chemistry for the Redskins.  Changing quarterbacks in a close game can’t exactly make life easier on the offensive coordinator, but that’s okay because Washington’s OC is Shanahan’s son.

[Read more...]

Jake Plummer: Mike Shanahan is Still Searching for John Elway

It appears there’s at least one guy out there who feels Donovan McNabb’s pain.  Much has been made over Mike Shanahan’s decision to bench McNabb in favor of Rex Grossman with the game on the line last weekend.  While Shanahan has denied it, several reports indicate the Redskins coach is unhappy with McNabb’s conditioning and his lack of effort during practice.

According to former Denver Broncos quarterback Jake Plummer, that’s just Mike being Mike.  Plummer said he thinks Shanahan’s expectations tend to be too high, especially for his quarterbacks.  Out of Bounds passed along Plummer’s thoughts on the McNabb situation:

It just seemed like every game I could have completed these four more passes or these five more shots here and it would have been perfect. And that just wasn’t my personality… But Shanahan wanted perfection and he wore a lot of us down there.”

“I think Shanahan is still searching for John Elway,” Plummer said. “Somehow, someway, he thinks there’s going to be another guy like John Elway.”

“He coached a team to almost perfection (with Elway) so he wanted that again, he wanted that every time we went out there. It’s just not realistic.”

Maybe it’s just me, but it sounds like Shanahan’s mentality is consistent with that of all the great coaches in sports.  Does Bill Belichick ever truly seem satisfied?  How about Bill Parcells?  Mike Ditka doesn’t seem like the positive reinforcement type, does he?  You get the point.  Some guys need a pat on the back to keep them going and some coaches aren’t going to give it to them.  If that’s what McNabb is looking for, his stay in D.C. will likely be a short one.

I’d Hire Mike Shanahan in Two Seconds

Like many of you, I was shocked by the Mike Shanahan firing. I think it’s because of the strong association he has with the franchise; you just never expect a team to dump an icon like that. I understand the move and why Pat Bowlen wanted to make a change. The team hadn’t made the playoffs the past three years and was a .500 team. Worst of all, they became the first team in NFL history to blow a three game lead in the division with three games to play. Yes, I get all that and I understand how the Dolphins, Ravens, and Falcons proved turnarounds can happen overnight in the NFL. Still, I think you’ll have a hard time finding a finer coach in the NFL, one who can consistently deliver a more competitive team over the long haul than Mike Shanahan.

Even considering the collapse this season, are they forgetting that unexpected and impressive wins over the Jets and Falcons on the road put them in a position to clinch a playoff spot? Did the team not play well to get to that point? Furthermore, as I alluded to earlier, it’s the long term, consistent success that I believe shows the value of Shanahan and what makes him so good. In 14 seasons as the team’s head coach, they only had two losing season. Two. And those were of the 6 and 7 win variety — nothing totally embarrassing. Even when the team was rebuilding with a new quarterback — something that causes most coaches to have crappy seasons — the Broncos were not a bad team. Look at some of the longer tenured coaches around the league by comparison: Jeff Fisher had 4 and 5 win seasons after losing Steve McNair, Jon Gruden had 4 and 5 win seasons with the Bucs, and Jon Fox had three 7-win seasons.

[Read more...]