Shanahan enthused despite 6-10 record

Shanahan enthused despite 6-10 record
January 3, 2011, 11:38 pm
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Tuesday, January 3, 2011, 6:36 p.m.

By Ryan OHalloran
Staff writer


His postseason drought having reached a career-high four seasons, Mike Shanahan spoke Monday with enthusiasm about the foundation laid down during his first year as Redskins coach despite a 6-10 record, third consecutive last-place finish and months-long drama involving Albert Haynesworth and Donovan McNabb.

During a 26-minute session with reporters Monday at Redskin Park, Shanahan did not provide a time table on the futures of both players but did say his current plan is to retain the entire coaching and medical staffs and key front office personnel.

The Redskins completed their third consecutive losing season with a 17-14 loss to the Giants.

Im more excited now than Ive ever been about finishing the task at hand, Shanahan said. There are a lot of things to do, theres a lot of work to do but thats the nature of this business. It doesnt happen overnight. But the rewards are awesome once you do turn it around.

To turn things around means another off-season of change. On last weeks roster, 42 of the 73 players (including practice squad and injured reserve) were acquired under Shanahans watch.

This off-season, with 12 players becoming free agents and needs all over the roster, could mean more turnover.

To go in the right direction, you need to make some tough decisions and well make those tough decisions in the best interest of the organization for the long term, Shanahan said.

Via free agency, Shanahan did reveal that acquiring guys on the younger side, is a priority.

Shanahan touched on myriad topics, looking back and forward:

Shanahan expressed regrets about his handling of McNabbs benching Oct. 31 in Detroit but not about anything regarding Haynesworth.

I wish I would have handled the one in Detroit a little bit differently, Shanahan said. .I should have been a little more honest than I was. Sometimes you do things to protect players and at the same time, youre actually hurting them.

Shanahan doesnt have a definitive date to meet with Fletcher Smith, McNabbs agent.

Shanahan said his current thought is to retain the entire coaching staff.

Things could change but I plan keeping everybody at this time, he said.

Sean McVay will return to his offensive assistant role after coaching the tight ends following Jon Embrees move to the University of Colorado.

Sean could fill that spot but the chances are, Ill go in another direction, Shanahan said. Sean does a great job at the quarterback and wide receiver positions and is a young coach I have a lot confidence in him for the future.

As for the front office, led by Scott Campbell and Morocco Brown (holdovers from the previous regime), Shanahan said: Number 1, thats my plan to keep them; No. 2, if it wasnt my plan, I wouldnt be sharing it with you at this time; I would sit down and talk to them. I dont have any plans to make any changes at this time.

Shanahan laid out the next two weeks for the coaching staff: The coaches will write up their position players and put them in a pecking order strengths, weaknesses, starter, back-up, ascending player, descending player.

And then the offensive coaches will look at our defensive team and vice versa. The defensive line coach will evaluate the offensive line and look at all 16 games. Hell write up each one of those players as he sees them without getting into personalities and grade those players.

Evidently, it just wasnt Haynesworth who was docked money.

Ive had more fines here my first here than I did with Denver and the Raiders, he said. Some time, it takes time for people to understand that everybody has a piece of the puzzle and has a sense of responsibility.

It was one of the first times all year that Shanahan referred to his year-plus as the Raiders head coach without being asked.

Shanahan said left tackle Trent Williams next step comes off the field.

I saw a guy with a tremendous amount of ability but hes a rookie and he has to learn how to be a pro and by that I mean is when you go against these defensive ends and outside linebackers, you have to know them inside and out, Shanahan said. You have to study film and do all the little things to give you that little edge.

The great thing about Trent is that hes a worker and hell do the things next season to give him the best chance to be a Pro Bowl player.

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