Terrell Davis had a little more insight into Mike Shanahan’s tenure with the Redskins than most did.
For one thing, he played his entire seven-year career as a running back under Shanahan with the Denver Broncos. During that time Davis was a first team All-Pro three times and the Broncos won two Super Bowls.
“Mike was a good coach,” he told Kevin Sheehan and Thom Loverro on ESPN 980 earlier this week.
There’s no disputing that Shanahan was on the top of his game when Davis played for him from 1995-2001. But Davis got an inside look at Shanahan after the coach took over the Redskins. He served as a coaching intern with the Redskins during training camp in 2010, Shanahan’s first year in Washington. Davis noticed a difference in Shanahan.
“Just from my observation what I saw was a little bit, sort of the grandparent syndrome,” he said. “You know how you’re harder on your kids and then when your kids have kids you’re not as hard on them. I felt that a little of that was how I saw Mike.”
“I was at practice one day and I remember looking at practice like, wow, if we practiced like this we would start practice over. I was like, this is not the man I’m used to seeing. That’s probably a small piece of what happened there.”
Shanahan was noted for not having particularly difficult training camps with the Redskins. The players were almost always allowed to work in shorts instead of football pants and contact work was minimal.
The relatively soft training camps continued after Davis decided that broadcasting was a better career path than coaching. Shanahan showed other signs that he had lost his edge. One example came after a December loss to the Giants. Three veteran players committed dumb penalties. During his press conference the next day, Shanahan gave a pass to all three of them. Something tells me that would not have happened in Denver in the late 1990’s.
“I don’t know what happened there,” said Davis.
From Davis’ observations and what everyone here saw during his tenure it’s not that hard to figure out, really. Shanahan came to Washington 12 years after winning his last title and he had simply lost his edge. It happens. Perhaps the blame for that should go as much to Daniel Snyder, who chose to overlook Shanahan’s lack of success in his last 10 years in Denver (one playoff win) when he hired him, as it should to Shanahan.