A day after stirring controversy, Redskins Coach Mike Shanahan forcefully refuted that he thrown in the towel on 2013 season while acknowledging that he could have chosen his words more carefully in the aftermath of Sunday’s crushing loss to the Panthers.
“From my perspective – I’m not saying I did a great job explaining it – but when you’re talking about five games [remaining] in the NFC East and two in the AFC, and you’re starting an NFC East tour, to suggest that we play young players and the season was over is completely ludicrous,” Shanahan said during his Monday news conference.
A few minutes after the Redskins dropped a 21-13 decision to the Panthers – a game Shanahan called a “must-win” six days earlier – the coach raised eyebrows at FedEx Field.
“When you lose a game like that, now you’re playing to see who is going to be on your football team for years go come,” Shanahan said following the game. “Now, we have a chance to evaluate players and see where we’re at. Obviously, we’re not out of it statistically. [But] now we find out what kind of character we have and how guys keep on fighting throughout the rest of the season.”
On Monday, Shanahan said that the evaluation to which he referred would occur during the bye week, not over the course of the remainder of the season.
“That’s what will be done during the bye week,” he said. “We will evaluate our coaches, our players, our schemes over the next four or five days. We have a chance to still do something special. But obviously every game is like a playoff game with not much margin for error.”
Shanahan also said he will seek to clarify his comments with his players Tuesday before the team takes five days off.
Pressed about whether he was attempting to clarify or backtrack, Shanahan grew agitated with the line of questioning.
“I would never say we will play younger players,” Shanahan continued. “I’ve never said that since I’ve been here. We’re always going to play the people who give us the best chance to win. That’s never wavered.”