If taking a look at the Washington Redskins‘ coaching staff, who would be considered the weak link? Simple answer to that question, there isn’t one.
The Redskins are fortunate enough to have a stellar staff, whom all have been successful at some point and time in their career. Head coach Mike Shanahan, as we all know, has won two Super Bowl rings while coaching the Denver Broncos. With the way he is constantly scrutinized in Washington, you would think this is his first stint as a head coach.
I’m a strong believer that Shanahan was the vital piece to winning those rings. Yes, he had John Elway and Terrell Davis on those teams, but there could be an argument made that he is the reason they turned out to be so successful – especially with Davis, who was also a sixth-round draft pick like Alfred Morris. Now that the Redskins have the personnel to be successful, Shanahan could lead them back to the promise land.
Mike Shanahan’s son, Kyle Shanahan, has proven that he is a successful offensive coordinator in the National Football League. There were many speculating that Kyle would get a few head coaching interviews this off-season, but I’m starting to doubt that. However, he is in the perfect situation in Washington. He has arguable the most exciting quarterback in the NFL, in Robert Griffin III, to coach up. He has a bruising running back in Morris, and a deep threat wide-receiver in Pierre Garcon. This is the most talented offense he’s had a chance to get his hands on. I think another year or two with the Redskins would pay him dividends, and help land him a future head coaching position.
Redskins defensive coordinator Jim Haslett, like Mike Shanahan, has also been criticized quite a bit this season. With the Redskins defense struggling throughout the year, Haslett took a lot of the blame for not constructing an efficacious game-plan. To cut him some slack, his defense had an abundance of injuries that they were dealing with. Those injuries also came to valuable players.
Brian Orakpo, Adam Carriker, Brandon Meriweather, and Tanard Jackson all missed the majority of the season. So what did Haslett do? Well, he put a huge bandage over his defense, and found ways to make it work. He mixed and matched players in the secondary, he found different schemes to run, and he made the best out of what he had. What did it lead to? Well, the Redskins forced timely turnovers and were a “bend but don’t break” defense. I think it was amazing what Haslett was able to pull off with a depleted group. Once they are healthy, and they add a few pieces to the secondary, they could get back to being a stout defense.
Mike, as I mentioned earlier, is a Super Bowl winning coach. Kyle has been a productive offensive coordinator since entering the NFL, which he started off with the Houston Texans. Haslett has been an honorable player with the Buffalo Bills, a head coach with the New Orleans Saints, and has been a very accomplished defensive coordinator with multiple teams. Not to mention Raheem Morris, who was once head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, is the defensive backs coach. Even though I don’t believe he’ll continue to be on the staff next season.
The Redskins’ 2012 season was a perfect example of what coaches can accomplish when surrounded by talented players. With a healthy roster next season, this collection of coaches could be the ideal group to lead the Redskins back to a Super Bowl.
Redskins Columnist/Josiah Turner