After a ton of offseason speculation, the Washington Redskins are finally set to begin their 2013 season. The main offseason storyline was of course the return of Robert Griffin III following major surgery on his right knee, but it’s finally been settled that the sophomore quarterback will start week one for the Skins. Now, all the pressure will shift over to head coach Mike Shanahan.
It was Shanahan who came under intense scrutiny following RG3’s nasty knee injury in the team’s playoff loss last January. It got so bad, that some were even calling for the veteran head coach’s head to roll. The criticism was well-founded, as he probably should have pulled his young QB after he re-injured his right knee earlier in the game. Shanahan left RG3 in, and the rest is history.
But the key word is – history. All of that is in the past now and winning in 2013 is all that matters. One would hope that the veteran coach learned a valuable lesson from that scary scene last January, because it’s safe to assume if something similar happens again, that it will be curtains for Shanahan in the nation’s capitol. It’s with that thought, that I suggest Mike Shanahan needs to pull off the best coaching job of his career this season.
RG3 is going to want to go 100 mph from the moment he takes this field on Monday. In his mind, I’m sure he feels like the same QB. But the reality is that he can’t be the same QB he was in 2012. The speedy QB must change his style and take fewer chances. Part of that responsibility falls on Griffin, but it all starts with Shanahan. The head coach has to make sure he doesn’t put the ROY award winner in risky situations. He has to make sure the play-calling is in line with making RG3 a pocket-passer, first.
Players are always going to want to play. It’s up to coaches to pull them back when they shouldn’t be on the field. Redskins’ fans are hoping another situation like last season’s never presents itself again, but if it does, they’ll be counting on Mike Shanahan to make the right call this time.