In sports, the term ‘hot seat’ refers usually to a person of authority whose job could be in jeopardy. That term definitely applies to the Washington Redskins. An underachieving 3-7 record should put some in the organization on notice that their tenure in Washington will be short-lived.
The first person that should be on notice is Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan. His four years in Washington has yielded one winning season. That was last season, when the Redskins had to go on a seven-game winning streak against a last-place schedule to achieve that winning season. Shanahan has a reputation as a disciplinarian, but his team constantly incurs back-breaking penalties that are difficult to overcome.
It can be reasoned that offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan, son of the head coach, would also be on the hot seat. The younger Shanahan implemented the zone read offense that was so successful for Washington last season. That offense isn’t as efficient as it was last year, partly due to the early rustiness of quarterback Robert Griffin III after he returned from injury.
The offensive decline is also contributed to NFL defenses figuring out the zone read. Since that’s happened, Kyle Shanahan hasn’t been able to devise an offensive game plan consistent enough to win games. The offense has the potential to be great with players like Griffin, running back Alfred Morris, wide receiver Pierre Garcon and tight end Jordan Reed leading that effort.
But potential doesn’t win games. Execution does, and that’s not happening for the Redskins consistently enough.
Defensive coordinator Jim Haslett may also have to get his resume in order, as his defensive unit annually ranks as one of the worst in the NFL. Haslett has a reputation in NFL circles for his intensity from his playing days, but that intensity hasn’t translated to his defensive unit. The Redskins rank 27th in the NFL in total defense and 30th in points allowed, which illustrates their lack of intensity in containing opposing offenses.
Washington’s special teams unit is one of the worst in the NFL with their failure to contain opposing kick returners. As if allowing two punt returns for touchdowns weren’t bad enough, the Redskins’ special teams can’t even exhibit fundamental blocking efficiency. Washington has not only had a blocked punt returned for a touchdown, but they had two field goal attempts blocked against the San Diego Chargers.
Special teams coach Keith Burns may be in his first year, but these are the types of miscues that could cost players and coaches their jobs in the results-driven NFL. Burns might want to keep that in mind if his unit continues to falter.
Washington’s lost season isn’t just on the aforementioned coaches. Yes, the coaches are responsible for constructing an efficient game plan on offense, defense and special teams, but ultimately, it’s the players that need to execute that game plan. If things don’t turn around fast, the Shanahans, Haslett, Burns and even some underperforming players could find themselves on their way out of Washington.