The tenure of Washington Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan has been an abject failure. This is evidenced by his 24-35 record during his current head coaching stint which began before the 2010 NFL season. I don’t want to hear excuses about his Super Bowl pedigree, his no nonsense approach, as well as the salary cap circumvention penalties that prevented the Redskins from going on their customary free agency spending sprees. Nor do I want to hear about how injuries and the collective failure of Shanahan’s coaching staff to construct a consistent game plan have contributed to the team’s 3-8 record.
Shanahan needs to be fired after this season because the Redskins have reverted to their familiar status of mediocrity. Washington is navigating a strife riddled 2013 season due to their inconsistent and sometimes incompetent play. Franchise quarterback Robert Griffin III and Shanahan are getting most of the blame for the Redskins’ underwhelming season. If there’s a choice between keeping the franchise quarterback in RG3 and Shanahan, it would be reasonable to send Shanahan packing.
If that were to happen, who would be a suitable replacement for Shanahan? Former Chicago Bears head coach Lovie Smith could be a viable option. Smith was fired after his nine year tenure in Chicago yielded an 81-63 record. Smith led the Bears to the Super Bowl after the 2006 season with the incomparable Rex Grossman as his starting quarterback. Considering the irony that Grossman is currently the Redskins’ third string quarterback, Smith getting the Bears to the Super Bowl is nothing short of a miracle of biblical proportions.
Smith is a defensive-minded coach whose Bears’ teams enjoyed a top ten ranking in yards allowed in four of his nine seasons. Those rankings were helped considerably by perennial Pro Bowlers like former linebacker Brian Urlacher and current Bears’ linebacker Lance Briggs. In contrast, the Redskins’ defense has ranked in the bottom half of the league in three of Shanahan’s four years as head coach. Smith’s potential influence on Washington’s defense could definitely become an asset.
Washington does have some solid pieces on defense. Linebackers Brian Orakpo, London Fletcher and Ryan Kerrigan can wreak havoc on opposing offenses if put in the right situations to do so. Cornerback DeAngelo Hall could be considered in the running for the NFL’s Most Valuable Player award for 2013 if the Redskins’ win total were significantly greater than the three touchdowns Hall has scored on defense.
But I digress. While Smith’s resume isn’t as impressive as Shanahan’s, he has experienced more success coaching the Bears than the Redskins have in the last 20 years. While ridding the organization of Shanahan doesn’t guarantee success for the Redskins, they should at least consider Smith if they do decide to end Shanahan’s tenure prematurely.