Washington Redskins: Mike Shanahan To Blame For 2013 Mess

By James Williams
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The Washington Redskins have parted ways with their head coach Mike Shanahan after four years. They are one year removed from winning the NFC East and appearing in the playoffs, but after a 3-13 season and clearly losing his grip on the team, owner Daniel Snyder no choice but show Shanahan, his son Kyle (the team’s offensive coordinator) and the rest of the staff the door.

Shanahan’s relationship with the 2012 Rookie of the Year and franchise quarterback Robert Griffin III soured just after one season together. What looked very promising one year ago is now gone after a season that saw the coach and his staff lose the confidence of their team.

Let me make this clear to many people who want to find any reason to blame Snyder for the Redskins’ failures. From day one of the Mike Shanahan era, there is absolutely no evidence that Snyder did not give Shanahan total control of the team all the way until Sunday’s 20-6 loss on the road.

This summer, reports began to surface indicating that Griffin and Snyder had become friends. Shanahan supposedly did not like the closeness of his quarterback and the owner. That was just silly because of relationships like the one between Denver Broncos QB Peyton Manning and John Elway. How about Tom Brady and New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft? They both have special  relationships with their stars.

John Fox and Bill Belichick  have no trouble with the stars and owners having a relationship because it does not have any effect on how they coach the team. In Washington’s case, there was no evidence that showed Snyder ever spoke to Shanahan on behalf of his star quarterback.

This one is on Shanahan, who was unable to build something with 100 percent control over the past four years. He has left the Washington organization better off now than they were before he got to the Nation’s Capital, but all you had to do was watch their Week 17 game. The team did not rally around their coach knowing the end was near.

Now comes a key moment for the Redskins as they take aim at hiring their next head coach and possibly a new GM. Current GM Bruce Allen might be named the president of football operations. The hope of Redskins fans is that they will hire a top coordinator and not a big-named head coach. The maturing of Snyder will come with this hire, and who he surrounds the new head coach with is the key.

Rant Sports columnist James Williams is a seven-time Emmy Award winning producer, director and writer. Follow him on Twitter @Wordmandc and add him to your Google circles.

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