Believe in the Shanaplan

 

It’s been pretty easy to buy into the false sense of security that the preseason has brought us so far this year. Sure everyone says “It’s only preseason” but I am pretty sure deep down that little homer in all of us feels like this could be a special team.

Players aren’t helping us stay rational either. Rex Grossman last week stated that this was the best team he has been on since his Super Bowl year in Chicago. Then, this week, Chris Cooley says that he has never been on a Redskins team that had the commitment to winning that this team does.

Let’s just be honest with ourselves. It feels good, real good. It should, this fan base deserves some good vibes.

Gone are the days of Southeast Jerome, and Captain Chaos. Gone are the Willy Parkers telling every media outlet that would listen that this team only cares about partying, or living the superstar lifestyle. In total reality gone are the superstars.

It would be pretty easy for the average fan to get bummed about seeing star power like McNabb, Portis, and Haynesworth leave. Vinny Cerrato made it easy for fans to all expect that we the Skins are always only one player away from championships, but as more and more info on just how inept our previous regimes were comes out, it looks like this team was in far worse shape than we ever thought, or would admit to ourselves.

It would appear the front office finally is committed to building the team the right way. With the draft and young hungry free agents. Forget selling jerseys, forget ads with flashy names and fun catch phrases. Only one stat is important now. . . wins.

Mike Shanahan gets a lot of heat for being a control freak, and in some ways he probably deserves it. It has been the fashionable thing to say if you work for ESPN or NFL Network over the last several months. “Donovan McNabb deserves more respect than this”, “If you have a talent like Haynesworth you HAVE to find away to get him on the field”, bla bla bla.

Shanahan IS a control freak, but honestly it’s in the best possible way. He has brought two things that this team has lacked; Accountability and Discipline.

Sure it might sound silly to make players run after practice because they are double parked at Redskins Park, I mean after all these are grown men right? Only a lunatic would keep a talent like Albert Haynesworth off the field no matter how he acts, I mean he dominates the line of scrimmage right? No one is stupid enough to bench Donovan McNabb, I mean the guy is a superstar right?

Wrong, Mike Shanahan believes in one thing… Team. He has made a career out of finding the pieces that fit the puzzle that is his system, and creating a team atmosphere. Not making his system fit the strengths of “Superstars” Like McNabb.

So what’s the point?

The media can bash this team all they want and label Mike as whatever they want but, his process is proven, and his system brings success. He knows who fits where and honestly doesn’t care what your name is. Looking back at the trades of the last two seasons our front office has been nothing short of brilliant.

In an uncapped year Bruce and Mike managed to dump all the over bloated salaries that consistently put us in “Cap Hell”. And outside of the McNabb trade, truthfully the trades have been solid.
Adam Carriker for swapping 5th round picks. Completely restocking the 2011 draft and getting SOLID value at every pick. Picking up Tim Hightower who looks to be the next franchise running back in DC for Vonnie Holliday, who lets just be real wasn’t going to be on this roster. Every single addition meets a specific need, and anyone would be hard pressed to say the Redskins lost on any of the deals.

And oh, by the way we are going into this season with significant cap room that will allow us to resign our own guys like Laron Landry, while not having to bend over backward to have cap room in the future. Out friends in Dallas, not so much. Americas team already has significant cap issues for NEXT season, not to mention the headache this offseason was for them.

The clincher is this, the Skins actually have depth, for the first time that I can ever remember. The defensive line looks like any rotation will be solid, and the O line looks like they they are taking significant steps forward. At WR I don’t know if anyone can choose who should actually be cut(outside of Malcolm Kelly who has been a far cry from healthy in his DC career). Even at QB through half of the preseason it looks like we have two guys who are more than capable of winning games.

John Beck who according to the “experts” can barely put on his Jock, is taking strides to once again prove that Mike Shanahan has magical QB powers that should NEVER be questioned.

Yeah I know, its preseason. I know that it doesn’t matter that the Redskins lead the NFL in Offense and Defense right now. I know that it doesn’t matter that they dominated perennial AFC Championship contenders in Pittsburg, and Indianapolis. I understand that no one game plans or shows there hand. But for a fan base who more often than not saw this team look sloppy and confused in preseason it is a welcome change.

I don’t think you would rather look terrible in the preseason and lose. Even if you lose you want to look sharp and this team has been absolutely pristine.

For the first time in two decades it looks like the Washington Redskins organization actually has a plan, and a purpose. The players play and the coaches coach. They may not have the number one selling jersey on shop.nfl.com and finally that is ok. This team is actually going to line up and play, they are actually going to care what the outcome is, and that is a huge positive.

Don’t crown this team champion, but don’t count them out. They have nothing to lose and the world to gain, and in the NFL those teams can be the most dangerous.

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About Ray Smith

Ray Smith is the Head Writer and Senior Editor of www.sonofwashington.com as well as the Host of the SonOfWashington Podcast. Follow Ray on Twitter @SonOfWashington

Posted on August 23, 2011, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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