Redskins linebacker London Fletcher, who announced his impending retirement on Wednesday, also endorsed the return of coach Mike Shanahan.
Multiple media reports in recent weeks have described a rift between Shanahan and Washington owner Dan Snyder. All Shanahan will say is that the two men will meet after the season and determine the next course of action. Shanahan has one year left on the five-year contract he signed in 2010.
“As I look at the current situation, I think coach Shanahan is definitely the right guy,” Fletcher said. “I think Mr. Snyder would be wise to let him see this thing through. Obviously, there’s going to have to be some changes made because right now we’ve won three ballgames. Even if we win these next two we’ll have five games so there is change that needs to take place, but I don’t think it needs to be with the head coach.”
Fletcher also touched on the organization’s history under Snyder. If you include interim coach Terry Robiskie, the interim coach in 2000 after Norv Turner was fired during the season, a new coach would be Snyder’s eighth in 16 seasons owning the team. That is not a recipe for success. The Redskins have made the playoffs just four times with two NFC East titles. They will have also won six games or fewer seven different times.
“One of the things that hasn’t happened around here in Washington since Mr. Snyder has owned this football team, there’s never been any stability at the head coach position,” Fletcher. “You’re talking about, I think, now the seventh head coach in, what, 14 years since he’s owned the team. And sometimes when I look at and study the winning franchises, the perennial winning franchises, you’re talking about New England, Pittsburgh, teams like that. Green Bay. Even Baltimore now. They have a sense of stability.”
But Fletcher went a step further than just endorsing Shanahan’s return. He doesn’t see a coach with one year left on his contract as a viable solution to the internal organizational squabbles, including the coaching staff’s relationship with quarterback Robert Griffin III.
“They’ll have money to spend this offseason, which you will definitely have some personnel changes,” Fletcher said. “That’s just the National Football League. [Shanahan] address every situation and go from there. But I also think it’ll be hard to do it with just one year left on his deal. You’re looking at the coach as a one-year deal, most people ‘Is he a lame duck?” But I think he should extend him as crazy as that sounds. But I think you extend him to continue to let him continue to build this thing the right way.”