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For those wondering if the cycle will ever end, try looking at front office politics. Schottenheimer was given full authority over roster decisions and had a strong finish in his only season, but he was fired because Snyder wanted to regain some of that personnel control.

Gibbs, also a buck-stops-here Hall of Fame coach, had his struggles but managed to coax two playoff appearances out of the team before announcing his retirement.

By contrast, when Snyder and front office pal Vinny Cerrato were more hands-on, the team looked almost ridiculous. The combined records under the strict coaches is significantly better than those compiled during the laid-back regimes.

So now it’s back to the firm hand. Shanahan has been given contractual control of personnel and isn’t taking flak from anyone, even disgruntled lineman Albert Haynesworth. Cerrato has been ousted and replaced by general manager Bruce Allen. Snyder is letting his new hires run the show _ at least for now.

“I think it’s a whole change of atmosphere here,” Rabach said. “It’s not just a change of coach. With Bruce Allen coming in, Vinny out, Mr. Snyder being more hands-off and letting these guys do it, I think that’s the biggest change.”

But, having been through so many 180-degree turns, Rabach wasn’t about to guarantee that this one will be a success.

“Who knows if this works?” he said with a shrug and a laugh. “You never know.”

Notes: RT Jammal Brown did not practice Wednesday due to a mild hip muscle strain. Shanahan said Brown had an MRI but was fine and would return Thursday. Brown sat out last season with the New Orleans Saints because of a hip injury and sports hernia. … WR Mike Furrey missed practice due to illness.