Players who have been around for a few years are the first to admit that the Redskins regularly create more than their share of turmoil, but they agree with the owner’s sentiment: It was asking too much to expect Shanahan to clean up all the muck in one year.
“Last year, it was just a miserable feeling in the building. Very tough to come to work,” linebacker London Fletcher said. “And it started early. It started maybe around Week 3, Week 4. … That hasn’t been the case this year. Coach Shanahan, we all know that he has a track record that’s proven, he has a way and system that works, it’s just a matter of us continuing to work at it. We all want to have instant success. It’s just the way people are wired in this day and age. Instant coffee. Instant fast food. We want everything instant. This year, we want instant division championship, instant Super Bowls. We want to instantly be a top five defense, offense, special teams, and it’s not happening for us right now, but we’ve got to continue to improve.”
Shanahan was careful about preaching the message of patience early in the year. No sense in giving the players an excuse to have a bad season. Now that the Redskins are essentially out of the playoff picture, the coach’s remarks are on the same wavelength as the owner’s.
“Dan has really supportive since I’ve been here. He’s going to give me a chance to do things the right way, build this thing, build this organization the right way, and I thank him for doing it,” Shanahan said. “There’s going to be some growing pains. There’s going to be some mistakes we make along the way, but we’ll make them full speed ahead, and hopefully make enough right decisions where we can get this organization back to where it’s been.”
Notes: Defensive coordinator Jim Haslett gave the latest harsh assessment of Haynesworth on Thursday, saying “sooner or later he’s going to have to grow up and understand what’s going on.” ”Not everybody in the National Football League’s going to let Albert do what he wants on the field, it doesn’t work that way,” Haslett said. “Wherever he goes or stays here, it’s going to be under the same constraints. He wasn’t happy this year with the 3-4 (scheme)? He wasn’t happy last year with the 4-3? What else do you want to do? You want to run a 2-5?” Haslett also backed Shanahan’s decision to make Haynesworth inactive for last Sunday’s game against the New York Giants. “The guy doesn’t practice well on Thursday, about as poor as I’ve ever seen, and then Friday, (he has a) so-called ‘illness’ that he doesn’t practice,” Haslett said. “And you’re the head coach on Saturday night getting ready for Sunday, you’ve got to make a decision what’s best for the football club, and I think Mike made the right decision.”