- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Once again, it’s time to check off some items on my “TIDU List” - Things I Don’t Understand:

• Why the heat on Mike Shanahan has risen since Sunday.

Folks are aghast at the Redskins’ three-game losing streak and butt-ugly shutout against Buffalo. The 3-1 start is a distant memory, but Shanahan has instilled a professional atmosphere and upgraded the roster (though not enough). Coaches on five-year deals deserve an evaluation period longer than 23 games.

But since bad personnel decisions were his undoing in Denver, maybe someone else should handle those duties.

• How Kyle Shanahan can reclaim his label of ‘budding guru.’

The 31-year-old was fast-tracked to the ranks of NFL coordinator, becoming the league’s youngest in 2008. He enjoyed some success with defensively-challenged, pass-happy Houston, which boasted a top-four offense during his tenure. But the Texans had Matt Schaub and Andre Johnson playing pitch and catch.

Which goes to prove that players with the right last name outweigh Kyle having the right last name.

• Why so many coaches stick around instead of leaving on top.

Tony La Russa is the first manger to retire immediately after the World Series, perfect timing for the 67-year-old skipper. Bill Walsh retired as the 49ers coach after winning his third Super Bowl. Red Auerbach retired as Celtics coach after winning his eighth consecutive NBA title.

Too bad they’re exceptions; no one enjoys cringing as JoePa dodges players on Penn State’s sideline.

• How Albert Pujols can find a better situation if he leaves.

St. Louis prides itself on being the best baseball city, and it’s hard to disagree. Cardinals fans are among the most knowledgeable, loyal and fervent - not to mention the most respectful. Pujols is virtually worshipped in the city where he built his legacy as an all-time great.

Nicknamed “The Machine,” he doesn’t have a heart if he signs elsewhere for a few more million dollars.

• Why the loser of LSU-Alabama is out of the title hunt.

Determining mythical champs can be messy. Especially when multiple teams are undefeated, or BCS teams are weighed against lesser-pedigree teams. But LSU and Alabama should play for the title if they’re deemed the best two at season’s end, regardless of Saturday’s outcome.

It shouldn’t matter that they’ve already met; rematches are a fact of life in the playoffs - uh, I mean in the postseason.

• How meeting with the commissioner will hurt Ndamukong Suh.

Give the Detroit Lions defensive tackle credit for seeking a sit-down with Roger Goodell. Suh has been fined three times for rough hits on QBs since last season, and he has three personal fouls in eight games this year. He said he wants a better understanding of the rules.

Suh might not change his style of play, but his initiative could earn him some slack.

c Why the Terps have regressed so much under Randy Edsall.

Maryland was 9-4 last year in Ralph Friedgen’s final season, and a similar record was expected with Edsall at the helm. But the Terps have gone belly-up since their season-opening win, putting Edsall’s iron-fist approach in a harsh light. It’s like he’s trying to be Bob Knight without the credentials.

But give Edsall this much: Never has a team so bad looked so good.

• How the Nationals could have done better than Davey Johnson.

The Nats offered a sneak peek of 2012 with a 14-4 run to end last season, sweeping Philly and helping to knock Atlanta out of the playoffs. Johnson will handle the clubhouse and help GM Mike Rizzo construct a better roster. He’ll enter spring training with a contender on his hands.

A new name should be atop Johnson’s shopping list for Christmas gifts: Jim Riggleman.

• Why Tim Tebow fans have a hard time admitting the obvious.

He seems like a great guy who you wouldn’t mind as a son-in-law. His values, work ethic and leadership skills are fantastic. But he’s such a poor passer it’s embarrassing, like the Broncos are playing a bad joke by letting him try. Unfortunately, Tebow won’t improve just because he calls on a higher power.

Yes, God answers prayer; and sometimes the answer is “no.”

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