- Egypt rights center raided, 2 Mubaraks acquitted
- New Mexico Supreme Court rules same-sex marriage constitutional
- Blame Bush: 5 years later, that’s still the mantra, pollsters find
- Dutch prostitutes demand same retirement benefits as soccer stars
- John McCain to Harry Reid: I’ll ‘kick the crap’ out of you
- Dogs that talk: Researchers seek $10K for ‘No More Woof’ technology
- 1,000 firefighters called to battle stubborn Big Sur wildfire
- Black Friday brouhaha: Millions of Target shoppers hit by credit card theft
- Britain orders airplane to rescue citizens from violent South Sudan
- Mega Millions winner emerges as Georgia mom, in ‘disbelief’
DALY: Second (year) and goal to go
Question of the Day
'There are no five-year plans in the NFL," Joe Gibbs is fond of saying. "I don't care who you are. You'd better start winning pretty quick."
He's right, of course. By Year 2, a coach needs to show real progress — or rather, his team does. Certain allowances can be made for Year 1, which is usually a time for taking inventory (and doing some moderate-to-heavy housecleaning). The second year, though, is all about trajectory — preferably upward rather than downward.
This is the situation Mike Shanahan finds himself in with the Redskins. His bumpy 6-10 first season is in the books, and it's imperative that he improves on it. Otherwise, well, you know the deal. Folks might begin to wonder whether, at 59, the game has passed him by. They might even begin to wonder whether he was ever as good as his two Super Bowl wins in Denver suggested.
Think about it: George Allen took the Redskins to the Super Bowl in Year 2. Gibbs, in his first term, won the Super Bowl in Year 2. In fact, let's look at some recent Redskins coaches and see how many passed the Year 2 test:
c Norv Turner I (passed): 3-13 in Year 1 (1994, under longtime owner Jack Kent Cooke), 6-10 in Year 2. Wound up coaching in Washington for almost seven seasons.
c Norv Turner II (failed): 10-6 and a division title in Year 1 (1999, under new owner Dan Snyder), 7-6 and out of the playoffs in Year 2. Snyder fired him with three games left in the 2000 season — not that it accomplished anything.
(Note: Because of the ownership change, Turner actually had to prove his worth twice.)
• Steve Spurrier (failed): 7-9 in Year 1 (2002), 5-11 in Year 2. Resigned after the '03 season and, after taking a year off, returned to college coaching at South Carolina.
• Gibbs II (passed): 6-10 in Year 1 (2004), 10-6 and a wild card berth in Year 2. Also made the playoffs in Year 4 before retiring for a second time.
• Jim Zorn (failed): 8-8 in Year 1 (2008), 4-12 in Year 2. Was canned as soon as he stepped off the plane from San Diego after the '09 season finale.
The pattern is fairly well-established — in Washington, at least. If things are on the upswing in your second year, you get to keep your job. If not, you might want to put together your resume. Which isn't to say the boss will run out of patience with Shanahan if the Redskins aren't in the playoff hunt this year. Snyder has invested many millions in Shanny and might be inclined to give him another season or two. But how many of us would bet the house on it, given Snyder's impulsiveness?
In Shanahan's second year in Denver, by the way, the Broncos made major strides, going from a middle-of-the-pack 8-8 to an AFC-best 13-3. (The next season, they won the first of back-to-back Super Bowls.) But it's hard to imagine the Redskins winning five more games this year than they did in 2010. They've made some nice roster additions - Barry Cofield, O.J. Atogwe, Tim Hightower, Chris Chester - but an 11-5 record seems a little out of reach, especially with so much uncertainty at quarterback.
That said, their depth is undeniably better, almost across the board. And while they're still very much a work in progress, they appear headed in the right direction. The 350-pound weight of Albert Haynesworth has been lifted from everyone's shoulders — he's New England's problem now — and the infusion of a large draft class and several other young players has created a sense of renewal. This is no longer an old team, it's one whose best football is likely ahead of it. The question is: How far in the future are we talking about? December? Next year? The year after that?
The year after that, after all, would be Year 4, and four years are an eon by Dan Snyder's Rolex. They're also pushing the limits of Gibbs' dictum: "There are no five-year plans in the NFL." But first things first: Shanahan needs to find seven wins on the 2011 schedule, maybe eight, to keep hope alive in Redskinsland. Otherwise, there's no telling what might happen — as Turner, Spurrier and Zorn can attest.
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Dan Daly has been writing about sports for the Washington Times since 1982. He has won numerous national and local awards, appears regularly in NFL Films’ historical features and is the co-author of “The Pro Football Chronicle,” a decade-by-decade history of the game. Follow Dan on Twitter at @dandalyonsports –- or e-mail him at email@example.com.
- DALY: Rookies RG3, Alfred Morris hold their own against two Browns greats
- DALY: Players soon may equate Redskins with winning
- DALY: Quarterbacks waste no time making impact
- DALY: Just the tip of the iceberg for these Redskins
- DALY: Striking a balance integral to Redskins’ success
Latest Blog Entries
By Andrew P. Napolitano
Fourth Amendment says Obama is not at liberty to collect metadata
- Homeland Security helps smuggle illegal immigrant children into the U.S.
- Gov't wasted $30 billion on 'pillownauts,' crystal goblets -- buying human urine!
- Duck Dynasty Phil Robertson suspended indefinitely for gay quip
- Obamacare 'pajamas boy' gets roundly mocked
- In court filing, NCAA denies legal duty to protect athletes
- Bill Gates: The Secret Santa disguised as a 'friendly fellow' on Reddit
- Democrats cite pope in call for minimum wage hike, jobless benefits
- BOLTON: Nero in the White House
- U.S. Army mulls wiping out memory of Robert E. Lee, 'Stonewall' Jackson
- Half of America strips religion from Christmas
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Television commentary, reviews, news and nonstop DVR catch-up by Lisa King Dolloff and friends.
Entertainment News and Reviews from Washington, D.C. and beyond.
Top 10 handguns in the U.S.
Extraordinary day at Redskins Park
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow