“We’re a football team,” Shanahan said. “We’d sure like to concentrate on that.”
OK, then. Let’s concentrate on the field, for a moment, in a game that carried less significance for the half-full stadium than your average preseason contest.
The group Shanahan assembled is nothing if not consistent: they’re just as capable of being embarrassed by an upper-division team as one with nothing left to play for save draft position.
Sure, Cousins actually hit receivers in stride and zipped through his progressions in the first start as bubble-wrapped quarterback Robert Griffin III watched from the sideline in sweats. But what success Cousins enjoyed came against the NFL’s No. 20 pass defense. That group appeared lost much of the game, and turned the Redskins’ erratic — to be charitable — group of receivers to play like a gang of All-Pros.
You may want put those fantasies about swapping Cousins for a variety pack of high-round draft picks to rest; this wasn’t an afternoon from which to draw meaningful conclusions.
The coach didn’t care to speak about Cousins‘ two interceptions or, for that matter, his three touchdown passes.
Oh, wait. Shanahan insisted on discussing what happened on the field. Except when he won’t.
The coach considers turnover ratio the most important statistic in football, but the slippery-fingered Redskins turned the ball over seven — yes, seven — times. The team finally discovered something it does better than drama: give away the football. In one cornea-searing sequence, the teams turned the ball over on three consecutive plays.
Last season, the Redskins turned the ball over 14 times. All year.
None of the ragged play and drive-crushing mistakes should come as a surprise to anyone who has watched these Redskins. Some teams find ways to win. They find ways to lose.
They’re 3-11 in a season that’s been defined as much by off-field dysfunction as on-field futility, crawling to a divorce with Shanahan that feels inevitable.
In what would’ve been the middle portion of Shanahan’s postgame press conference, a reporter asked if there’s anything the coach can do to stop the relentless media leaks that have become as much a part of Sundays as the Redskins losing.
“OK, thank you gentlemen,” Shanahan said before the question was finished.
Then the coach walked away.