- Associated Press - Monday, December 30, 2013

ASHBURN, VA. (AP) - Mike Shanahan reached into the presidential playbook for his Washington Redskins farewell address, plucking a line that would fit nicely into the concession speech of a candidate who couldn’t win re-election.

“We’re better off today,” the coach said, “than we were four years ago.”

Whether the Redskins are actually better off, or whether Shanahan’s words are merely the football equivalent of political rhetoric, he won’t be around to prove the point. He was fired Monday after a 3-13 season, his plan to restore professionalism and consistent success to the franchise having disintegrated into a sea of tension and losing.

“Four years ago,” general manager Bruce Allen said, “we thought we did the right thing. … Unfortunately, today, our results aren’t what we hoped.”

Shanahan was dismissed after a morning meeting with Allen and owner Dan Snyder, a formality expected for several weeks as Washington wrapped up its worst season since 1994. The coach went 24-40 in four Redskins seasons and had one year remaining on his five-year, $35 million contract.

Redskins fans deserve a better result,” Snyder said in a statement released by the team.

Snyder was not available for further comment. He is now seeking his eighth head coach for his 16th season as an NFL owner _ a span that includes just four winning seasons, two playoff victories and seven last-place finishes in the NFC East.

Allen, however, said that Snyder is “still one of the great fans” and isn’t the source of the problem.

“It’s not Dan calling the plays, it’s not Dan picking the plays. It’s the people he’s hired,” Allen said. “It’s our job to actually turn this team into a winner.”

Allen also announced a new power structure, saying the team’s next coach will not have the all-encompassing role held by Shanahan. Allen said he has an “open list” as he begins the search for a replacement, including NFL and college coaches, but that he will assume of the duties of having final say over the roster.

“That power will be with me,” Allen said.

Shanahan had a five-minute turn at the podium, thanking fans, players, reporters and Snyder. The coach did not take questions but instead defended his efforts to rebuild the Redskins while repeating his assertion that an NFL-levied salary cap penalty hindered his ability to improve the roster even more.

“Any time you take a look at some of the cap situations that we went through, it’s always tough to have depth,” Shanahan said. “And that’s what I thought really hurt us this year.”

Asked if he agreed with Shanahan that the team is better off than four years ago, Allen said: “In ways, yes.”

“There is a nucleus for success,” Allen said. “And we saw it just a year ago.”

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