HARRIS: By raising Redskins’ standards, Mike Shanahan has earned a measure of patience

Plus, like Beamer was at Virginia Tech, Shanahan is a bit hamstrung. Remember, the NFL socked the Skins with a $36 million cap hit over two seasons (last year and this year) for some earlier contract shenanigans. Merited or not, a $36 million hit is significant. It greatly limited how much the Redskins were able to do in free agency.

With an extra $18 million to spend, the Redskins ought to be able to get 3-4 pretty good pieces to augment the other roster improvements Shanahan has already made. A defensive back. An offensive lineman. The possibilities are endless.

It is still too early to completely write off the 2013 season, particularly considering the Skins were 3-6 last season and won seven straight to finish the season.

It’s just hard to see that kind of thing happening again, particularly with the likes of Denver, San Francisco, Atlanta and resurgent Kansas City ahead. Not to mention another date with Dallas. Funny, who had two games against the Giants as likely victories when the season started?

If the Skins do somehow finish 8-8, it may qualify as a miracle. A 6-10 record appears more likely, quite a comedown after a 10-6 season.

But progress has been made, even if the results don’t show it this year. Shanahan may have to shake up his coaching staff, may have to make some difficult choices in the offseason. But sticking with him is a much better call than hitting reset again and letting someone else try. Shanahan has raised the bar, which is why everyone is so upset at 1-4 right now.

It’s no longer the norm or even close to acceptable. No one knows that more than Shanahan does. Let him fix it.

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