- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 25, 2010

ASHBURN, Va. | Chaos be gone. Order has been restored to the Washington Redskins.

Two Redskins took a break from offseason conditioning to speak to reporters Tuesday, and they couldn’t have stated more clearly the change in atmosphere under new coach Mike Shanahan. A strong leader who has undisputed power is a welcome polar opposite from the setup that had a weakened coach, Jim Zorn, looking over his shoulder at owner Dan Snyder and front office chief Vinny Cerrato.

“The thing with coach Shanahan is that you know he is our coach. You know he is the leader,” Pro Bowl linebacker Brian Orakpo said.

In other words, the days of many chiefs with competing agendas are over. Cerrato was ousted, Snyder is taking a back seat in football operations, and new general manager Bruce Allen is more of a partner than an antagonist for Shanahan.

“Don’t get me wrong. I’m not going to sit here and just say the last group here was just ‘pffft,’” receiver Santana Moss said. “I enjoyed coach Zorn and his staff. Right now, some of the things that have been done here, you can tell it’s coming from our coach himself. That’s the attitude I get now.

“When you have a coach that’s hands-on with a team, you know he’s trying to take the team to the right place. When you have someone that’s here, but he can’t say or do this and that, you don’t get what you want. You get what we had.”

What they had was 4-12, the Redskins’ worst season in 15 years.

It’s easy to spout empty praise for a new coach, but Orakpo and Moss offered concrete examples. The team’s workout program has turned a 360.

“I’m all about organization and structure,” Orakpo said. “Last year was a mess. I won’t bash anybody, but it was a mess as far as we go in and we leave. It really wasn’t structured.”

“Everything is better organized,” Moss added. “You can see the guys coming in on time, even from the training room. If you’re not on time, you’ve got to fill in the next spot. There’s no coming in a minute late and saying you’re just going to jump into the treatment or the workout or whatever. You have to be on time. That’s the thing you see instant change in. I think that can take us a long way, too, with just everybody being accountable for some of the little things.”

Shanahan is setting the tone in other ways. At the NFL owners’ meetings this week, he said Clinton Portis needs to shed some weight and that he “totally” disagrees with Albert Haynesworth’s decision to skip the offseason conditioning program. Those aren’t a couple of unknown backups the coach is picking on — those are two of the highest-paid, highest-profile players around.

The others are taking notice.

“From the first day he stepped in at Redskins Park there was a tone set,” Orakpo said, “a message that everyone has to bring their ‘A’ game — or they won’t be here.”

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