Mike Shanahan followed the tradition of Redskins coaches by leaving a trail of wreckage behind him — a steaming, heaping pile of controversy and chaos.
It is the Redskins way of the 21st century.
But he leaves behind a list of questions and mysteries as well.
The Washington Post attempted to answer some of those questions and mysteries in a Sunday report. But questions remain, and those questions leave a confusing picture of the two-time Super Bowl-winning coach.
Like this one — the story says that Mike Shanahan, faced with his first and most important decision as the Redskins’ head coach, just let owner Daniel Snyder pick his quarterback.
You want Donovan McNabb? Yeah, what the hell, it’s not like I’ve got a quarterback here anyway.
Now the image we have of Mike Shanahan is that of a dictator — a my-way-or-the-highway guy. He also has a reputation as a quarterback guru, so it is reasonable to assume he thinks pretty highly of his ability to pick quarterbacks, and it is reasonable to assume that since he is a so-called quarterback expert, he would want to determine who would be his first quarterback in Washington.
Add to this the various accounts of Mike Shanahan’s contract — ironclad, total, absolute control over all football decisions — and we are to believe that he just “indulged” the owner in the most important position on the field?
If that is true, then Mike Shanahan is the Sybil of NFL coaches.
There is Mike Shanahan the coach and vice president of football operations who has dictated who has what parking spaces at Redskins Park. Then there is Mike Shanahan the coach and vice president of football operations who indulges the owner concerning the team’s quarterback position.
This is like, I don’t know, Albert Haynesworth knocking on Shanahan’s door and saying, “Coach, can I run more sprints?”
It doesn’t make sense.
Then it really gets mysterious, because Shanahan the dictator did it again.
When it came time for the 2012 draft and the deal was there for the Redskins to trade their future for the St. Louis Rams second pick in the draft — Andrew Luck, or the presumed second pick, Heisman Trophy winner Robert “SuperBob” Griffin III — the story says that Shanahan had “concerns” about the deal: about Griffin’s ability to play in a pro style offense and the number of draft choices the Redskins would give up to draft him. The cost would be three first-round picks and a second round choice.
Again, we are to believe that on this decision — the most important one in the last 20 years for this franchise, the decision that could make or break the future of the team’s offensive coordinator, his son, Kyle — Mike Shanahan just went along with what Snyder wanted.
Mind you, based on what we believe about Mike Shanahan’s power, he could have said to Snyder, “Dan, you can pick who you want with our seventh-round choice. Leave the important stuff to us.”
No. Mike Shanahan had “concerns,” but what the heck, SuperBob seems like a nice kid. And I really like his father.
In a field filled with quarterback talent — Ryan Tannehill, Russell Wilson … dare I say it … Kirk Cousins, and Nick Foles, who Shanahan coached in the Senior Bowl — Mike Shanahan let the owner chose the Redskins future quarterback.
It doesn’t make sense — though it may explain why Mike Shanahan picked Cousins in the fourth round, after the team had already drafted SuperBob.
It’s like Clinton Portis telling Joe Gibbs, “Coach, can I stay for some work after practice?”
Finally, we are to believe that Mike Shanahan felt “forced” to start SuperBob, coming off reconstructive knee surgery, in this season’s opening game, when it was obvious to even uneducated observers that he wasn’t ready to play.
Mike Shanahan was scared, so he started SuperBob.
If all this is true, then the only two quarterbacks Mike Shanahan actually wanted here in Washington were Rex Grossman and John Beck.
That’s hard to believe.
It’s like, let’s say, I don’t know, Bruce Allen holding a press conference.
There’s one more unanswered question, one more mystery that Mike Shanahan leaves behind — what happened to that $15,000 he lost in Pittsburgh last year?
• Thom Loverro is co-host of “The Sports Fix,”noon to 2 p.m. daily on ESPN 980 radio and espn980.com