The Armchair Quarterback’s Guide To The NFL: Week 15

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September 16, 2012; St. Louis, MO, USA; Washington Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan looks on as his team plays the St. Louis Rams during the first half at the Edward Jones Dome. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

The Armchair Quarterback’s Take Of The Week

The Washington Redskins Are The Biggest Mess In Professional Sports

The Washington Redskins are a hot mess.

Actually, that might be too derogatory to the term “hot mess”.

They are, without question, the most dysfunctional organization in professional sports right now.

I know what a team in complete disarray looks like. I’m a fan of the team that owned this same distinction last season, the Kansas City Chiefs. I’ll spare you the gory details, but let’s just say that it was the biggest pile of flaming “poo” that I have ever witnessed in all my years of following sports. So as I sat on Sunday and watched my reborn team throttle the Redskins it actually brought back some painful memories. A year ago, that was my team. As the fans fled the stadium like there was a bomb threat in the 2nd half, I could relate. I’ve been there.

So why are the Redskins such a mess?

Let me count the ways……

First off, Mike Shanahan should be fired. There is absolutely no reason that he should still be employed by the Washington Redskins. Actually, that’s not completely accurate. There is one reason that Mike Shanahan is still employed, and his name is Daniel Snyder. The reason Snyder is keeping Shanahan around is because he is trying to figure out a way to fire him without paying him what is due on his contract. So basically, he’s putting his personal finances over the good of his team. That’s nice. The way that works is that Snyder can get away with not paying Shanahan if he can prove there was special circumstances that justified his firing and void his remaining contract.

You know which team was the last to try this?

That would be the Kansas City Chiefs when then GM Scott Pioli tried to do just that with former coach Todd Haley….the parallels continue.

The most important reason that Shanahan should be fired is because he has clearly lost his team. The team I saw on Sunday had completely checked out. They aren’t playing hard. They’ve given up. When that happens there is no reason to keep a coach around. When you are out of playoff contention, the only thing you have to gain is experience and assessing who on the current roster should be part of the long term plans. When a team has checked out like the Redskins were on Sunday, you can’t get anything out of a game like that. It’s wasted opportunity and it’s just putting the Redskins farther behind in their rebuilding process.

Not only are the Redskins NOT getting anything positive out of these remaining games, but Mike Shanahan is literally sabotaging his own team. Instead of fighting things out to the end like an honorable man would, or at least having the decency to step down, Shanahan has decided he’s going to burn the whole place to the ground on his way out of the door. He’s leaking information to the press right before games just to piss off his owner and he’s almost declared an open revolt against his own franchise quarterback in the press to boot.

I don’t know what makes me the most sick about this situation: that Shanahan would treat a team he is suppose to be leading in such a way, that his owner is so worried about his money and “winning” this battle of wills that he’ll let his team suffer instead of firing the weasel, or that Shanahan (despite this deplorable behavior) will probably have no problem finding another head coaching job.

If I was an NFL owner I wouldn’t touch Mike Shanahan with a ten foot pole.

The really bad news for Redskins fans is that half of the problem (Snyder) can’t be replaced unless Snyder willingly decides to sell the team. That’s the difference between the dumpster fire in KC last year and this year’s Washington team. Scott Pioli could be run out of town and Daniel Snyder can’t. Eventually, (probably sooner rather than later) Shanahan will get his wish and will be fired, but then what?

What really good coach is going to come work for Daniel Snyder? Snyder has reached Jerry Jones status in that his involvement is so much that he needs a coach that is okay with being second fiddle to his owner. However, the best coaches don’t usually fit that profile. So instead, they have to hire coaches that are second rate and that rarely works out. Snyder has thrown money at big names, but it has so far ended in disaster. He couldn’t get along with consistent winner Marty Schotenheimer. The Stever Spurrier experiment was an epic failure. Now the Shanahan years look to be the biggest flame out of all. So you can rule out getting another big name which leaves Snyder left to hire his next “Jim Zorn” caliber coach. I’m sure that will work out just great.

On top of all that, the franchise QB that they mortgaged their future for looks to have some major question marks around him. At times, it looks like he may think he’s above the team and could have lost the locker room just as much as Shanahan has. Is RGIII having a rough sophomore season? Yes, but who can blame him given the toxic work environment he’s operating in. People were saying a lot of the same things about Cam Newton last season when they were losing. Now they are winning and suddenly he’s “putting it all together”. Funny how those things go hand in hand. So I think there is still hope for RGIII if the right leadership can be put in place around him.

I’m just not sure that will happen on a team owned by Daniel Snyder.

If that wasn’t bad enough, I haven’t even touched the whole “Redskins” name drama. I’m not going to even take the time to get into that debate here, but it’s one more controversy surrounding this team that could be causing a distraction.

So I’m sorry Washington fans. I feel your pain. KC has at least shown everyone that if you have some talent on your roster (which you do) you can rebound quickly. Here’s to hoping that Snyder either sells the team or has the common sense to stay as far away from the football team as humanly possible and give a less “weasely” coach a chance to thrive. If he doesn’t, I fear your troubles may continue.

Now on to the Armchair Quarterback Week 15 Predictions………

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  • Brian Martasin

    No chiefs raiders score?!? Let me help you out: Chiefs 27 Faders 13

    • Lyle Graversen

      I’m not sure what happened. I must have deleted it somehow and just missed it on my proofread. I was pretty close to your score.

      Chiefs 27
      Raiders 17

  • Brian H

    Actually, I think it does happen when they’re driving their cars too! I live in Wichita and have witnessed numerous people turning into a store parking lot with the rear end of their car sticking into traffic (when there’s a turn lane for both directions), only to see said idiot in the store doing the same thing with their cart. The stupidity of people never ceases to amaze me.

    Love the article every week by the way, and miss reading all your stuff on AA

  • http://www.praverb.net/ Praverb

    Great article Lyle, Shanny has loss the locker room and this move with Cousins is blah. You don’t see Atlanta and Mike Smith throwing in the towel.

    The RGIII injury hurt the Redskins more than the Cap penalty. I think you had players in the locker room that believed that RGIII shouldn’t have been on the field.