Earlier this month, FOX’s John Czarnecki reported that the Redskins had twice approached Mike Shanahan regarding the possibility of taking over the team, and that Shanahan had twice declined.
A Redskins source promptly disputed this news.
But the Shanahan-Redskins link persists, dating back to offseason rumors of at least one meeting between the former Broncos coach and the ten-year Redskins owner and speculation that the pursuit of Jay Cutler and then Mark Sanchez was fueled by input from Shanahan.
Now, a Redskins source concedes to Thomas George of FanHouse.com that, indeed, Shanahan had been approached and that, yes, he said “no.”
“Shanahan told the franchise there was little he could do in the middle
of the season for them and that changing coaches during the season in
the NFL rarely works,” the unnamed Redskins management source told FanHouse. “Several people that Dan Snyder trusts
have suggested, if he makes a move, he should turn it over to secondary
coach Jerry Gray. That could still happen.”
This doesn’t mean that Shanahan won’t be the Redskins coach in 2010. And one of his terms (in addition to a salary greater than the $7 million he’ll earn from the Broncos by not working) likely will be a request that executive V.P. of football operations Vinny Cerrato be given his walking papers.
This might be why Cerrato and coach Jim Zorn’s fates are regarded as being intertwined. If it doesn’t work with Zorn and Snyder gets Shanahan, Cerrato will be out, just like he was when Snyder turned the keys over to Marty Schottenheimer in 2001.
The bigger question will be whether Snyder will be able to keep his spoon out of the stew for longer than one season. Eight years ago, Snyder fired Schottenheimer after only 16 games and brought back Cerrato and hired Steve Spurrier to be the coach.
Then there’s the question of whether Shanahan would again generate mixed results with final say over personnel, and whether he’d be able to overcome those mistakes via good coaching.
So, basically, the three-ring circus we’re seeing in D.C. probably won’t be ending at any point in the forseeable future.