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Mike Shanahan doesn’t like the word “rebuilding”

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Redskins coach Mike Shanahan looked mighty grumpy after Sunday’s 19-11 loss to the 49ers and he didn’t seem to be in a much better mood at his Monday press conference.

It didn’t help that the Washington press corps kept asking him questions about whether or not the team was rebuilding. It started with a question about why Shanahan has refused to use the word during his first 24 games as the team’s coach which led to a back-and-forth about playing young players.

“Like I said, I’m not even sure what you mean by rebuilding,” Shanahan said. “You said playing young players. Well, they’re our backup players. When you lose a starter that’s a better player and you play a young guy, you’re playing your next-best player. Is that considered rebuilding, because you’re playing your next-best player? No, I don’t believe so. You’re trying to win a football game. If those are the 46 guys on your team, then the next-best guy is gonna go out there and play.”

Fair enough. The Redskins certainly have had a lot of injuries this season and few teams are deep enough to put established players into the lineup when such things happen. But then he gave a curious answer to a question about hiring his son Kyle to run the offense.

“I’m the one that told Kyle not to come,” Shanahan said. “I said this is gonna be a work in progress. It’s not gonna happen overnight. You’re with an established team. You’ve got your ducks in order. I said we’re gonna have to rebuild this football team, starting on offense. He understood that, and he enjoyed the challenge, and that’s what we’re doing.”

There’s that word that Shanahan took such issue with a little earlier. Unless Shanahan was lying to his son in order to convince him not to take the job, which is unlikely since he could have just hired a different offensive coordinator, then he’s obviously pretty aware of what it means to rebuild a football team. Which is interesting in light of Shanahan saying that the team wasn’t rebuilding right now.

That response naturally led to another question about whether or not that answer was at odds with the idea that the team is rebuilding.

“No, I said when I first came in that we had to change,” Shanahan said. “If you look at [it], our center has changed from when I came in, our left guard has changed from when I came in, our left tackle has changed, our right tackle has changed. Our tight ends changed through injury. Both our wide receivers, our halfback. I say that is rebuilding a football team. Now, with the draft, free agency, getting some young players playing as second teamers, and they’re getting a chance to see what they can do… Now if that’s what you call rebuilding, then we’re rebuilding.”

It isn’t hard to understand why coaches loathe the word rebuilding. It sets up an expectation of losing that usually doesn’t lead to continued employment. Some of this is clearly semantic, but there’s no doubt that the Redskins are in a period of transition/rejuvenation/repair/insert another synonym for rebuilding that is still a fair distance from completion.

But, to answer Shanahan’s question: Yes, that sounds an awful lot like what we’d call rebuilding.

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51 Responses to “Mike Shanahan doesn’t like the word “rebuilding””
  1. InFact says: Nov 7, 2011 6:20 PM

    Report: Shanahan signs John Elway to practice squad. Jeff George was worked out, but not signed.

  2. snarkzilla says: Nov 7, 2011 6:29 PM

    Hmm. The decisions to go with Grossman and Beck and then to actually start Beck seem more like demolition than rebuilding.

  3. geniusesq says: Nov 7, 2011 6:33 PM

    I don’t mind that the Skins are “rebuilding.” But, I do mind that they’ve been “rebuilding” for 19 years though. I understand that construction takes a while, but the fans are getting antsy.

  4. vysethelegend says: Nov 7, 2011 6:36 PM

    He probably doesn’t like that word because he’s failed at doing that with his resume since Elway retired.

  5. The Phantom Stranger says: Nov 7, 2011 6:37 PM

    I wonder what he thinks of the word “termination.”

  6. bucks12965 says: Nov 7, 2011 6:41 PM

    Right about now…Jim Zorn isn’t looking too bad.

    At least his poor coaching job was done at a bargain basement price.

  7. deadmanwalking47 says: Nov 7, 2011 6:43 PM

    can’t expect the man to build a team two seasons after the owner and ex gm had free reign over 10 years to destroy it can you?shanahan should have known better than to go into this season with such a pathetic Oline and the two worst qbs in the history of the redskins. anybody would have been an improvement over beck or grossman!

  8. champgiff says: Nov 7, 2011 6:55 PM

    ….which is why he’s no longer in Denver. He refused to rebuild his defense.

  9. nineroutsider says: Nov 7, 2011 7:03 PM

    Jason Campbell is a free agent this year…

  10. thegonz13 says: Nov 7, 2011 7:11 PM

    OK, let’s avoid the word “rebuilding”.

    How does “deconstructing” work for you… Is that better?

  11. rayala3 says: Nov 7, 2011 7:13 PM

    Shanahan, do you have good QB? Then you’re rebuilding.

  12. humb0lt says: Nov 7, 2011 7:15 PM

    How can Shanahan expect to win with John Beck or Rex Grossman at QB?

  13. sf69ers says: Nov 7, 2011 7:16 PM

    Hiring Haslett and switching from 4-3 to 3-4 set this team back. Defense was good, his job was to fix the offense. Instead he changed systems on both sides of the ball and is in a clear REBUILDING stage. Still am laughing over him giving Travis Henry a lie detector test.

  14. jahbird says: Nov 7, 2011 7:18 PM

    They’re rebuilding, but you can’t expect 53 guys to give their all when you go in front of the press and say “we don’t expect these guys to actually win.”

    Part of setting the expectation to win, is removing the vocabulary of losing.

  15. calzone21411 says: Nov 7, 2011 7:27 PM

    Cerrato was never the GM by the way. He was VP of Football Operations. At the heart of the Redskins problems has been a lack of proper structure in the front office. We haven’t had a true GM since Danny boy fired Charley Casserly in 1999.

  16. rowbear says: Nov 7, 2011 7:35 PM

    People need to stop harping on Beck and Grossman. What do you expect from Shanahan? This is the guy who traded for McNabb. How did that work out? Shanahan thought he could come in and win and that failed. Why, because he is a terrible coach. Yes, the Redskins have an even bigger issue with Snyder, but Shanahan is not the answer.

    The Redskins will not finish above .500 with Shanahan as coach and will not make the playoffs until Snyder allows a coach to stay more than 3 years. With that being said, as long as Dan Snyder is owner of the Redskins, they will win a championship.

  17. nineroutsider says: Nov 7, 2011 7:37 PM

    “Shanny” is done Skins fans. He just another damaged retread laying alongside the freeway. Hire a hungry assistant like Perry Fewell, Mike Zimmer, or Chuck Pagano.

  18. elmoron says: Nov 7, 2011 7:55 PM

    He doesn’t like the word “rebuilding”? Many feel the same way about the word “nepotism”.

  19. vikesfansteve says: Nov 7, 2011 8:09 PM

    Since he made the awful choice to start Beck at QB he doesn’t like the word “win” either.

  20. hoopjack says: Nov 7, 2011 8:12 PM

    Since you deleted my first post I’ll repeat myself.

    “It isn’t hard to understand why coaches loathe the word rebuilding. It sets up an expectation of losing ”

    OK you know this, and still write the article?

    How bout you rebuild your skills and write a better article… did I say rebuild? I ment retool.
    Yeah that sounds better, wouldn’t want you to up and quit on us now:)

  21. totallydisgusted says: Nov 7, 2011 8:12 PM

    The skins are improving under shanahan but its gonna be a long brutal process(like water boarding). This next draft he’s gotta get depth on the O line and a quarterback to groom.

  22. trickbunny says: Nov 7, 2011 8:13 PM

    It must be a terrible feeling realizing you need to fire your own son. Ouch.

  23. MadDog Rickles says: Nov 7, 2011 8:16 PM

    REBUILDING? don’t talk about–REBUILDING? your kidding me–REBUILDING?

  24. rowbear says: Nov 7, 2011 8:24 PM


    I meant to say that the Redskins will NEVER win a championship with Snyder as owner.

  25. Sean Williams says: Nov 7, 2011 8:25 PM

    Wonders if he would like “Your Fired” better?

  26. timtheenchanter1 says: Nov 7, 2011 8:42 PM

    He just doesn’t want to mislead anyone. Rebuilding implies there is an intent to eventually build something and that is simply not the Snyder-Redskins way.

  27. blackqbwhiterb says: Nov 7, 2011 8:44 PM

    If they can have another draft like this last one, but get a QB and a few big time offensive linemen they will be in good shape. Kyle’s going to mature, defense will keep improving. They simply need to stay the course building through the draft for 3 straight years, and keep the staff consistent….

  28. tinkletinkleonyourstar says: Nov 7, 2011 8:48 PM

    ya- he doesn’t want to use that word because it implies future expectations.

  29. imaduffer says: Nov 7, 2011 8:54 PM

    It’s not Shanahan’s fault, just ask him.

  30. campion663 says: Nov 7, 2011 9:00 PM

    The whole “touch football” NFL sucks. Bring back the real game that real men played in the 70’s…Thank God for hockey.

  31. claydefayette says: Nov 7, 2011 9:18 PM

    Rebuilding is better than hearing deteriorating.

  32. splashtacular says: Nov 7, 2011 9:39 PM

    Just trade down for Luck, give away the whole fuc*in farm for him and build around that.

  33. jonasgrumbyoftx says: Nov 7, 2011 10:22 PM

    OK then. How about “collapsing”?

  34. 6kings says: Nov 7, 2011 10:45 PM

    Shanahan should rebuild his name into something respectable. Step one…rise to the Childress level. Step two…rise to Mornhinweg.

  35. Always On Slightly Off says: Nov 7, 2011 10:54 PM

    Shanahan does not care what the fans think or what the media thinks and that’s his problem. He only cares about what he thinks and clearly he thinks he’s right and they are not rebuilding. Maybe he should think about life after football.

  36. souldogdave says: Nov 8, 2011 12:50 AM

    Shanarat is grasping at straws. And if you catch him in a lie, he will just lie his way out, like you can’t see the rat squirm.His attempt at a dynasty with young kyle shanarat is failing. The Ryans they’re not.

  37. cfbfaninbadnfltown says: Nov 8, 2011 12:53 AM

    Shanny doesn’t like the word rebuilding or offense, score, develop, McNabb, Hayensworth, talent and of course “shut out” my bad that is two words. I hope he enjoys doing press conferences from his house a year from now when he host another losing season and gets fired finally.

  38. 1fast84 says: Nov 8, 2011 1:50 AM

    I’m glad the skins started to lose after putting beck in, serves them right! Grossman played pretty good and he has one off game like normal qb’s do and he’s benched for beck. What kind of a-hole would bench a qb after one bad game after he just won 3?

  39. hedleykow says: Nov 8, 2011 3:30 AM

    Did Kyle ever figure out what the plays are, or is he still just saying a number like he is ordering from a Chinese menu?

    Ducks in a row? mmmmm, Kyle’s favorite dish is Peking Duck.

  40. hedleykow says: Nov 8, 2011 3:39 AM

    Peking Duck is #42 on a wrist band.

  41. nevin999 says: Nov 8, 2011 5:38 AM

    Shanahan is rebuilding! Shanahan is rebuilding! Neener-Neener-Neener…!! TAKE THAT, WORD MINCING NINNY!

  42. baddegg says: Nov 8, 2011 6:50 AM

    “I’m the one that told Kyle not to come.”

    I don’t get it. You are the head coach. Didn’t you get to pick your own offensive coordinator? Who asked Kyle to join the staff if not Mike?

  43. waltdawg says: Nov 8, 2011 7:34 AM

    Does he like other words like “Awful” “Disappointing” and “Bad offensive coordinator”

    What about expressions like we are so bad “I should put a brown paper bag over my head”?

  44. andyb053 says: Nov 8, 2011 7:54 AM

    Well written article…

  45. londonfletcher says: Nov 8, 2011 7:57 AM

    F it. Call in Favre for the rest of the season. It will be entertaining if nothing else.

    I can’t imagine what Snyder has Against a franchise qb…

  46. dikshuttle says: Nov 8, 2011 8:00 AM

    It’s not so much the word, as was evident in his utterance of it, as WHO was saying it.

    “A” types don’t want others speaking for them and if you let a nerd with a pen dictate to you in your press conference, then you’ve lost.

    That being said – I like the direction the team is headed. I disagree with pretty much all of it, esthetically. But at least there was progress from last week. Helu learned by the 3rd 1/4 that the holes won’t be bigger – just hit ’em now. And it was nice to see Hankerson.

    Just do me a favor and fire Danny Smith.

  47. ham1 says: Nov 8, 2011 8:17 AM

    Where is Snyder? Havnt heard from shorty in a while. How long before he implodes and goes retro? It says a lot when all you hear about is coming from Shanny. No Bruce, no Snyder.
    No players bypassing the coach to the owner. Bizzaro skins.

  48. blackqbwhiterb says: Nov 8, 2011 8:50 AM

    You cannot turn over the whole roster in one off season. At least they’ve finally started turning over the roster. This is a sign of better things to come in and of itself. But the biggest single thing on the to-do list- a young, big, nasty group of offensive linemen. This will fix all the other problems on both sides of the ball.

  49. sj39 says: Nov 8, 2011 9:11 AM

    Probably doesn’t like the word “sucking” either.

  50. worldsgreatest says: Nov 8, 2011 9:18 AM

    When Ozzie Newsome is savvy enough to pick up offensive line help that contributed right away, in Andre Gurode and Brant McKinney, for next to nothing, from off the couch…

    As a Skins fan I don’t know if the front office is ever going to get it together.

    I do like the last few draft classes though. Definite potential. He’s just hilariously awful with the media.


  51. dukemarc says: Nov 8, 2011 9:19 AM

    Does he like the word “re-retiring” because that’s what he needs to do.

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