Wednesday, January 06, 2010

What Do We Think of Shanahan?

The Drunken Savages got a new coach, and there is obviously all sorts of buzz regarding the hire (in part, as this NY Times analysis points out--there just isn't going to be a whole of new hires this offseason).

I'm of two minds about it--yes, Shanahan won two Super Bowls. I don't care much about the statistical garbage of "Coaches Who Won Two Super Bowls For One Team Don't Fare Well". It is a nonsense argument based on the careers of six guys, including Lombardi who died one year into his tenure at Washington. Why would winning one Super Bowl vs two matter? It wouldn't. It's just a neat little bullshit statistic that gives the guys on something to write about.

What does concern me is the dip that Shanahan takes when you remove Elway from the equation. There's a lot more data there. Look, I think every coach's record is going to take a hit when you remove one of the Top 3 QB's of all time. Hell, Jimmy Johnson's overall winning percentage was better in Miami with an aging Dan Marino than it was in Dallas.

All the same--Shanahan was going to the playoffs regular-like, and for Drunken Savages fans, that would be a huge step up. He's got a lot of work to do, though. And there's a fair question about whether it is work that can be accomplished. Count Michael Wilbon as a doubter. Wilbon is kind of old school in a lot of his thinking, and can come across as downright goofy on TV, but when it comes to Washington sports, few guys have watched it as carefully over the past couple of decades as Wilbon, and he lays out a great case for no one getting overly excited here.

Les Carpenter, also writing for the Post, details the degree to which Shanahan was a control freak in Denver, and probably will be in Washington. Maybe they need that sort of aggressively controlling type guy to battle the owner, and protect what one hopes is a real plan for developing talent and winning games. Given the general atmosphere in the organization right now, though--coaches on hot seats, players blasting each other in the press, etc, one wonders whether this sort of thing is going to go over well:

"As Broncos coach, the powers given him by team owner Pat Bowlen were so wide-ranging and controlled so much that he installed video cameras in every Broncos meeting room so he could watch position meetings on a multi-window screen in his office just to make sure each coach taught the proper principles."

The team has a huge list of needs and it isn't going to be a 1 year turnaround for any coach to take on. Perhaps the biggest gift Shanahan can give is the cachet of his offensive genius, that will buy this team some time to properly develop. Of course, Marty Schottenheimer might have thought the same thing when he was hired. Time will tell, of course. I find myself more in Wilbon's camp than I'd like. I'm not excited by the hire, because I've seen this cycle too many times in the past decade. I'll be excited when a Drunken Savages coach gets to extend a contract, not get bought out of one. That will be an exciting day, if it ever happens.


Andrew Wice said...

I am certainly a skeptical fan, but there's no reason to defecate all over the parade just yet.

How is it possible that local sportsjacks are already writing Shanahan off? What the fuck, brats?

Everyone agreed Cerrato had to go. Cerrato is gone. Everyone agreed Zorn was in over his head. Zorn is gone. Everyone agreed Snyder has to stop meddling.
Well, you can't have everything.

But Snyder did admit to making mistakes for the first time ever, and he hired a GM who is an indedepent thinker.

I agree that "Celebrity Football" has a terrible track record. But only a tenacious, big-name coach could ever wrest control away from Snyder.

And the assertion that Shanahan is a bad evaluator of talent (whining Wilborn) is bogus, cynical, crabby crap.

"He who wears the mask of the cynic is afraid to meet the true hero."
-- ancient Chinese proverb

Big Blue Monkey 2: The Quickening said...

Cynic or realist? A wise man said:

"Starting over again with TBD coach number seven in the last ten years. This might get worse before it gets better."

I learned it from watching you, Dad.

Andrew Wice said...

The issue isn't cynic vs. realist, it's cynic vs. skeptic.

I am skeptical, based on the history of the Snyder years. However, I am not cynical, in that I am not going to turn away from the possibility that they might improve.