COMMENTARY | Now that the Washington Redskins are off to a 1-4 start, many are beginning to question (again) the job security of head coach (and team president) Mike Shanahan. By looking at history, you can guess that owner Dan Snyder won't hang on to Shanahan if this play continues. However, Shanahan should still keep his role as team president.
For now, all that will really happen with respect to Shanahan's head coaching future will be speculation from the media and fans. It won't be until the offseason that we see things begin to heat up between the ownership and the head coach in terms of contract talks. Shanahan will be entering the final year of his contract in 2014 and it's best to not have that hang over the team. It can prove to be a huge distraction.
There are two paths, and I'll add a third, that could be taken when dealing with this tricky situation. Snyder could fire Shanahan completely at the end of the year, give him a contract extension or fire him as the head coach, but keep him as the team's president. Obviously, most of this will depend on how the next 11 games play out, but the fact remains that Shanahan is nearing the end of his current tenure with the Redskins, one that hasn't been that successful. A decision will have to be made on his future this offseason.
Option 1: Fire Him Completely
Firing him completely would allow for the Redskins to seemingly start with a clean slate at head coach. They would be able to explore options like Bill Cowher, Jon Gruden and a whole host of college coaches that deserve a chance at the next level. It would also eliminate the media attention that comes from a coach not getting a contract extension prior to the final year of his contract.
However, it would also mean that the role of team president would be vacant and they could simply fill that with Bruce Allen, who would become the team's president and general manager. Doing so could potentially bring Dan Snyder back into the mix with personnel decisions, something no Redskins' fan should want. Currently, Snyder has no say in the personnel process and it's worked out well for the Redskins. They have talent, it just doesn't always show up on the field.
Option 2: Give Him An Extension
Dan Snyder could just simply give Shanahan a contract extension. Doing so would keep him as head coach and team president. However, that's hoping the play on the field will simply improve with time. I've said that Shanahan has acquired talent, but that it doesn't translate onto the field. Just because he has an eye for talent doesn't mean he always knows how to use it.
Option 3: Fire Him As Head Coach, Keep Him As Team President
I've hinted to this possibility a couple of times already, but now I'll really break it down for you. Keeping Shanahan as the team's president, but not head coach, would eliminate Dan Snyder from the decision making process when it comes to players and coaches. It would simply be up to Bruce Allen and Shanahan to figure out who should coach the team and who should play on it. That system has worked out well for them in the past.
Shanahan certainly has an eye for talent. He brought the Redskins Robert Griffin III, Alfred Morris, Pierre Garçon and Ryan Kerrigan, just to name a few. When he was with the Denver Broncos, he brought in Terrell Davis and Clinton Portis. The guy has a knack for bringing in talent, he just doesn't always know what to do with it. That is why you keep him as the team's president so he bring in the talent and get someone else that better knows how to use that talent to be the head coach.
It's still early in the season. Last year, we questioned Shanahan's future with the organization when they were 3-6 and they then went on that memorable 7-0 run to get into the playoffs. The same could happen this season, but they'll have a lot of work to do in order to make that happen.
It would be a bad idea to let Shanahan enter the 2014 season without a contract extension. It would prove to be a huge distraction and one that the Redskins don't need. Another interesting thing about the 2014 season is that the Redskins won't be hindered by a salary cap penalty. If Shanahan is the team's president, he'll have more financial power to go out and find good talent for the team.
There is still a long way to go in the season and a lot can happen. One thing is for certain, Mike Shanahan is coaching for his job from here on out and the next 11 games will be important if he wants to remain with the Washington Redskins in some capacity.
Brian Skinnell is a contributor for RantSports.com and Yahoo Sports. You can follow him on Twitter, @Brian_Skinnell.
- Sports & Recreation
- American Football
- Mike Shanahan
- Washington Redskins
- Dan Snyder