New Washington Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan is laying down the law at Redskins Park. The traffic law, that is.
Dan Steinberg of the DC Sports Bog writes that parking regulations were among a list of rules Shanahan read to the team during minicamp. Players are not to double park or park their cars in handicapped spaces in the lot at Redskins Park lest they face punishment in the form of extra running at practice.
It's all part of Shanahan's plan to make players accountable for their actions. Other football-related rules he made included things like running on and off the field, fully completing drills and entering and exiting a huddle with speed. But Shanahan also laid out some off the field things, too. On Sunday, he let players know how they had done.
Though Shanahan didn't call out specific players for violations, he read down the list and noted how many players didn't follow each rule. At the next minicamp, he said, violators will run after practice.
"I started thinking to myself, like, did I double park today? I didn't think I double parked," Mike Williams said with a chuckle after practice. "I'm dead serious. He asked guys to do the simple things. If he asks you to run off the field, he expects you to run off the field. He's just setting a standard, and saying hey guys, this is what I'm talking about, and so this is what we've got to clean up as a team."
Shanahan is clearly trying to shift the culture of the Redskins. It's the old "broken windows" theory: Fix the small problems to prevent the big ones. Players who think they can double park are likely to think they can be five minutes late to a meeting or not run a drill at full speed. Get enough of these players and then all of a sudden you have a few guys amongst the 45 who think they're bigger than the whole squad. Strip the entitlement and build chemistry, or so the thinking goes.
As Steinberg writes, this is all well and good in April when there's nothing else to talk about other than how Donovan McNabb(notes) look in burgundy and gold, but will it matter once September comes around? Who knows. Everyone loves a disciplinarian when teams are winning. Throw in a three-game losing streak though and all of a sudden it becomes heavy-handed and critics say that coaches can't operate like that in this day and age.