This story is a bit of a cop-out, as I didn’t think I was on duty until later in the week. But seeing as a certain spy has ZERO time management skills since enrolling in law school, I’ll have to fill this space with something.
Our friend’s at TBD had a post up about how the Redskins are playing Shanahan football now. While a well written article, the absurdity of this statement so enraged me that I left a multiple paragraph response. Since it’s been ages since any of you shot hate-mail at me, I figured you’d like to read my response and gain some ammunition.
Before we start declaring Shanahan a genius again, please consider the following points
1. McNabb had a poor game. Completing fewer than 50% of your passes for a pedestrian 171 yards hardly constitutes “comfort” in the new system. Moreover, I’d say the stats tell only half the story. McNabb’s accuracy was a massive concern, as he repeatedly overthrew receivers. While it was nice to see Cooley and Moss have big games, McNabb locked onto them like a laser. Unless he starts looking them off, this is going to result in picks. I like McNabb and believe he is definitely worth the investment, but can anyone point to a single play he made that Jason Campbell would not have?
2. “Shanahan football”. Unless I am going on a different definition, Sunday’s win was anything but. Back when Shanahan was routinely referred to as a genius, his teams were known for 1) zone blocking, 2) an absurdly efficient running game with multiple unknown backs and 3) brilliant offensive game-plan. Of those three, only the zone blocking was present. The running game was “meh”, hardly the output that Denver came to expect (and fantasy owners came to deride — who the hell is Mike Anderson?!?!). The offense itself was about as vanilla as it gets. This might be due to McNabb’s discomfort, but when only one wideout catches a ball, I’d say this is a problem. Defense won them this game — and defense is the one thing Shanahan is not known for.
I don’t mean to jump all over this story — as I do think this team will improve. I like McNabb and moderately like this system. But until the offense starts looking even marginal, “Shanahan football” is nothing more than a meaningless cliche.