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Despite Record, Shanahan Sees Progress

Posted Dec 26, 2011

Mike Shanahan says he sees a significant difference in the quality of the roster since he took over as head coach in 2010. He acknowledges that improvement has taken longer than he originally anticipated.


Even though the Redskins have struggled to a 5-10 record this season, head coach Mike Shanahan said that he sees a significant difference in the quality of the roster than when he first was hired in to lead the team in January 2010.

Shanahan said the Redskins have infused more youth in the roster and improved the overall depth.

“I feel good with the type of players that we do have,” he said. “We still need a good draft [and] a good free agency. We still need to improve from where we’re at right now. Our record obviously dictates that, but I feel good about the football team and the direction we’re headed.”

The Redskins close out the 2011 regular season this Sunday, Jan. 1, when they take on the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field.

Shanahan acknowledged that progress has taken longer than he originally anticipated when he took over as head coach.

In 2010, he inherited a roster that was among the oldest in the league. Last offseason, he started a youth movement last offseason, with all 12 of the team's 2011 draft picks either on the 53-man roster or the practice squad.

“We had less depth than I thought,” he said. “We were a little bit older at a few different positions and I thought we might keep those players a little bit longer than we did. But that’s not a negative.

“You just have to evaluate your squad on a day-to-day basis, a year-to-year basis, and put the best football team together. And I think that’s what we’re doing.”

Along with continuing to upgrade the roster next season, Shanahan pointed to turnovers as an area that needs to improve in 2012.

The Redskins’ offense has totaled 34 turnovers, including 23 interceptions (19 by Rex Grossman, four by John Beck). The 34 turnovers is third-most in the league, trailing the Eagles and Tampa Bay Buccaneers who have 36.

“The thing we’ll be stressing next year like we continue to try to do now is not turn the football over,” Shanahan said. “Because if you turn the football over like we did this year, regardless of what type of football team you have, you’re not going to win.”

Grossman heads into the offseason as an unrestricted free agent. He had signed a one-year contract with the club last August.

Asked for an evaluation of Grossman and his penchant for turnovers, Shanahan replied: “We’re constantly evaluating everybody – every position, every game. And if you’re consistent, you keep a position. If you’re not consistent, you don’t keep a position.

“Obviously, I don’t [discuss] that through the media, but we’ll constantly evaluate everybody’s progress and their success. It gives them a chance to compete for the position next year, whether or not they’re with our football team.”