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Young: 'We Didn’t Execute For Him'

Posted Dec 31, 2013

As news broke that Mike Shanahan has been relieved of head coaching duties, members of the Washington Redskins roster took responsibility for the 3-13 season.

"We’re all 3-13. We accept that. We understand it. The Washington Redskins will win and lose as a football team. Period."

That was the line delivered by Redskins general manager Bruce Allen at Monday's press conference, explaining the departure of head coach Mike Shanahan.

It was not the singular fault of one man that an entire organization had delivered three wins in 16 opportunities this season.

But with a 24-40 overall record in Washington, D.C. and the team’s worst record since 1994, owner Daniel M. Snyder concluded that the franchise needs to go a different direction to reach the team’s annual goal of success. 

While uncertainty of the next move continues to cast a shadow on Redskins Park, the players know that 2013’s downfall wasn’t just on Shanahan and his coaching staff.

“He can’t go out there and play, but he trusted us enough to coach us and put is in the right position to go out there and play," fullback Darrel Young said. "We didn’t execute for him.

"We did all of the little things wrong this year in terms of what you could do to lose games, [like] dropped balls and penalties. As a coach, you address those every day regardless of if it happened or not.

“He addressed every situation that we were ever in. We just failed him as a team and I take my hat off to him.”

One year after capping off a historic seven-game winning streak to the first NFC East crown since 1999, the Redskins entered the season with high expectations.

The team the odds-on favorite to win its first back-to-back NFC East titles since 1983-84, returning 21-of-22 starters and adding key contributors in the 2013 NFL Draft and free agency.

But combining the third-most turnovers in the NFL and having one of the worst special teams units from a statistical standpoint in NFL history, the Redskins failed to rekindle the magic of 2012.

“I think our expectations were through the roof and for the year. I don’t think anyone could put an explanation on why it happened,” linebacker Bryan Kehl said. “I think there are a lot of different reasons.

“Last year [with] how we finished and where we won seven games but lost in the playoffs, I think everybody came with the expectation this year to make the playoffs and go further.

"Obviously, to win only three games is disappointing.”

With teams like the Atlanta Falcons, Houston Texans and Redskins going from first to last in their respective divisions and the Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles reversing 2012 misfortunes into playoff berths, sustained success is not a forgone conclusion.

Throwing out past records, each year is a new canvas.

“It’s the NFL,” linebacker Rob Jackson said. “You can’t go off of previous years, you have to come out each year and start from scratch.

“It’s football. It’s not a one man game.”

Ryan Kerrigan, a 2012 Pro Bowler and three-year veteran, was one of many on this roster who got his first NFL opportunity under Shanahan.

Drafted with the 16th overall pick in 2011, Kerrigan transitioned to linebacker from his college position of defensive end to fit the 3-4 defensive scheme.

Playing alongside two-time Pro Bowler Brian Orakpo, four-time Pro Bowler London Fletcher and up-and-comer Perry Riley, the Redskins boasted one of the most exciting linebacker corps in the league this season.

They just didn’t execute up to their personal standard.

“We've got a lot of talent here, that’s what’s frustrating,” Kerrigan said. “Why we didn’t play well this year because we have a very talented roster, a very talented team.”

One of the longest tenured players on the roster, safety Reed Doughty has played for three different head coaches since being drafted by Hall of Famer Joe Gibbs in 2006.

While it’s a situation no franchise wants to go through, he understands that winning is the ultimate way to keep a team intact.

“Whenever you lose, this is the consequence and I’m disappointed,” Doughty explicated. “As a player, I’ve appreciated Coach Shanahan and loved playing for him.

"I’m just disappointed that we couldn’t win more and keep him here."

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