Washington Redskins head Coach Mike Shanahan appeared on radio station WFAN in New York yesterday and talked about a couple of items of interest to Redskins fans.
After the initial greetings, and a discussion about the celebrity golf tournament in which Shanahan was playing (he was very complimentary about Tony Romo’s golf talent), the coach was asked by Joe and Ivan, hosts of the radio show, about making the move to acquire Donovan McNabb at quarterback and what it has been like to work with him.
“Well it’s been great,” Shanahan said. “I’ve had a chance to work with him for three mini-camps, 20 practices and like any quarterback, it’s a new system. We know what Donovan has done, he’s a class act and I’m looking forward to working with him.”
The hosts commented that many people thought owner Dan Snyder might be tough to work for and then asked the coach if there was any nervousness or if he had any reservations about taking the Washington Redskins’ head coaching position. Based on his answer, Shanahan is happy to be in Washington.
“I know what type of commitment he’s made with the Washington Redskins,” Shanahan answered. “He wants to win more than anybody. And he let me know I’d have final decision relative to personnel and things along those lines and told me how he expected his relationship and my relationship… …to work. And I’ve been working here for the last six months and I couldn’t ask for more than what he’s given me.”
The radio hosts then asked the inevitable question: ‘What about Albert Haynesworth?’
“Well to be honest with you, I’m looking forward to camp starting,” the head coach admitted. “And my understanding is that Albert’s going to be there. As we talked before, I talked to Albert right before…well, about a month after I got the job and I sat down with Albert and said that if he does not want to be part of the Washington Redskins, I’d let him go. I wouldn’t trade him, I’d let him go to another football team. But if he did take the check for $21 million, I’d expect him to play any position that we thought was in the best interest of the Washington Redskins – be it nose tackle, defensive end, if we wanted to play him at free safety…So expected him to come [here] in great shape and do the things we expected of him and that he’s capable of doing. Hopefully he does that. He didn’t show up at mini-camp, so guys are going to be looking at him and seeing what type of shape he’s in, if he’s doing to do the little things the right way. Time will tell. If he is buying in and he is in great shape, we know what type of talent he is and we know he can help our football team win.”
Joe and Ivan then brought up the latest reports about Haynesworth working out with his trainer, losing the weight and being in great shape. One of the hosts of the show asked Shanahan if the reaction of the guys in the locker room to Albert’s re-appearance would be a problem.
“You know, I don’t even worry about that,” Shanahan answered. “I always look at it like a guy who’s sprained an ankle. A guy may sprain an ankle and he’s out for four weeks… he may break an ankle and he’s out for the season. I want guys that are going to come in and work extremely hard and hopefully, Albert does that.
“Does he need to do that with the rest of his teammates? I think he does. I think he’s going to have to come in [and be] in great shape. People have to know that he’s going to come in and do whatever is best for our organization to help us win. We’re going to play him in a position that we think will help us win. Hopefully he can play at a high level because he’s very talented and hopefully he makes the commitment when he comes in.”
The next item Shanahan was asked about was if the position change to nose tackle from end in the 3-4 defense was the crux of Haynesworth’s problem.
“I really don’t know to be honest with you,” Shanahan responded. “I have not talked to him since the one conversation I did have. But I made it crystal clear to him that if he did take that $21 million dollars, we expected him to play at the position we feels gives us the best chance to win.”
Every football fan is interested in the NFC East it seems and the folks at WFAN are no different. Shanahan was asked his thoughts on becoming a coach in the ‘brutal’ division. I was happy to hear that Shanahan feels the NFC East is the top division in the league.
“Well I’m excited. Anytime you go into a division like the NFC East you know how competitive is. You’ve been in this game for a long time in the National Football League, and you want to play in the top division. And I think the NFC East over the years has been the top division. Right now [there’s] a lot of good football teams and hopefully we can play well and get back on top.”
Lastly he was asked about free agents Terrell Owens and Brian Westbrook and whether or not the coach was interested in them. At that point, there was some technical trouble on the phone line but we could hear that the coach reiterated that he had spoken with Westbrook although he wasn’t sure where he was right now. He also restated that, with regard to T.O., he wasn’t “going to go in that direction.” Then there was too much static on the line and not much else of anything else he said could be heard.
This interview of Mike Shanahan’s with WFAN in New York is an indication of how high interest is in the Washington Redskins. They play three nationally televised night games this season and the last seven games on their schedule are subject to flexible scheduling. If they begin to win early and often, it would be interesting to see if there is a sales spike in DirectTV’s “NFL Sunday Ticket” where the viewer can watch any of the NFL games he/she desires. I would bet that Redskins games would be some of the most watched games on any given Sunday.