Using “Being John Malkovich” technology, ThisGivenSunday leads you inside the mind of Washington Redskins coach/de-facto GM Mike Shanahan, as he considers making a transformative trade offer to the St Louis Rams, and drafting Robert Griffin III.This is the second of a three-part series.
As I, Mike Shanahan, stare into the mirror, I say to myself, how did it come to this?
I told my friends that I would have a free hand for three years to run the Redskins before the owner stepped in to “help.” My two-season record is 11-21, one game worse than Jim Zorn’s. What really hurts is that Zorn did not have the benefit of two seasons of fourth-place opponents like I did. My five-win season is no better than Steve Spurrier’s last year in Washington…eight years ago.
If only I had not listened to outgoing GM, the reviled Vinny Cerrato, about the talent level on the 2010 roster. “The team is only one quarterback away from contention. Albert Haynesworth is a beast.” What a pile of crap. If Cerrato were still on the staff, I’d fire him, but it’s my own fault for stepping in it. Now the team is saddled with an offense that cannot score and a quarterback that cannot be sold to Redskins fans.
As if that weren’t enough, both the Rams and the Browns are on my 2012 schedule. Both teams are my trade targets. They will think about the schedule in in any conversation we have. Jeff Fisher and Mike Holmgren are friends and colleagues in the fraternity of coaches. We can talk and maybe make a deal.
Fortunately, GM Bruce Allen used two cap-free seasons to fix the contract structure. The Redskins are not in cap hell and, for once, we have all our Draft picks and the extra fourth-round pick acquired in the Jason Campbell trade.
My first task is to get a reading on Cleveland’s aggression in the Draft. Will they sit tight at the fourth pick? Will they move up for a shot at Robert Griffin III? Will Holmgren go for QB value in a later round?
You just don’t ask direct questions of a competing team. This requires subtlety. So, here’s the line of conversation with Holmgren: Mike, why are you guys thinking of RG3? You are playing with house money with those extra picks Atlanta sent for the rights to Julio Jones. Why not go direct to the Colts and offer them in exchange for the top pick and Andrew Luck?
I really don’t want that to happen. There is nothing to stop Indy from taking Cleveland’s picks AND drafting Griffin. Then I will have lost my shot at RG3 and my fans will be even more dissatisfied when they see Luck and Cam Newton on the other sideline and [tbd] on ours. I just want to smoke out Holmgren’s thinking.
Holmgren is cagey. He can misdirect like the best of them (me). However, if I get the sense that a light bulb goes off, I will know whether to target the Rams or the Colts for my trade discussion.
Hello, Mike, It’s me, Shanny….
(To be continued….)