By Rich Tandler
After I wrote a couple of articles over the weekend about how much the Redskins roster had turned over since Mike Shanahan came on board on January of 2010 (here and here), I had a few readers ask for some context to the numbers.
Is having only 16 players who were on the roster in 2009 left on the 53-man roster just announced an extraordinarily low number? Or is it fairly typical of NFL teams changing head coaches?
I don’t have the time to do a thorough research project here and come up with a definitive number that states average turnover in the first two years of a new coach’s tenure. But I did look at the roster turnover that three other teams experienced in the same situations.
I compared the rosters of the 2007 and 2009 Redskins, the 2008 and 2010 Jets and the 2008 and 2010 Bucs. I found that the 16 players remaining on this year’s Redskins from the last year of the Jim Zorn-Vinny Cerrato tandem was the fewest of the group.
I need to note that the numbers for the three additional teams I researched are not necessarily precise. They came from the Pro Football Reference yearly team rosters. The rosters are great tools but they may or may not list players who did not play such as a third quarterback or a player on the inactive list or on injured reserve all year. With the caveat that a player or two may have fallen through the cracks, here is what I found:
In 2009, the Redskins were in their second (and final) year with Zorn and Cerrato running the show. On that roster they had 28 players who were members of the 2007 playoff team in Joe Gibbs final season.
Despite the fact that they had a 9-7 record in 2008, the Jets decided they’d had enough of Eric Mangini. They brought in Rex Ryan, who has taken them to the AFC title game in each of his two seasons. Last year, he got there with 22 players who had played under Mangini two years earlier.
There was some continuity with the Jets as Mike Tannenbaum remained the general manager. How about a team that started over with a new coach and GM like the Redskins did with Shanahan and Bruce Allen?
After the 2008 season, the Buccaneers fired Allen and Jon Gruden and hired Mark Dominik as general manager and Raheem Morris as head coach. They went in and announced a youth movement. After two seasons of cleaning house they had 19 players left from the Allen-Gruden days.
So the 2011 Redskins, with 16 players left from the previous regime, were on the high end when it comes to roster chrun while the ’09 Redskins were on the low end. Last year’s Bucs had undergone nearly as much turnover as this year’s Redskins and the Jets were in the middle.
So, there it is. Based on this limited sample, the Redskins roster turnover since Mike Shanahan took over football operations seems to be quite high.