The Redskins lost to the Vikings on Sunday thanks in large part to sloppy play. There is no need to recap the turnovers and ill-timed penalties here. Here is what Mike Shanahan had to say about them.
It’s what wins you games and loses you games. There’s a 60, 70, 80-yard play turned back. You have a team stopped and you jump offsides, you give them seven points there. We turned the ball over on the 20-yard line, you give them a field goal there. That’s the difference between winning or losing. That’s what you’ve got to do, you can’t beat yourself.
The thing is, sloppy play has been a hallmark of Redskins football for many years now. I can’t think of an NFL team that has more penalties at bad time, more dropped passes, more time mismanagment issues, more costly turnovers, and other sins of commission and omission.
And you have to wonder why, 31 games into his stint as coach of the Redskins, Mike Shanahan has apparently made little if any progress towards cleaning up the team’s sloppiness.
It is understandable that he has not yet been able to assemble the talent needed to compete for the championship. The Redskins were suffering from years of Vinny Cerrato drafts and free agent signing and Shanahan has had two very unusual offseasons (different free agency rules in uncapped 2010, lockout in 2011) to try to rebuild the roster. You can say that perhaps things should be further along, especially at quarterback, but it’s safe to say that the talent level on the team is higher than it was when Shanahan got here two years ago.
However, the fact that the team is still committing dumb mistakes that lose ballgames is not at all understandable. When Shanahan came here the question marks were supposed to be in the area of personnel acquisition. He was supposed to be an excellent coach.
But it looks like the players are better while the Redskins still are losing games with physical and mental mistakes just like they did under Jim Zorn.
Shanahan needs to continue to improve the team’s personnel. But if he can’t get his players, new and old, to play smart football, it will amount to a colossal waste of time and money.