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Some optimism on the 'Shanaplan'

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Old 11-21-2011, 02:22 PM   #1
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Some optimism on the 'Shanaplan'

So here we sit 10 games into another lost season, one that started with what turns out to be false hope. Injuries and overall crappy play have been the signatures of what we've seen and calls for the coach's head have predictably started. I was thinking over the past two weeks about how bad our overall roster is and it's been pointed out that Shanny has turned over about 70% of the roster he inherited from Zorn/Vinny so this is 'his team/his fault'. But, with the project he had, could we have really expected much more than where we are today?

Food for thought on the Shanaplan as I see it:
1. 2010 season-Shanny 'went for it' by going after McNabb but otherwise, started the season with pretty much the same core roster and starters. Think about our starting offense on opening day last year outside of T. Williams and McNabb. Portis, Sellers, Rabach, Dockery, Cooley, Moss were all returning. The change to the 3-4 was questionable but necessary for the long term. This was a way to gauge what he had, who fit-who didn't and to see how big of a project was ahead of him or see if he could win with what was here. The 2010 draft class contributed starters in Trent Williams, Perry Riley and Adam Carriker (via trade) and depth players in Terrence Austin and Brandon Banks (RFA) plus Erik Cook who is on the roster but showed in his brief action he's probably not an NFL player.

2. 2011 offseason-this was a complete bust as a result of the lockout. At the beginning of the season it seemed that the loss of OTA's and the offseason wasn't a big deal but as we got into the depth of the roster we saw a dramatic dropoff. The gap between raw talent and coached skill was huge. We also saw the slow development of rookies like Hankerson and Paul where a full offseason would have made an impact. However, as noted in a separate thread, our draft class has given us at least 7 players (Kerrigan, Jenkins, Hankerson, Helu, Paul, Hurt, Neild) who will likely contribute in 2012 and beyond. In two years, we've added 10-12 players via the draft who should be valuable through their rookie contracts.

In addition, with a whole offseason, I think the Beck experiment would have never happened. I think another veteran QB would have been brought in to truly compete for the starting job and Beck-mania never would have gotten off the ground.

3. 2011 season-Let's be real, this season sucks. A good start, a hard crash down to reality. Reality as I see it is that we still have one of the worst rosters in the league, probably bottom 2 or 3 from a talent perspective. I've stated that no more than 6 of our 22 starters could start for a competitive NFL team. That being said, we are making progress. This is our first season of truly 'rebuilding'. Last year was trying to win with what was here + a vet QB. This year is playing young players to see who develops and who is not a piece to work with going forward. For the rest of the season we will continue to see young players get experience and players who won't be here getting phased out. Positives are the play of Kerrigan, Jenkins in the preseason, Helu, Paul and Neild. Hankerson showed the light starting to come on before his injury. Our 2010 rookies have played decently, none have fallen off from their prior season performance which is a positive.

4. 2012 offseason-This is where the work begins to take shape. Our strategy should be clear. Get a QB, get a playmaking WR, build depth on the OL, get a CB. The great thing about Beck/Rex is that we aren't tied to either one of them. Same goes for most positions that need to be upgraded. The only veteran WR we are tied to is Moss. Our opening day starting OL wasn't elite but they were good enough. I don't think we have 5 INT from our entire secondary so that needs to be a focus as well.

The future is brighter than the present and a far cry from our past. Thoughts?
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Old 11-21-2011, 02:26 PM   #2
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Re: Some optimism on the 'Shanaplan'

I'm very optimistic. Get a QB, CB, 2 or 3 OL/G/C and this team is in the hunt next year.
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Old 11-21-2011, 02:31 PM   #3
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Re: Some optimism on the 'Shanaplan'

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Originally Posted by SFREDSKIN View Post
I'm very optimistic. Get a QB, CB, 2 or 3 OL/G/C and this team is in the hunt next year.
I'm actually fine with the OL we started the season with. None of them will likely be Pro Bowlers (maybe Williams if he fully dedicates himself) but they can be competitive week in and week out.
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Old 11-21-2011, 02:36 PM   #4
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Re: Some optimism on the 'Shanaplan'

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I'm actually fine with the OL we started the season with. None of them will likely be Pro Bowlers (maybe Williams if he fully dedicates himself) but they can be competitive week in and week out.
What's killing this team is lack of depth in the OL and QB.
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Old 11-21-2011, 02:40 PM   #5
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Re: Some optimism on the 'Shanaplan'

Yep, and we've seen it play out clearly. Also the lack of a playmaking WR. Let's be real, Gaffney, Stallworth, Armstrong, Anderson? They would never see the field on a contender or at best be a #4 WR. Look at GB, Jennings, Driver, Nelson all playmakers. Look at SF, Edwards, Crabtree, Ginn all first rounders. Now none of them is a STAR but all of them fit a role and have playmaking ability. We need a bonafide star at the wideout position via trade or free agency in the upcoming offseason.
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Old 11-21-2011, 02:43 PM   #6
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Re: Some optimism on the 'Shanaplan'

Hankerson, Moss, Paul, Austin, Gafney. I believe in these guys.
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Old 11-21-2011, 02:44 PM   #7
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Re: Some optimism on the 'Shanaplan'

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Yep, and we've seen it play out clearly. Also the lack of a playmaking WR. Let's be real, Gaffney, Stallworth, Armstrong, Anderson? They would never see the field on a contender or at best be a #4 WR. Look at GB, Jennings, Driver, Nelson all playmakers. Look at SF, Edwards, Crabtree, Ginn all first rounders. Now none of them is a STAR but all of them fit a role and have playmaking ability. We need a bonafide star at the wideout position via trade or free agency in the upcoming offseason.
Hankerson looked like at least a solid #2 in his last game. If he & moss are healthy, our opinion of the wr corps might be quite different.
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Old 11-21-2011, 02:45 PM   #8
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Re: Some optimism on the 'Shanaplan'

I'm not about to join in with a chorus of excuses for the job Mike Shanahan has done -- those that can find forgiveness in this are more faithful than I will ever be -- but I do have this to say: this team looks a lot worse coming off a six game losing streak than it has realistically played.

Rex Grossman has been better than advertised this season. The offensive line hasn't consistently opened up holes in the running game, but it hasn't protected passers poorly this year, particularly in games played on grass. The receiver play has been wildly inconsistent (and at critical times, costly), but promising. I can't say a good note about the running backs, because we don't play Helu, but Helu is either a no. 1 or no. 2 in the NFL for the rest of his career.

And the defense has exceeded all expectation after last year. I think Orakpo is taking a lot of blame right now that probably should have been directed at him earlier, but that doesn't mean he's not a top pass rusher in this league. I think the secondary has actually gotten better over the losing streak in terms of covering receivers. And our linebackers are as good as any in the league now that Rocky has been benched.

So there's some legitimate reason for optimism after this game. The offense is bad, and has very few young pieces for the future. I'm thinking it may not be unsalvageable. I don't think this coaching staff can fix the issues or it already would have. But we'll have a healthier OL next year and that should have a trickle down effect to the rest of the offense.
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Old 11-21-2011, 02:56 PM   #9
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Re: Some optimism on the 'Shanaplan'

I agree. And I actually think we may have more then 6 players that could start on good teams. Not every starter on good teams is a star...we have plenty of NFL caliber starting players. As far as the offense though It's very hard to evaluate what we have at the skill positions with our banged up OL and poor QB play. I do agree though that it's likely we need a #1 WR. Hank is the only one who appears to have to tools to become a #1 but with his rookie season being cut short it will be impossible to project him into that role in the off season.
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Old 11-21-2011, 02:58 PM   #10
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Re: Some optimism on the 'Shanaplan'

I agree with the OP on nearly all points.

Certainly, we need to draft the QB with whom we're going forward. He will probably be our 1st Round pick in this year's draft. We also need a top-notch receiving threat. I think we need these two things above all else.

I don't agree that we just need backups on the OL. I think we could improve the team greatly with better starters at C and G. Then the current starters would provide us with very good, versatile backup linemen.

It would be nice to have more help at CB.
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Old 11-21-2011, 03:05 PM   #11
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Re: Some optimism on the 'Shanaplan'

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Originally Posted by Paintrain View Post
Yep, and we've seen it play out clearly. Also the lack of a playmaking WR. Let's be real, Gaffney, Stallworth, Armstrong, Anderson? They would never see the field on a contender or at best be a #4 WR. Look at GB, Jennings, Driver, Nelson all playmakers. Look at SF, Edwards, Crabtree, Ginn all first rounders. Now none of them is a STAR but all of them fit a role and have playmaking ability. We need a bonafide star at the wideout position via trade or free agency in the upcoming offseason.
I would feel better if we had a proven #1 WR going inot next season but it's also possible that if we had a QB any where near as good as Rodgers that some of our current WR's would look like playmakers. And without Rodgers we might look differently on all the GB WR's that we now take for granted as being playmakers.
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Old 11-21-2011, 03:07 PM   #12
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Re: Some optimism on the 'Shanaplan'

Our offseason focus has to start and end with QB and OL.
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Old 11-21-2011, 03:08 PM   #13
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Re: Some optimism on the 'Shanaplan'

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I agree. And I actually think we may have more then 6 players that could start on good teams. Not every starter on good teams is a star...we have plenty of NFL caliber starting players. As far as the offense though It's very hard to evaluate what we have at the skill positions with our banged up OL and poor QB play. I do agree though that it's likely we need a #1 WR. Hank is the only one who appears to have to tools to become a #1 but with his rookie season being cut short it will be impossible to project him into that role in the off season.
I'm curious, of our 22 healthy starters (as of yesterday) who would start for a good team in the NFL? I'd go with T. Williams, F. Davis, C. Cooley, L. Fletcher, A. Otogwe and L. Landry. It's not about 'stars' but it's about the ability to consistently win matchups at a high level. Let me be clear, I'm talking about starters on a top 8 team in the NFL, not just someone who would start on another bad team.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gtripp0012
I'm not about to join in with a chorus of excuses for the job Mike Shanahan has done -- those that can find forgiveness in this are more faithful than I will ever be -- but I do have this to say: this team looks a lot worse coming off a six game losing streak than it has realistically played.

So there's some legitimate reason for optimism after this game. The offense is bad, and has very few young pieces for the future. I'm thinking it may not be unsalvageable. I don't think this coaching staff can fix the issues or it already would have. But we'll have a healthier OL next year and that should have a trickle down effect to the rest of the offense.
I'm not making excuses for the Shanny regime so far, just giving a perspective outside of the 'he's lost it, fire him, what the hell are we doing' chorus. That being said, I am far from giving up on this coaching staff. Part of the full 'Shanaplan' as I see it is a 5 year build before Mike steps off of the sideline and upstairs for good and hands things off to Kyle. And that's not a bad thing. One thing we've sorely lacked is a long term plan, vision and system. Look at the successful teams, they have had a system in place from the top down for a long time and stick with it through good and bad. Even through coaching changes they don't vary from the system. At the end of Mike's contract, Kyle would have had 7 years as a coordinator, hopefully be 3 years into a young stud QB and have the pieces to fully run a Pittsburgh style 3-4 defense.
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Old 11-21-2011, 03:10 PM   #14
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Re: Some optimism on the 'Shanaplan'

I think I am okay with the Shanaplan. I would feel better about it if he had actually not wasted last year with the McNabb debacle, but you win some you lose some. Now I want his a$$ to focus on building up the offense, the way he's been building up the defense over the past two seasons.
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Old 11-21-2011, 03:19 PM   #15
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Re: Some optimism on the 'Shanaplan'

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I agree with the OP on nearly all points.

Certainly, we need to draft the QB with whom we're going forward. He will probably be our 1st Round pick in this year's draft. We also need a top-notch receiving threat. I think we need these two things above all else.

I don't agree that we just need backups on the OL. I think we could improve the team greatly with better starters at C and G. Then the current starters would provide us with very good, versatile backup linemen.

It would be nice to have more help at CB.

Absolutely right!

The Skins have one OL who is "above average" at his position in the NFL and that is Trent Williams. Maybe some day one of the other four will achieve that status - - and that includes the injured Kory Lichtensteiger who will probably return next year. But if this is the OL that starts next year, you can forget a playoff run no matter who is the new "QB-darling".

Speaking of which, neither of the two guys currently on the game-day roster for this team should be back. They need to draft a QB AND they need to get another vet off the waiver wire/scrap heap to play until the new QB is ready. We know what these two guys can do and it is insufficient - - to be very polite.

Personally, I think they need more help at safety than they do at CB; but I do agree that upgrades to the d-backfield are necessary.
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