|It appears Mike Shanahan has given up on the 2012 season … in early November. (US Presswire)|
It appears the toll of losing is getting to Redskins coach Mike Shanahan. He has endured plenty of it in his three-plus seasons in Washington -- he was 6-10 in 2010 and 5-11 in 2011 -- but Sunday's loss to the Panthers might have been a low point. The Skins are now 3-6, losers of three straight, and in last place in the NFC East.
That said, we're only five days into November and there are seven games left on the schedule. But it didn't stop Shanahan from talking like the season's already lost after the Skins' demoralizing 21-13 defeat.
"When you lose a game like that, now you're playing to see who is going to be on your football team for years to come," Shanahan said. "Now we get a chance to evaluate players and see where we're at.
"Obviously, we're not out of it statistically. But now we find out what type of character we got and how guys keep on fighting through the rest of the season."
As we pointed out this morning: it's Week 9, not Week 15. Why Shanahan's waving a white flag now is more troubling than the fact the Redskins have lost nine of their last 10 games at FedEx Field.
Put another way: Eight months after mortgaging the farm to move up in the draft to get their franchise quarterback, Shanahan's ready to call it quits on 2012. After nine games. We've got some bad news for you, Mike: it's going to get worse before it gets better. You sent a 2012 second-round pick and two future first-rounders to the Rams for the right to take Robert Griffin III, which means there isn't a lot of wiggle room in terms of adding big-play personnel. It's pretty much what you see is what you get.
In perhaps the least surprising news of all, some Redskins players could've done without Shanahan's "Operation Shutdown" allusions.
Two players told The Washington Post's Mike Wise that they were bothered by the coach's comments, and that it's one thing to talk about evaluating personnel but it's something else entirely to announce it to the world.
"You have a lot of guys that want to win now, people toward the end of their careers who have been here a long time, haven't been to the playoffs in a long time," linebacker Lorenzo Alexander said. "And, ultimately, that's what you play for, to go to a Super Bowl.
"Being 3-6 really [stinks] because, right now, we're on the outside looking in. ... I'm not thinking about next year; that's an offseason thing for me. But you know it's hard when you see yourself in that type of position, and your head coach is saying those types of things. It's disappointing."
We said after the blockbuster predraft trade with the Rams and before the season: this could be Shanahan's swan song in DC if things go horribly wrong with the franchise quarterback now on the roster. The Skins got off to a fast start, and RG3 isn't the problem. But it's not clear that Shanahan is the solution, either.
Thankfully, former Redskin Brian Mitchell, now a local analyst, helps keep things in perspective:
Gonna be a rough week. RT @dcsportsbog B Mitch on CSN: "The Redskins at this point are a terrible team, a terrible franchise."— HogsHaven.com (@HogsHaven) November 5, 2012