2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Redskins' Shanahan shows he still has the touch

By JOSEPH WHITE - AP Sports Writer
    2012-12-31 18:16

ASHBURN, Va. (AP) - Mike Shanahan's once-unquestioned legacy was fading rapidly.

Now, a seven-game winning streak has not only put the Washington Redskins back in the playoffs, it has ended the personal drought of the coach who won two Super Bowls way back when in Denver.

Seven weeks ago, Shanahan was 14-27 after roughly 2 1/2 seasons in Washington. To fans with short memories, he had become associated as much with Donovan McNabb failures as with John Elway successes. Though often touted as a Hall of Fame coach by his peers, it had been seven years since he coached a playoff team.

Turns out, he still knows what he's doing.

``You understand as a coach: unless you get it done, people forget very quickly what you've done,'' Shanahan said Monday. ``So that's why I think a game like winning the NFC East, you get a game like that, you want to find a way to win it. Because once you do, that momentum starts again. ...

``Unless you take advantage of that opportunity, people forget very quickly.''

The Redskins (10-6), division winners after a 28-18 victory over the Dallas Cowboys in the season finale, will host the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday in the franchise's first playoff appearance since the 2007 season. It's the first home playoff game since a 27-13 win over the Detroit Lions on Jan. 8, 2000.

In Shanahan's history, the more relevant seasons are 1997 and 1998, when he won those Super Bowls with Elway and the Broncos. And 2005, when he made his last playoff appearance with the Broncos. And 2008, when he went 8-8 and was fired, leading to a year out of the NFL before the Redskins hired him in 2010.

Shanahan recalled some of that history Monday, pointing out that the 2006 and 2008 teams were in playoff contention until the final week. He also spoke of the way his current Redskins finally discovered the confidence to get on a roll when another losing season seemed inevitable.

``I'm very proud of this group,'' Shanahan said. ``Because there's a lot of people, when you're 3-6, and you're fighting some adversity, they're not strong enough mentally to really go out there and practice hard, and give themselves a chance to accomplish goals. You've got to have strong character to take criticism and keep on fighting, not worry about what's being said, and just focus on your job. Players, as well as coaches.''

Shanahan certainly heard the criticism when he said the playoffs were no longer a realistic goal immediately after the record dropped to 3-6. He maintains his words were misinterpreted, and his attempts to explain them actually helped the players believe there was still something to play for.

That confusing week seems ages ago. On Monday, Shanahan was clearly in a good mood at his weekly news conference. He joked with a photographer that ``my good side's over here'' and laughed when asked by a reporter whether any players were being suspended this week. The team has a habit of waiting until Shanahan has left the room to announce such bad news.

Asked about the state of quarterback Robert Griffin III's sprained right knee, Shanahan joked: ``I was a little disappointed yesterday because he only averaged 10 1/2 yards a carry.''

On kicker Kai Forbath, who hit an upright to end a streak of 17 made field goals to start a career, the coach said: ``We cut him since he missed that field goal. He's gone.'' Then he recanted with a smile: ``We'll allow him one miss.''

Seriously, Shanahan offered a clue on how he's changed as a coach over the years. Talent, he's learned, isn't enough.

``When you're younger, you're always looking for the best athlete. You always think that athlete is going to get you that championship,'' he said. ``And through experiences you realize that everybody has to know their role. There's only going to be so many great athletes on your football team, and those great athletes, you're hoping that they're your leaders.''

Obviously, Griffin tops that list: The Redskins are 7-0 since he's been made a team captain. But solid locker room guys such as London Fletcher, Barry Cofield, Stephen Bowen, Lorenzo Alexander and a rehabilitated Trent Williams fit that bill, too.

And then there are those hard-to-grasp intangibles: confidence and momentum. The Redskins now have them both.

``I think that's what separates teams,'' Shanahan said. ``Teams that play with a lot of confidence, you get used to winning. You expect to win. You've been in that situation a few times. Whether it's a tough third quarter, it's a tough first quarter or a fourth quarter, and you find a way to win. It's a mindset, a lot of guys believing in each other, concentrating on their job, and in the end finding a way to get it done.

``And when you do that, sometimes you just get used to it. It's one of those things that kind of separates really good teams from average teams.''

Notes: It's been three weeks since Griffin sprained his knee, and Shanahan cautioned it might take a while before the rookie is back to world-class speed. ``Is it a month? Is it a month and a half? You never really know when it's completely healed,'' Shanahan said. ... CB Cedric Griffin's four-game suspension for violating the NFL's policy on performance enhancing substances is over. He will return to practice Wednesday, and the team will decide by the end of the week whether to restore him to the 53-man roster. ``It all depends on what type of shape he's in,'' Shanahan said.

---

Follow Joseph White on Twitter: http://twitter.com/JGWhiteAP

---

Online: http://pro32.ap.org/poll and http://twitter.com/AP-NFL

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Charles ClayNov 21 05:52p

Miami Dolphins TE Charles Clay (knee) did not practice Friday, Nov. 21, and he is doubtful for Week 12 against the Denver Broncos. Clay suffered a setback in practice [ More ]

Arian FosterNov 21 05:32p

Houston Texans RB Arian Foster (groin) did not practice Friday, Nov. 21, and is questionable for Week 12 against the Cincinnati Bengals. Head coach Bill O'Brien said Foster would [ More ]

Jason AvantNov 21 04:52p

The Kansas City Chiefs will sign free-agent WR Jason Avant (Panthers), according to a source. Avant worked out for the team Friday, Nov. 21.

Delanie WalkerNov 21 03:32p

Updating a previous report, Tennessee Titans TE Delanie Walker (concussion) fully participated in practice Friday, Nov. 21, and is listed as probable for Week 12.

Larry FitzgeraldNov 21 03:12p

Arizona Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald (knee) is considered a game-time decision for Week 12, according to head coach Bruce Arians.

Adrian PetersonNov 21 03:02p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson's appeal hearing is scheduled to occur Dec. 2, and commissioner Roger Goodell will not be in charge of the hearing. Former NFL employee Harold [ More ]

Larry FitzgeraldNov 21 02:22p

Arizona Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald (knee) was not participating during the media-access portion of practice Friday, Nov. 21. Fitzgerald was working on the side during that part of practice.

Delanie WalkerNov 21 02:22p

Tennessee Titans TE Delanie Walker (concussion) has passed his concussion test and is good to go in Week 12 against the Philadelphia Eagles.

Giovani BernardNov 21 02:12p

Cincinnati Bengals RB Giovani Bernard (hip, clavicle) fully participated in practice Friday, Nov. 21, and is probable for Week 12.

Julius ThomasNov 21 02:12p

Denver Broncos TE Julius Thomas (ankle) is listed as questionable for Week 12 against the Miami Dolphins after putting in a limited practice Friday, Nov. 21.

Emmanuel SandersNov 21 02:02p

Denver Broncos WR Emmanuel Sanders (concussion) practiced in full Friday, Nov. 21, and is probable for Week 12 against the Miami Dolphins, according to head coach John Fox.

Julius ThomasNov 21 01:52p

Denver Broncos TE Julius Thomas (ankle), who appeared limited during practice Friday, Nov. 21, figures to be a game-time decision against the Miami Dolphins in Week 12. Thomas said [ More ]

Dwayne AllenNov 21 01:32p

Indianapolis Colts TE Dwayne Allen (ankle) has been ruled out for Week 12 against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Jonas GrayNov 21 01:22p

New England Patriots RB Jonas Gray (undisclosed) was a no-show at practice Friday, Nov. 21.

Jordan ReedNov 21 01:12p

Washington Redskins TE Jordan Reed (hamstring) missed his third straight day of practice Friday, Nov. 21, and head coach Jay Gruden said Reed has been ruled out for Week [ More ]

Emmanuel SandersNov 21 01:12p

Denver Broncos WR Emmanuel Sanders (concussion) is participating in practice Friday, Nov. 21.

Adrian PetersonNov 21 11:02a

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson said he'll gladly return this season if he wins the appeal of his indefinite suspension. If he loses his appeal and has to sit [ More ]

Latavius MurrayNov 21 10:32a

Oakland Raiders RB Latavius Murray (concussion) has earned himself a larger role in the offense, according to interim head coach Tony Sparano. His concussion, obviously, will dictate when that [ More ]

LeGarrette BlountNov 21 10:32a

New England Patriots RB LeGarrette Blount was not signed by the team to replace RB Jonas Gray as the between-the-tackles runner. Blount's presence gives the team another tough inside [ More ]

Jeremy HillNov 21 10:02a

Cincinnati Bengals RB Jeremy Hill will be the leader in a 65-35 split of the carries with RB Giovani Bernard in Week 12, in the opinion of beat writer Paul Dehner Jr.

Emmanuel SandersNov 20 07:42p

Denver Broncos WR Emmanuel Sanders (concussion) has done conditioning work and will be evaluated again Friday, Nov. 21.

Eric KushNov 20 07:03p

The Kansas City Chiefs have declared WR A.J. Jenkins, QB Aaron Murray, CB Christopher Owens, WR Donnie Avery, C Eric Kush, CB Jamell Fleming, OT Laurent Duvernay-Tardif inactive for Week 12.

Matt McGloinNov 20 07:03p

The Oakland Raiders have declared CB Carlos Rogers, TE David Ausberry, OG Gabe Jackson, SS Jonathan Dowling, QB Matt McGloin, OG Tony Bergstrom, CB Travis Carrie inactive for Week 12.

Charles ClayNov 20 06:42p

Miami Dolphins TE Charles Clay (knee) did not practice Thursday, Nov. 20, after being limited Wednesday, Nov. 19.

Tauren PooleNov 20 06:42p

The New Orleans Saints released RB Tauren Poole Thursday, Nov. 20.

Jordan CameronNov 20 06:12p

Cleveland Browns TE Jordan Cameron (concussion) did not practice for the second straight day Thursday, Nov. 20.

Arian FosterNov 20 05:52p

Houston Texans RB Arian Foster (groin) did not practice Thursday, Nov. 20, after being limited the previous day.

Pierre ThomasNov 20 05:42p

New Orleans Saints RB Pierre Thomas (rib, shoulder) was limited in practice Thursday, Nov. 20. Thomas has missed the last four games, but he said there's a chance that [ More ]

Jerick McKinnonNov 20 05:32p

Minnesota Vikings RB Jerick McKinnon (back) was limited in practice Thursday, Nov. 20.

Jimmy SmithNov 20 04:32p

Baltimore Ravens CB Jimmy Smith (foot) said Thursday, Nov. 20, that a Lisfranc injury is the reason he is out for the rest of the season.

Montee BallNov 20 04:22p

Denver Broncos RBs Montee Ball (groin) and Ronnie Hillman (foot) both did not practice for the second straight day Thursday, Nov. 20.

Ronnie HillmanNov 20 04:22p

Denver Broncos RBs Montee Ball (groin) and Ronnie Hillman (foot) both did not practice for the second straight day Thursday, Nov. 20.

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2014 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group