You might have heard that Mike Shanahan was named the 28th head coach of the Washington Redskins today. Well, as to be expected, he made time for the local media to get to know him a little bit after the official press conference. Here’s the first half of the interview session.
You said you watched a lot of games this season. What stood out about the Redskins, and how much of them did you watch?
“They lost some close games against some good football teams. They had a few injuries on the offensive line. Some games the defense played spectacular. The 7-6 game against Dallas comes to my mind. A lot of teams don’t do that against a good football team, especially the offense that Dallas is playing with. But more importantly, I’m looking forward to getting the chance to study everybody. When you watch TV, it’s not like going through cut-ups and getting the chance to isolate each guy on every play; not only one year, but a couple years. So I’m [looking] forward to not only studying them but getting to know them and getting evaluations from previous coaches on what they feel and trying to put the best football team we can on the field.”
What qualities do you look for in a quarterback?
“There’s so many different things. Number one, you’ve got to be accurate. Number two, you’ve to be passionate for what you’re doing. You’ve got to study the game inside and out. You’re looking for guys that carry that over to the football field. Some guys are talkers, other guys are quiet. I’ve seen people lead in a lot of different ways. The Joe Montanas, the Steve Youngs, the John Elways that I’ve been with, each guys is a little bit different in their own way. They’re all Hall of Fame quarterbacks. You get in there and get a guy like Steve Buerlein that would just go out there and find a way to win. Everybody had different characteristics. You’ve got to have a burning desire to want to be the best at what you do.”
Are you aware of the type of player Albert Haynesworth is and do you want him to be very comfortable in whatever defense you run?
“I’ve gone against Albert Haynesworth for a couple of years. He is a difference maker. You don’t want to go against him if you’re on the team because he is very disruptive. The thing I’m hoping is that we can keep him healthy. What that takes as you get older is a great offseason program. We’ll do the things that we need to do to get them in the right position to have success. I’m sure glad he’s on our football team.”
How do you address the need to keep problems in-house?
“I think you address it as a team. You talk about what a team is about and keeping things within. That will happen, I guarantee you. But that’s a message that you have to send, and it’s what’s important for an organization to be successful. There’s always disagreements about a lot of different things. It could specific. It could be offense, it could be defense, special teams, the PR staff, the grounds crew. But we’re a team. We’re the Redskins, and we’ll stay as the Redskins. That message will get across in time.”
Will your non-coaching duties be the same as you had in Denver? The power and the autonomy?
“I think the thing that people get a little carried away is because it was reported that I had final say. I do have final say. But I never used it in Denver. What I’m looking for is putting the strongest staff I can together, and that’s why people talk about Bruce. I said I’m so excited to get Bruce because I watched him operate when he was with the Raiders as executive of the year, when he was with Tampa Bay. I just watched him-as an agent, as a lawyer, as guy that’s in charge of the cap. I said, ‘Hey, this guy, I can’t believe is out on the street.’ And so when you get a guy like that, you say, ‘Hey, let’s gobble him up.’ I think you’ll find that it’s a team. The only way you win championships is you get the best at every position. I don’t care if it’s secretaries. I don’t care if it’s offense, defense, special teams. We’re going to get the best people at every possible position, even outside the program, to do what we need to do to get this thing where it has been.”