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Mike Shanahan: ‘Completely Ludicrous’ To Believe Redskins Are Giving Up

By ZAC BOYER

zboyer@freelancestar.com | @ZacBoyer

ASHBURN – Mike Shanahan clarified on Monday that he is not giving up on the season, a day after the Washington Redskins lost to Carolina and his postgame comments included a reference to the team having “a chance to evaluate players.”

Shanahan

The head coach said Sunday after the 21-13 loss to the Panthers, a team that had won only one of its first seven games, that “when you lose a game like that, now you’re playing to see who obviously is going to be on your football team for years to come.”

Such a statement is typically an acknowledgement a team has given up on its expectations for the remainder of the season.

Shanahan, though, said that while he didn’t give “the perfect quote,” any such insinuation couldn’t be farther from the truth.

“I’m not saying I did a good job of explaining it,” Shanahan said. “I was just explaining it right now. When you talk about five games [remaining] in the NFC East and two in the AFC, starting our NFC East tour, just to think that we would play young players or suggest that we would play young players and the season is over with is completely ludicrous.”

Multiple players said after the game that they didn’t agree with Shanahan’s statement and that they still believed they had something to play for. Shanahan said he hadn’t yet addressed the situation with the team, which had the day off Monday but will practice once Tuesday before it begins its bye week and its league-mandated five days off.

Shanahan was criticized heavily for the comments by television commentators – including Tony Dungy, the former Indianapolis and Tampa Bay head coach, who has been hosting NBC’s “Football Night In America” and said he would never make such comments.

“We’re still battling,” Dungy said. “We’ve got a chance. The Denver Broncos were 1-4 last year and made the playoffs. I would never tell my team that.”

Since 1990, only three teams have made the playoffs after winning three of their first nine games – a fact Shanahan alluded to.

Left tackle Trent Williams said it seemed only natural to him that teams would begin evaluating players now, if only because it is a business and that it’s something that should be constantly ongoing.

“At this time in college, if you’re sitting at 3-6, basically, your season is over because you’re not going to a bowl game [and] you know, a lot of guys are jumping ship,” rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III said Monday. “But in the NFL, you have another half of a season, and miracles have happened. I don’t think what we would do would be a miracle if we won seven straight, but I think we are in must-win territory.”

Shanahan used that phrase last week in describing the dire situation the Redskins faced, and his original answer after the game came in response to a reminder of that viewpoint.

“When you talk about your backs being up against the wall, and those type of things, what you’re looking for is guys this week – each week that we have, the remaining seven games we have, each game – is kind of like a playoff game,” Shanahan said. “What you want to do is see how your players respond.”

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