This is the second part of Larry Michael’s interview with Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan (you can see the first part here), and — for my money — this is the meatier half. Shanahan discusses the value of the combine (which I’ll be writing more on in a little bit) and what he looks for in the prospects, among other things. But there are two comments I found particularly notable.
First, he discusses how important he thinks it is for players to participate in the offseason program at Redskins Park, and his thoughts can largely be summed up in one word: very. Here’s the non-summed up version:
“The organizations I’ve been around,” he says, “everybody has participated. We haven’t had people go off into different places. It’s a team sport and if you want to get good as a team, you’d better practice as a team. And you’ve gotta make sure that the players understand that they’ve got a chance to get better, not only individually but collectively as a team. It’s a commitment to each other.”
So just because you’re working out in, say, one of the training facilities in Arizona or Miami, that doesn’t necessarily satisfy what Shanahan is looking to accomplish. And — as always, when you’re thinking about offseason work and team-building — it’s probably important to keep this in mind as far as Clinton Portis goes.
The second — and even more revealing — comment of note came in response to a question from Michael about when the coach might know who his starting quarterback would be. Here’s what he said:
“What I try to do is get as much competition as possible,” Shanahan says. “And we’re gonna spend as much time with these guys as they want. What I mean by that is in the offseason, we’re gonna do whatever we can do to help them get better. And I’ve always been one [who thinks] that competition makes you a better football team, so we’re gonna try to bring the best players in at every position and have a great offseason program and evaluate that as time goes on.”
Which sounds to me like we shouldn’t be expecting a particularly speedy resolution to some of the questions we’ve been asking since the season ended, and it also sounds like we’re in for an interesting and lively offseason, training camp, and preseason.
Shanahan will reportedly be addressing the general media today around 10:45 — his first time doing so since his introductory press conference — so we’ll see if anything clarifies further then.
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