Redskins coach Mike Shanahan tried to clarify his comments after Sunday’s 21-13 loss to Carolina that some interpreted as him waving a white flag on the season.
After the game, Shanahan said, “When you lose a game like that now you’re playing to see who obviously is going to be on your team for years to come. Now we have a chance to evaluate and see where we’re at. Obviously we’re not out of it statistically. Now we find out what kind of character we have and how guys keep on fighting throughout the rest of the season.”
Some Redskins, based on their expressions or their words, were surprised by the comments. Others understood what Shanahan was saying.
But, on Monday, Shanahan offered a more in-depth take on what he said — or wanted to say.
“The first thing is, that’s very tough to go through that type of adversity when you lose a game like that,” Shanahan said. “Everybody puts so much into it. It’s very tough because you put everything you have into that game and adversity does strike, you want to see how guys handle that adversity. When you talk about your back being up against the wall, what you look for is guys this week, each game that we have the remaining seven games, each game is kind of like a playoff game. What you want to do is see how your players respond. I don’t care if it’s a first-year player or a second-year player or a five-year player or a 10-year player or a 15-year player. We will see how they play now through the rest of the season.”
Shanahan admitted that he could have stated it more clearly.
“I’m not saying I did a great job of explaining it, but when you talk about five games left in the NFC East and two in the AFC, to think we would just play young players or suggest we would play young players and the season is over with is completely ludicrous,” Shanahan said. “We want to see how [everyone] plays from now on through the rest of the season. We better get their best shot. I expect this team to step up and play at a high level. We made a number of cuts over the last couple years to get these type of guys. I think our players will respond the right way.”
Shanahan said they will evaluate the coaches, players and schemes during the bye week. What he said he won’t do is make any coaching changes during the bye week.
His goal now, he said, is to position themselves for a strong finish.
“Obviously every game is like a playoff game,” he said. “We don’t have much margin for error.”