Washington Redskins coach Mike Shanahan said it's time for "evaluations" to see who should stick around in the future.
That should work both ways.
Owner Dan Snyder needs to use the final seven weeks to decide whether his coach merits returning in 2013. Something is afoot after Shanahan's remarks following Sunday's 21-13 loss to Carolina that dropped the Redskins to 3-6.
There's a 10-minute mandatory cooling off period in most leagues to allow everyone to calm down after games. Otherwise, coaches and players might say what they really think, and, well, leagues can't have that.
Unprompted, Shanahan started talking about next year, about evaluating players over the final seven weeks to see who should return.
That's astonishing. Like most coaches, Shanahan almost never says anything substantial, but those statements revealed his true feelings: After 2? years the Redskins aren't close to the playoffs.
Shanahan essentially told fans to wait till next year with nearly half a season to go, including four home games. FedUp Field will no longer provide a home advantage. It's going to be filled with opposing fans.
Coach Jim Zorn would have been fired for saying anything close to that during his 2009 death march. It shows Shanahan no longer believes in the roster. Oh, Shanahan can say playing hard is the same as trying to win, but it's not. Teams play for titles. Individuals play for contracts.
The locker room now knows the coach doesn't expect to make the playoffs even if it always was a long shot. The players know Shanahan no longer believes in them. That's a monster shot across a locker room.
It's a good thing this is a bye week and everyone can get away for a few days. Maybe the emotions will settle down. If Norv Turner's 1998 team can rebound from an 0-7 mark before the bye to go 6-3 afterward and then win the 1999 NFC East title, anything's possible.
But the Redskins haven't done well with coaches under owner Dan Snyder. Steve Spurrier quit to return to college, where he's better suited. But who quits an NFL job? Well, Gibbs did in 2007 after perhaps his best coaching stretch, getting the team to the playoffs following Sean Taylor's murder.
Gibbs no longer needed football and wanted to be closer to his family with a grandson fighting cancer, but that's two coaches who walked away from the Redskins. Norv Turner would have been the third in 2000 had Snyder not fired him with three games remaining. And Zorn certainly was relieved to go after being undermined by Snyder.
There are no happy endings at Redskins Park.
For two years Shanahan refused to use the word rebuilding. Evaluation is as close as he gets, but a total makeover of this team is needed, including at least part of the coaching staff. If the Redskins free-fall in the second half for the third straight year, Snyder needs to evaluate Shan?ahan.