No one knows why the Burgundy and Gold continue to play this maddening type of football, and I’m tired of pretending I do. I would contend, the facts indicate they have not improved as much as most of the teams they have played so far this season. From what I’ve seen so far, they will not become a playoff team this year.
Seven clubs, Dallas, St. Louis, Philadelphia, Green Bay, Indianapolis, Chicago, and Detroit have gotten better over the course of this season. Houston, Tennessee, and Minnesota are on par with Washington, and only if they were to play Tennessee again would I feel comfortable predicting a victory. How has Shanahan perfected the unusual ability to appear to be in a lot of these games, yet end up losing, or perhaps more frustrating, winning on the last play to make everybody believe they have finally put it all together? Are they on the cusp of the long awaited resurgence, or is this the same irritating charade?
There is no palpable offense, and although the defense has played well at times, when it positively, absolutely has to get there, they falter. The special teams are the only unit of this team that plays reasonably well. If it weren’t for Brandon Banks, what would their record be? After looking at Bank’s 77 yard punt return in slow motion, it was apparent Byron Westbrook had a hold that would have affected Banks return; it obviously was not called.
The attitude and energy they have played with seems to be adequate most of the time. I do believe the coaches are putting in the effort, as well. What it comes down to is Shanahan. He’s in a new environment after a year layoff. He has imported his son’s offense, as well as changing the defensive front to a thirty four. He also brought in a lot of aging players, and then we hear how long it takes to perfect his brand of football on both sides of the ball. By the time they get it, won’t they be too old to contribute at the level that’s needed in the NFL?
We’re seeing more of an infusion of youth. That is good. But isn’t the only reason we’re seeing them because the older players have either been injured or just not able to play at an acceptable pace?
Shanahan, like all of us, is not beyond self doubt; the longer his offense stays mired in ineptitude; eventually he will begin to ask himself, “Can I still coach at this level?” His team’s play cannot be what he imagined it would be at this point of the season. There are so many questions to be asked, and we’re not the only ones with inquiring minds. Right now, he too, only has questions. It is reminiscent of Steve Spurrier after his 5-11 season, ”Not too good.”