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Redskins training camp
Mike Shanahan signs autographs following the morning practice session yesterday. Shanahan has a big task
photos by MIKE MORONES/THE FREE LANCE-STAR
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BY RICH CAMPBELL
ASHBURN--When owner Daniel Snyder introduced Bruce Allen as the Washington Redskins' new general manager last December, he called Allen a "proven winner," citing the five divisional championships Allen's teams have won during the last decade.
Three weeks later, when Allen stood at the same lectern and presented Mike Shanahan as the franchise's new head coach, he touted Shanahan as "one of the most consistent winners in the history of the NFL."
The trend was clear. After first-time head coach Jim Zorn flopped in a two-year stint and longtime front-office chief Vinny Cerrato was ousted, Snyder was ready to change course. It was time to establish some credibility and winning experience at the top of the organization.
The moves fueled optimism throughout the fan base that, despite being just days removed from the franchise's worst season in 15 years, the Redskins' steady downward trajectory would reverse.
Fast-forward to training camp yesterday, where that hope was as palpable as ever. One vociferous fan watching practice got a little carried away after a long gain by running back Clinton Portis and started yelling, "16-0, baby!"
And while that's going too far, the foundation for that optimism can't be ignored. It stems from Allen's and Shanahan's extensive experience. They are proven commodities, and the credibility that provides seems to be a necessary starting point for the Redskins' rebuilding process.
"I know Bruce, and I know what Mike has done," said Doug Williams, the former Redskins Super Bowl MVP quarterback who worked with Allen in Tampa Bay's front office from 2004 to 2008. "I think with that combination what you probably have is a lot more stability than they've had over the last few years. I think what Bruce and Shanahan bring is a different feel. I think they'll get the best out of the guys."
WORKING OFF THE PLAN