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Shanahan's first year with Redskins eventful
All season long, Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan eyed his players' practice habits and performances on the field.
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"I've had more fines here my first year than I did with Denver and the [Los Angeles] Raiders," Shanahan said. "That's a sense of responsibility, people doing things the right way, and sometimes it takes time for people to understand that everyone has a piece of the puzzle. Unless you have everyone going in the same direction, it's hard to get to that level."
Shanahan's insistence on treating each player the same and playing the best players, regardless of contract or name, was widely embraced inside a locker room that was eager to change a structure that resulted in years of losing.
"The past few years, you had players cussing out the head coach, players doing whatever they wanted to do," Sellers said. "Now that doesn't happen anymore. There's no more prima donnas on the team. We're all just individuals trying to get one goal, and that's to win. It's a nice feeling to have."
Shanahan proved his authority during his feud with defensive lineman Albert Haynesworth. After Haynesworth skipped the entire offseason program, Shanahan made him pass a conditioning test before joining the team in training camp practice.
He deactivated Haynesworth for a Dec. 5 game against New York after Haynesworth practiced poorly and showed up late to work the previous week.
Haynesworth in February 2009 signed a contract that included $41 million guaranteed, but now he appears headed out of town.
"Shanahan is going to make sure from the first guy on the roster to the 53rd guy on the roster is going to do things the right way," defensive lineman Kedric Golston said. "Everybody is going to be held accountable, and that's what you want to come to work knowing that there's one goal, one mission. I think we took a great step forward this season in getting that accomplished."
Now that Shanahan has implemented his rules and laid a foundation for professionalism at Redskins Park, the next step in improving the on-field product is a tougher task.
The Redskins have more needs on their roster--as evidenced by their record and struggles on both sides of the ball--than resources with which to fill them.
This week, staff reporter Rich Campbell is taking a look back at the Redskins' tumultuous season--and ahead to a busy offseason.TODAY: Mike Shanahan's rocky debut
Tomorrow: Defense struggled in switch to 3-4
Saturday: Season report card