Washington Redskins coach Mike Shanahan wants his veteran players on defense to either “step up or shut up.”
“This is where normally football teams are taken over by their veterans,” Shanahan said in response to a question about whether he has seen a team’s defense pull things together after struggling for half a season. “You can go one direction or the other. You expect these guys to play at a higher level, even with some inexperienced guys. You expect them to get the most out of these other players that may not have played at the highest level they can. It’s either step up or shut up. And this is where you’ve got to get it done.”
The Redskins are 3-5 this season, Shanahan is calling Sunday’s game against the Carolina Panthers a must win.
When asked about the offense and defense midway through the season, Shanahan tells Mark Maske of The Washington Post it needs to improve and hopes the younger players can step up. He says he would like to see some more consistency on offense.
“We can break it down,”he said. “Obviously defensively, when you take a look at the stats, [they’re] probably not anywhere near where they were a year ago. But the good part about it is, a lot of these guys—our safeties are getting more playing time, our defensive ends, our outside linebackers are getting more playing time. We’ve got to get better and start playing our best football. So some of those inexperienced guys are more experienced now because they’ve had some playing time. Hopefully we can start playing our best football on defense because they’ve got some more experience.
“Offensively if you told me before the season we had the ability to do some of the things we’re doing with a young football team, I would say that doesn’t happen very often in the National Football League unless your defense is number one or in the top three or four,” Shanahan said. “It just doesn’t happen. It just says a lot about the guys we do have on our football team right now. And special teams, I think at times… we’ve played well. At times we’ve been a little bit inconsistent. That’s what we’ve got to do. We’ve got to start playing our best football and find a way to win those games in the fourth quarter that we haven’t done.”
Robert Griffin III, Pierre Garcon