Mike Shanahan: Coaches must earn trust

October, 16, 2013
ASHBURN, Va. -- Washington Redskins coach Mike Shanahan said he wasn't surprised to hear Niles Paul say some players still had not bought into special teams coach Keith Burns' system. To Shanahan, it's a natural byproduct of changing coaches.

[+] EnlargeDwayne Harris
AP Photo/James D. SmithMike Shanahan said trust has to be earned on special teams, which dragged down the Redskins in the loss to the Cowboys.
Burns took over for Danny Smith, who left to become Pittsburgh's special teams coach. And, Shanahan said, coaches aren't automatically given that trust.

"I don't care if you're putting in an offense, defense or special teams, you earn the right to be trusted. You've got to prove yourself, both as a player and as a coach," Shanahan said. "That's just typical. [Smith has] got to go to Pittsburgh and he's got to earn that trust, and if things aren't going good, you've just keep on working harder.

"A lot of people overreact to things like that because you have something that's negative and all of a sudden people don't really understand what happened. It could be one small little thing and all of a sudden that snowball starts rolling and people jump on the bandwagon and all of a sudden the sky is falling."

The Redskins' special teams have been under attack much of the season. They were spotty before Sunday, with no good returns and inconsistent punts. But they were bad against Dallas, allowing an 86-yard punt return for a touchdown and a 90-yard kickoff return to set up another score.

Players have talked about the different philosophy Burns uses compared to Smith. Players are still buying in, as Paul said. But there are other issues.

"We have a number of new faces in different positions," Shanahan said.

He also said if one or two calls had been made differently in that game then the night would have looked different. Dallas could have been called for a fumble when one of their players was blocked into a Redskins punt that was still bouncing in Cowboys' territory. Shanahan and Paul also both said he was blocked in the back on the touchdown return.

Shanahan said he will spend more time with the special teams this week, something he has done with other struggling units in the past. But he's not panicking.

"You can't overreact," Shanahan said. "You want to make sure our guys are accountable. We get better every day. There is a sense of urgency knowing what type of team Chicago is and you try to do that on a day-to-day basis."

John Keim

ESPN Washington Redskins reporter



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