When Mike Shanahan accepted the Redskins' head coaching job in January 2010, he inherited the oldest roster in the NFL, which had just turned in a 4-12 season.
Over the next three offseasons, Shanahan and his coaching staff revitalized the roster with youth and key veteran free agents, overhauling both playbooks along the way.
Now entering his third season at the helm, Shanahan said he finally feels confident with the long-term direction and prospects of the franchise.
"I feel really good about our football team," he said. "It's a change, obviously, completely. We've got guys who fit our system. We've got guys that you're hoping will all step up and play extremely well."
Of the 53 men on the roster in January 2010, only nine remain in 2012: Santana Moss, London Fletcher, Lorenzo Alexander, Fred Davis, DeAngelo Hall, Reed Doughty, Kedric Golston, Rob Jackson, Chris Wilson. Only three of these players are projected starters for Week 1.
Of the 22 starters on the team, only two are over the age of 30 (Fletcher, Madieu Williams). The average age of the 53-man roster now sits at 26.45 years.
The tremendous turnover in personnel has given Shanahan the opportunity to find players that fit his scheme and locker room. Overall, he feels better about everyone in the organization being the same page.
"I think we understand as an organization what our goals are," he said. "We understand what this team is about, and we know that everybody has to play for each other, and not just themselves."
The Redskins will have a big test this Sunday, as they open the 2012 season on the road. Shanahan is excited to get back to football, but understands that the season is a marathon, not a race.
"We know that if people go about the game the right way, and play for each other, we've got a chance to do something very, very special," Shanahan said. "I like the attitude going in; I like the competition, and hopefully we play accordingly.
"Only time will tell."