With the hiring of GM Scot McCloughan, the Washington Redskins set the stage for future building blocks. The Redskins are in desperate need of “doing things the right way.” With an emphasis on using the draft to fill needs and build depth, which is critical in the NFL.
While the front office appears to be shaping up in the right direction, the football side of things are still in doubt. Jay Gruden will be entering year two as an NFL head coach and still has much to prove. Couple that fact with the hiring of defensive coordinator Joe Barry, and Redskins fans are far from comfortable about things at the moment. Many can feel a “throw-away” season on the horizon, and it’s near impossible to try and dispel those thoughts when you look at things and take them at face value.
Chance to Fix What’s Wrong
The truth is this organization has been steered with no rudder for some time now, and even with the right individuals in place in the front office, it’s going to take some time to rebuild the culture. Some may not understand what it takes to rebuild that culture, but it started in 2010 when Bruce Allen was hired.
Many are quick to jump and say Allen hasn’t helped the Redskins, which is far from the truth. Allen is good at what he does; the thing is, he wasn’t brought to DC to seek out talent and be the prototypical GM. Allen was brought in to bridge the gap between Redskins past and Redskins present while heading into Redskins future….not an easy job when you consider how things were when he arrived. In the process, Allen has created many working relationships with former players who previously had no connection with the team. The organization had no structure when Allen arrived as it pertains to former players from Redskins past…that has changed.
Allen, the Politician
Allen is basically a politician; he’s here to shake hands with the fans, kiss the babies, bring back the Redskins Alumni, and balance the checkbooks/write the checks. When Mike Shanahan, who was in charge of personnel, was fired following the 2013 season, Bruce was given the wrong title, his operations promotion was warranted, but the team should have hired Morocco Brown as GM then and started the process McCloughan is doing now, which is rebuilding the talent.
What hasn’t changed during Allen’s tenure, with an exception of 2012, has been the product on the field. That can be attested to failure with coaches, players, front office members, on-field execution, injuries, cap penalties, and just plain bad luck. In the Redskins case, the press and many others will attempt to blame the owner, which, if you think about it, is pretty silly considering he never takes the field or calls any plays the entire season, nor does he structure team practices or even get involved in the day to day activities. Fact is, Daniel Snyder got a bad name when he first came to DC and hasn’t been able to live that opinion down; it doesn’t help that the team continues to struggle.
Snyder likely will never live that opinion down until the Redskins hoist a Lombardi trophy with him as the team’s owner. Redskins fans don’t relate to him like Jack Kent Cooke, although many forget that Cooke was looked at in the same light until the Redskins won a Super Bowl title in 1982…after that, all was forgotten/forgiven because, after all, winning cures everything.
In Snyder’s case, many view the culture in Washington as something he, in fact, created, which may have some truth to it, but is not the ONLY reason the franchise has failed. Many NFL players have stated over and over that player execution is at the root of not winning for any organization…take the lack of competitive execution and couple it with a lack of quality front-office help, and you have the Washington Redskins for the last 20 years.
All is not lost, though, and to the Redskins fans who constantly say, “can we trade the owner” or “get us a new owner,” what if that could and did happen, and in return, Redskins Nation got an owner who cared nothing of the organization? Moved the team away from the area? Changed the name? No one man or woman is perfect….just remember my friends; it could always be worse. There are a collection of teams who have never even won a title, whose team owner only cares about the bottom line and the possible tax benefits of situations. Snyder has had issues putting a winning product on the field, and it’s understandable to get mad at that fact, but it’s unrealistic to think he doesn’t want to win just as much as each and every other fan of the burgundy and gold. He loved the team as a child and still does as an adult.
Snyder is guilty of hiring some questionable guys in the past (coaches/front office and players); no denying that. But Scot McCloughan may, in fact, be the best move Snyder has made since buying the team. McCloughan brings a winning formula of scouting/drafting with him that has been on display in Seattle and San Francisco for the past few seasons. He’s a proven commodity and a guy the Redskins needed five years ago.
A Hopeful Look Ahead
As long as Snyder continues to do what Snyder has done since 2010, which is stay in the owner’s box and out of football operations, McCloughan will have the franchise contending again by 2017. That may seem like a long time, and in reality, it may be, but the Redskins need to rebuild from the ground– up.
Given what the franchise gave up to get quarterback Robert Griffin III, one would hope they would do everything in their power to develop him before letting him go. That’s a chapter that is unwritten as of yet, but McCloughan will be the one who pens that decision, and he’ll likely do it in 2016. If the team chooses to go in another direction, they could be drafting another quarterback next year, a process Redskins fans know better than most.
The Redskins have a chance to fix what’s wrong, and Scot McCloughan is the man who will hopefully do it.