A Brief (Ish) Rant: Redskins Owner Dan Snyder Gives Fans Front Office They Want; Fans and Media Complain Anyway
1.) What happened today in the wake of Mike Shanahan’s firing was essentially what we here at HTTR24-7.com have been saying would happen for a while. The only thing that didn’t change was the titles. But for all intents and purposes, the front office structure that fans had been lobbying for was largely put in place. It did not, however, stop them from complaining about it.
2.) “Why not change the front office structure of a 3-13 football team”? Largely, in part, because Director of Pro Personnel Morocco Brown and Director of Player Personnel Scott Campbell are praised in league circles for doing great work. The issue had been that former general manager Vinny Cerrato simply ignored them when he was there. While Shanahan kept the front office mostly in tact when he came aboard, he and he alone had control. And so while Shanahan did listen, he ultimately used his own judgment.
3.) That was the underlying thread of General Manager Bruce Allen’s praise of Brown and Campbell; that they do great work, and that it just wasn’t heard. Chris Cooley dropped a nugget on “The Drive” on ESPN 980, saying that Shanahan often sought help outside the organization to help build the team. That was the danger in entrusting all the power in the organization to one player. Both Allen and Cooley paint a picture of a Shanahan who was unwilling to trust his own personnel department, despite praising them for doing good work.
4.) I hate to keep harping on Shanahan, but if he had a problem with the front office structure, he could’ve made up and down the board changes. But Mike himself said that he came on board, saw what the team was doing, and loved their work. And so he kept them. He also kept the scouting staff one of the smallest in the league. And then didn’t listen to the guys he kept. Okay I’m going to stop talking about Shanny now.
5.) So, in essence, we got the exact front office we wanted. But rather than one guy shouldering all the power in the organization, it’s split among three people. Bruce Allen is still the community guy and the cap and contracts guy. Morocco Brown will be in control of scouting and evaluating free agents, and Scott Campbell will be in charge of running the NFL draft. All three men will work together and craft the roster, with Bruce Allen technically having final say. What that likely means is a collaborative effort, and if there is a disagreement, Allen (ever the politician) will try and “negotiate” between the two other parties, before essentially being a tie breaking vote.
6.) That’s what got everyone upset; Bruce Allen saying he’ll have complete control of personnel. But what was he supposed to say? “Well we all know I suck at the personnel side of things, so I’ll just strip myself of my title and hand it all to these other guys, bye!” Campbell and Brown will do their jobs, Bruce will do his. Never the twain shall meat.
7.) If you’re the Washington Redskins, and you’re trying to project an image of stability and patience, then firing guys who have league wide respect for doing a great job but being silenced does exactly paint the most rosey picture. Brown and Campbell will finally be unencumbered by a head coach with total control to do their jobs. Can we at least wait for them to fail before we describe the front office as dead on arrival?
8.) The Redskins will finally have the front office everyone says they should have; men with strong personnel backgrounds handling the personnel department, in tandem with a head coach who can focus on coaching, and an owner who stays the hell out of the way. This is what we’ve been asking for.
9.) It’s times like these that make me think that fans would’ve complained no matter who was named the general manager. Duke Tobin? “What has he ever done, he’s been under a meddlesome owner’s thumb already!”. Mark Dominik? “He blows tons of money in free agency and just got fired, plus Bruce loves him! What a joke!”. Just about anyone could’ve been complained about or questioned with this fanbase and this media.
10.) Everyone always demands that the Redskins keep their talent in house. I got into an argument with someone who said that the Redskins should’ve kept current Seahawks general manager on the roster over a decade ago, when he was just a guy that was under Marty Schottenheimer when he was the GM. Now, we’ve kept two respected individuals, allow them to do their job, and the apocalypse is about to happen in Ashburn, apparently.
Redskins fans will never be satisfied. Even winning may not satisfy them. (Unless you’re Mike Shanahan, then they’ll build a statue in your honor.) But I for one would like to see how this pans out, first with the head coaching hire, then with free agency and the draft, before I declare it the worst thing ever. After four years of hell, it can’t be much worse.