Redskins Call an Audible, Hire a GM

After the surprise announcement yesterday of Vinny Cerrato’s resignation and the announcement that Bruce Allen was hired as the Redskins’ new General Manager, the entire fan base breathed a collective sigh of relief. There was new hope for the future and Snyder was praised for his mercy. There were proclamations made like “Christmas comes early for Redskins fans!” And local sports radio ratings spiked to levels not seen since the announcement of Gibbs 2.0.

Ok, enough shenanigans, lets get on with the show.

In his first press conference, Allen laid out his strategy for turning this franchise around, which started with developing a relationship with the current coaching staff before he made any decisions about the future. However, a mere 24 hours later the Redskins are “in talks” to hire Mike Shanahan as the new head coach.

Now I know what you are thinking (I am too) - wasn’t Shanahan hand-picked by Snyder, and didn’t he very publicly reject Snyder just two months ago, supposedly because he didn’t want the job mid-season?

I am assuming that Allen knew that he was going to hire Shanahan, probably as a condition of employment, despite announcing a completely different strategy at his press conference. Don’t get me wrong, I think Shanahan is a good coach and they should pursue him, I would just like to know that Allen has the latitude to make that decision on his own. Unfortunately I think it’s clear who is (and more importantly who isn’t) calling the shots down at Redskins Park.

Let’s examine Allen’s resume to try and find any truth to this allegation. Does he have experience working with a meddling owner? Check. How about experience working with a high profile coach who wants to make personnel decisions? Check. Has a win-now-with-veteran-players attitude? Check. Has extensive experience with contract negotiations and salary cap management? Check and check.

If Allen was hired based on the merits of his resume, then it looks like Snyder plans to employ the same operational strategy that he used with Vinny. Allen is just going to be a better administrator. What’s noticeably lacking on Allen’s resume is any history of consistently drafting and developing talent. The irony is that Vinny, for all his faults, has drafted (and signed) some good players over the years, but he had some major misses and he didn’t have the sense to stop throwing away draft picks or overpaying players, and obviously he didn’t know how to build for the future.

The bottom line is that Bruce Allen is not the harbinger of stability and success that the Redskins’ faithful expect after suffering through 10 years of Snyder’s meddling incompetence. And I certainly don’t believe that this represents a change in Snyder’s ownership philosophy. Dan Snyder scapegoated Vinny Cerrato and hired Bruce Allen simply to save face with Redskins’ fans, not to build the foundation for a successful organization. Maybe it will still evolve into one, but it will be in spite of Snyder’s ownership, and definitely not because of it.

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