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If Bruce is Digging in, it's Time to Panic!

February 11, 2017
The Redskins are back to being a mess. All it took was a massive and not-so stunning collapse and it wasn’t just about one game.

It’s the culture they created. It’s the resistance to do things a smarter way. It’s a long-line of blunders feeding the monster and catching up to them at the very worst time.

The reality of the situation is this. If the Redskins were 8-7-1 in 2015 and fell just short of the playoffs, it would have been perfectly understandable and almost surely, would have been acceptable by the fan base.

Because that exact scenario occurred in 2016 after a 9-7 NFC East championship season the year before, massive disappointment and failure is the perception and reality of the situation.

Which brings us to the most critical off-season in well, two years. Alright, maybe longer, but who knows with this organization. Panic and anger seems to be running wild.

There should be frustration. There should be a sense of urgency. There should be an overwhelming sense of failure and a desire to fix it and repair things quickly.

I’m sure there’s all of that behind the scenes, but that’s not what the public sees and hears. Instead, we get stories of how the general manager is not allowed to talk to the media and a complete lack of measurable progress on some huge decisions that the Redskins have to figure out.

Instead of being candid and honest, the Redskins would rather restrict.

Instead of trying to correct a wrong from last year, the Redskins would rather play in the world of politics.

Instead of trying to bring back one of their top two receivers, crickets are chirping (as of now) for Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson.

Although, Jackson is doing his best to show a desire to commit and stay, which surprised many, including myself.

It doesn’t seem like any of that is on the front-burner. Maybe it is behind the scenes but when stories of dysfunction and politics behind the scenes leak out, fans and media rightfully, get nervous and antsy.

We’ve been here before. We’ve seen this story play out. We’ve seen this script before and thought it was thrown in the trash two years ago, when Scot McCloughan arrived.

Even I was optimistic that maybe, just maybe, things were going to be done differently and that ego’s were going to be massaged and managed.

Then you get reminded of this simple, never ending fact: This is the Washington Redskins. This is Bruce Allen and this is Dan Snyder. This is their legacy. One of control and power. One of ego-maniacal business practices that don’t always play out on the surface.

There’s always something bubbling behind the scenes. There’s always something that fans don’t know about that would just irk me to no end if I was a paying customer.

On the heels of his column on Thursday, my pal Mike Jones of the Washington Post joined the Sports Junkies” on 106.7 The FAN Friday morning and shed some light on what he’s hearing and feeling.

Jones told the Junks “There’s politics and all kinds of crazy stuff everywhere, but definitely at Redskins Park.”

The part that will get everybody in a lather is this: “I think there’s a little bit of jealousy on Bruce’s part for the credit, from what I’ve been told by a number of people, a jealousy on the part that Scot gets for them turning things around.”

Jones further explained, as transcribed by 106.7 The FAN's Chris Lingebach, “Bruce will look and be like ‘Trent Murphy had a great year, that was my draft pick. Morgan Moses had a great year, that was my draft pick.”

Now, maybe Jones is jumping to conclusions but I’ve worked around him for a long, long time and he is careful to run with conspiracy theories. I have no doubt that all of this and much more is going on behind the scenes.

I’ve insinuated and for good reason that the millions of dollars in potential revenue the Redskins lost is the genesis for the anger and extra control that Allen is displaying.  Trust me on this, I’m right.

The politics part is something that is very real, because as I’ve always said – Allen is much more a politician than a president of a football organization.

What must be infuriating is the notion (likely reality) that Allen is feeling that he knows more about personnel than he really does. Maybe he knows more than he’s credited with, but football personnel evaluation is certainly not his strength.

He got a few evaluations right in 2014? Congratulations, Bruce! Trent Murphy, Bashaud Breeland and Morgan Moses are all fine contributors. An argument could be made for Spencer Long, who the Redskins were forced to go with at center.

If we’re looking at hits, we must focus on misses too and in Allen’s only draft where he was unchallenged (because he had a rookie head coach), Ryan Grant has played in 48 games but only has two touchdowns. Lache Seastrunk, Ted Bolser and Zach Hocker (all sixth or seventh round picks) made absolutely no impact.

Further, Allen can’t take credit for the picks he made that have had success and not take any blame for the selections of David Amerson, Phillip Thomas, Bacarri Rambo and Brandon Jenkins in 2013 right?

I can go on and on. Allen’s top failure was not doing anything to bridge the gap between Mike Shanahan and Robert Griffin III while helping to fuel the quarterbacks’ desire to do what he wanted to do.

This was after trading a king’s ransom for the # 2 overall pick, while knowing full well that Andrew Luck was the better pure quarterback. The Redskins were desperately hoping that Griffin would fall to them because he was a marketing machine and would make/made them millions and millions of dollars.

If they had a choice between Griffin and Luck (which they did not), I strongly, strongly believe they would have taken Griffin because he was an excitable selling point. Luck was stiff as a board and Griffin was the hottest toy on the shelf. Make no mistake the Redskins were more interested in waking up their angry and disheartened customer base than they were about anything else that came with the trade.

That included the bounty they had to pay. They still haven’t overcome the two lost first-round draft picks, one of which, would have been a # 2 overall pick to start of the Jay Gruden era. That fact wasn’t lost on the head coach either, and was a point he made the day after the season came to a numbing end.

Do we really have to dig this deep? No. Bruce can want all the credit in the world. Somebody should pat him on the back just so he doesn’t have to hurt his own arm from doing it.

This really isn’t about credit or not letting his general manager talk. In the end, this is about not doing what a good executive does. You support your personnel. You assist, help, shape and lead. You motivate and you don’t rule by fear and manipulation.

The other thing you don’t do? You don’t put your hands further into the cookie jar. Bruce (who is essentially Dan's wishes and Bruce rolled into one) could be on the verge of taking more control over the actual selection of players in the draft, in free agency and shaping the roster.

That’s dangerous. We don’t know exactly how this dynamic would play and has been playing out but there’s reasons to strongly believe that Bruce’s finger prints are all over a number of roster decisions.

Image result for Bruce Allen Dan Snyder


Finger prints are one thing. A death grip is another. If Allen and Snyder essentially ‘forced’ the moves of Donovan McNabb, Robert Griffin III’s draft trade, Griffin’s fifth-year option, the charade of naming him the starter for the 2015 season in February to counter a Mike Shanahan exclusive interview and the refusal to even remotely come close to a fair offer for Kirk Cousins – then Allen and Snyder are more than capable of choking the life, once again, out of the franchise.

There’s so much more but I am trying to spare you the gory details.

If this is a power-play to get more control of the football operation and decision making process than they already have, the Redskins are doomed and McCloughan might as well walk out the door, before his reputation is permanently stained with that stench that I already smell.

Sorry. In advance. I feel bad for you. 

Chris Russell has covered the Washington Redskins for six seasons for multiple media outlets and was a part of the Redskins Radio Network broadcast team for the last five. He covers the Redskins for Monumental Network (www.DCHotRead.com), WashingtonTimes.com, BreakingBurgundy.com & Warpath Magazine. Listen to Chris on Washington D.C.'s # 1 sports radio station, 106.7 The FAN    


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