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Roc & the Redskins?

March 26, 2017
The Washington Redskins and the rest of the National Football League are a month away from the NFL Draft.

Unlike 31 other teams in the NFL, they do not have a general manager.

Then again, depending on who you talk to in the organization, the strong feeling is they haven’t had one for a lot longer than just two weeks, since they fired Scot McCloughan.

Oh well, such is life.

You may recall,  we were the first outlet to mention Doug Williams as a strong in-house candidate. Now everybody is chirping about him. 

Williams appears to be the odds-on favorite and somebody who front-office sources believe would be able to work well with Bruce Allen, coaches and other key staff like Eric Schaffer, Scott Campbell and Alex Santos.

That’s because Williams has already been working with that circle of key figures and took on a more elevated role when the bottom fell out and the Redskins sent Scot McCloughan home to ultimately never return again, on February 20.

Certainly, Williams is a key individual who Redskins fans more than recognize and respect. He’s worked in the personnel side of the NFL for several years and been with the Redskins for the last few years.

Obviously, he has not been a general manager before and has not run a personnel department either.

So the Redskins are not locking in on just one option. Nor should they.

I would be very surprised if former Bucs GM Mark Dominik is brought in to the fold, considering that Williams and he cannot co-exist in the same structure, a rift that became public in Tampa and one that has been backed up and confirmed by other sources.

They shouldn’t hire Dominik for more than just that reason.

The Redskins are often accused of not exactly being smart and doing the right thing, but occasionally they get it right.

One move they should seriously consider? Bringing back an old friend of the organization, Morocco Brown. Better known as "Roc" to people that have worked around him and know him well. 

Brown, the former Redskins Director of Pro Personnel left for Cleveland after the NFL Draft in 2014 because he was given a promotion  to vice president of player personnel by then Browns general manager, Ray Farmer.

Much like in Washington, the Browns are a very unstable franchise with a tricky ownership structure and an organization who has struck out about 9-out-of-10 plate appearances.

The situation was an uphill battle and then some for Brown with the Browns and two years after being hired, with Farmer already fired, Brown was let go as well.

Brown has been out of the NFL since, as he awaits his next opportunity. The NFL cycle for personnel men and executives like Brown, lends itself to hiring season starting after the draft or around May 1 ..

For whatever reason, Brown did not catch on with an NFL team after last year’s draft, so he remains available and ready.

The Redskins, as we’ve mentioned before in this space, should pounce. They should covet a guy of Brown’s experience and work-ethic.

They shouldn’t be afraid to admit their mistake when they allowed Brown to leave the first time, despite having every opportunity to keep him and reward him with a promotion.

Brown, during his time with the Redskins, interviewed for the Arizona and Tampa general manager openings. He was a finalist for both. Brown also had an opportunity with the Philadelphia Eagles after the Browns situation fell apart. 

He was on everybody’s short list. Brown was highly recommended in league circles because of his hard work and complete dedication to the job.

He was nice and polite, but didn’t BS anybody. He wasn’t partying or playing within the culture that has been built at Redskins Park.

A culture that freely encourages socialization and an inner-circle of decision makers that embrace the next step over a cocktail or two, or many more than that.  If you are not a part of that group, you have a minute chance of advancement.

This is part of the problem within the confines. You can do your job really well like Brown and others have done (or did) for a long time and you don’t get rewarded in a meaningful, public way.

There were/are no promotions to be had. There was nothing to shoot for, because ambition was not being rewarded. You might get a small raise and a pat on the back, but if you had any goal of taking the next step – good luck!

Oh and don’t let the front door hit you on your backside.

Maybe that happens now? Perhaps the Redskins reward from within? Or perhaps they do what they always do. Treat people on the outside better than they take care of their own.

That concept hasn’t really occurred with the Redskins under Dan Snyder and Bruce Allen. It still doesn’t happen. Sometimes, even a title change or promotion would mean a lot to individuals because that is also an important step in one’s career path. How you are viewed on the outside in NFL circles, is crucial.

The Redskins do not believe in that because advanced titles and ambition is not rewarded or encouraged. Instead, doing your role in as non-descript of a manner as you can, living with fear and intimidation for your job security and staying out of the headlines is what counts.

The mafia-style power structure the Redskins have in place is this: Dan Snyder is the boss or ‘don’ of the “family” with Bruce Allen serving as the ‘underboss.’ Eric Schaffer essentially serves as the ‘consigliere’ on all matters.

Everyone else is on the ‘capo’ level with varying degrees of power and juice. As an example, Jay Gruden has more control than  Williams or Alex Santos, but essentially they are all on the same tier. Don’t step out of line or you’ll get ‘whacked.’

Which brings us back to Brown. He realized his only chance of advancing was to leave the organization. It worked in terms of title and rank, but landing with Cleveland was like a 747 skidding off an icy runway at Dulles.

Sometimes – you can do everything right and still wind up in a bad situation or with bad results. That’s what happened to Brown. He didn’t do anything wrong. He did what anybody in his position would have.

That’s why it’s time for the Redskins to reverse a wrong and seriously consider making him the new general manager after the 2017 draft.

Mike Mayock has never worked in that position before, never mind a front office structure as complicated as the Redskins.

Doug Williams certainly makes sense, but again, he has not been a general manager before and some in league circles, question and worry about his work ethic.

Brown hasn’t been a GM either, but he has the highest level of experience of the three along with the best and most proven work ethic of these potential choices.

Image result for Morocco Brown

Brown has worked in the building and with many  of the key figures. He knows the politics and he understands the pitfalls.

As a director of pro personnel, he was limited. As a general manager, he still would not have the power that some GM’s have, but he would have more than he did. Which means a very positive and proven influence could make the Redskins stronger together. That’s one of their motto’s isn’t it?

Would they be willing to admit their mistake? Probably not. They were willing to let Brown walk out the door without rewarding him a few years ago, but maybe it was a hard lesson learned.

They were willing to hire McCloughan because he was a troubled knight in shining armor instead of promoting Brown earlier (before he left) and then A.J. Smith, mostly because Dan Snyder didn’t like what he stood for when it came to Robert Griffin III.

Williams has made it known that he wants to take the next step and might consider leaving the Redskins if that opportunity presents itself elsewhere.

The Redskins do not need a sexy name or figure to promote and push. They need a damn good football man to oversee the football operations. Somebody that has been there and done that, in the building. Somebody who they didn’t reward the first time and could reverse a wrong.

If the Redskins truly care about winning and not marketing, they’ll bring back Morocco. If they care about honest football evaluations, they’ll bring back Brown. If they want a no-nonsense, dedicated family man who is not going to cause the issues their last choice did, they’ll choose Morocco Brown.

It’s really that simple. 

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