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Snyder's Search Is Becoming More and More Baffling

For better or worse, Redskins owner Daniel Snyder is very much front and center in finding a replacement for Joe Gibbs. Many Redskins fans have taken issue with the process.
For better or worse, Redskins owner Daniel Snyder is very much front and center in finding a replacement for Joe Gibbs. Many Redskins fans have taken issue with the process. (By Tracy A Woodward -- The Washington Post)
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By George Solomon
Sunday, January 27, 2008

Watching the Redskins pound the Dallas Cowboys at FedEx Field on the last Sunday in December to reach the playoffs, you could almost feel the affection fans in that stadium felt toward their team that night.

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No matter that I was watching that game about 1,000 miles way in a West Palm Beach, Fla., sports bar. You don't have to be a genius or political pollster to know that after the death of Sean Taylor and the gritty performance of the players and coaches, many fans put Joe Gibbs's 2007 squad among the most appreciated Redskins teams of all time.

But in the sports world of 2008, five weeks is an eternity.

And those warm, fuzzy feelings generated by the Redskins' playoff drive and the dignity displayed by the organization in the wake of the Taylor tragedy have been replaced by the anger and disillusionment many fans feel over the way team owner Daniel Snyder has conducted his search to replace Gibbs.

"I've never seen Redskins fans so mad," one friend involved in the sports radio business told me Friday. Several others echoed similar sentiments.

In the days following Gibbs's resignation on Jan. 8, the word most heard coming out of Redskins Park was "continuity."

Continuity among players who showed so much fortitude the past two months; continuity among the remaining coaches, led by defensive chief Gregg Williams, seemingly destined to replace Gibbs amid the warm feelings of that last Gibbs news conference.

But evidently those four interviews between Williams and Snyder -- on top of four years working under the same roof -- seemed to leave Williams on the outside looking in.

So much so that this past week Snyder seemed ready to hire former Giants coach Jim Fassel to replace Gibbs. Or until anti-Fassel sentiments began appearing on message boards and sports-talk radio put a hold on that expected news conference.

Talk about not believing in your own convictions. Snyder wheeled on a dime and apparently kept the job posting ("head coach for football team in most important city in world") alive, to the embarrassment of both candidates.

Then yesterday, Snyder went a step further, firing Williams and promoting assistant Greg Blache to the role of defensive coordinator. Snyder also made official the ouster of Al Saunders and the hiring of Jim Zorn, and said the team would not hire a new head coach until after next Sunday's Super Bowl.

Did Williams not find a common ground with Snyder and his newly promoted executive vice president Vinny Cerrato these past four years? Did Williams not play well with others in a higher pay scale? Did he anger the guys down the executive hallway with that "10-man, honor Sean" defensive scheme that no one, including Gibbs, knew about?


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