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Redskins: What to expect from new VP Bruce Allen

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Matt Loede
NFL blogger and The League panelist
Thursday, December 17, 2009; 12:00 PM

The Redskins have named Bruce Allen, son of former Redskins coach George Allen and the GM for Tampa Bay from 2004-2008, as executive vice president of football operations and general manager. Bucs blogger Matt Loede discussed what Redskins fans can expect from Allen as a GM, and how he will try to shape the team's roster.

Loede is senior editor of the Buccaneers Gab blog and a panelist for The Post's NFL blog, The League.

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Ashburn, Va.: What kind of personality does Bruce Allen have and how will that play out when interacting with Dan Snyder? If Allen is weak-willed and timid then Dan will continue running the show behind closed doors.

Matt Loede: Bruce has a lot of fire in him, like his Dad. He was not afraid to dump some of the veteran talent from the Bucs when he came in back in 2004. The release of John Lynch was one that was tough to swallow, but in the end, it was a move that had to be made.

Will Dan still run the show? Yes, but Bruce will do his best to get and find players to make the team better. It's up to Dan to follow along or not.

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Los Angeles: Reports are coming in that either Gruden or Shanahan could be joining Allen. Heard anything on that? What's his connection to Shanahan?

Matt Loede: Of course he and Gruden worked together in Tampa Bay, but I think that would be a tough sell, as Gruden seems to thrive on MNF. As for Shanahan I know of no connection, but money talks, and there's talent on the table, which means Shanahan would be a fit for the Skins!

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Washington, D.C.: Okay, I'm happy and I truly never expected this! But who is Allen? If I recall, Gruden and Allen inherited the Super Bowl Tampa Bay team. So give me some feedback on his GM prowess.

Matt Loede: Allen has a very good football mind and of course background. He learned quite a bit from his Dad, and will use that history with the Skins to try and win over the fans.

He did put together a nice club with the Bucs back in 2005 when they won the South but then lost to the Skins in the wild card game, but injuries and some poor draft picks really ended his tenure on a solid note.

Bottom line though is Allen has the will as well as the smarts to do the job, now it remains to be seen if he can work with Snyder and get the proper players in place to make this team a winner again.

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Anonymous: We got Holmgren/Cowher/Shanahan out there.

Is this just another puppet?

Matt Loede: Honestly, the way Snyder has played this thing, that is a very valid question. If Snyder follows the routine of the Glazer's and allows Allen to run the show, this could be solid move. Of course now the question is who will coach this team in 2010.

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Anonymous: Shanahan is going to Dallas, so can we speculate on some other coaches?

Matt Loede: Gruden would work, but I don't see it, even more so after his inking of a new MNF deal.

Cowher is going to Carolina from what I hear, so unless Snyder comes up with a plan to grab him, I don't think that is going to happen.

Has Jason Garrett done enough to get back in the mix? Maybe, the Cowboys have been better on offense than in years past.

I wouldn't even think about Charlie Weiss, and there's no other big name college coach out there, so right now, there's for sure going to be a name coach that will come to town once Zorn is shown the door.

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GM vs Owner: Damn, if I was rich enough to own a NFL team I'd hope I'd be smart enough to hire a good GM then sit back and enjoy the view from the owner's box. Is this a sign Snyder may be learning his job is just to sign the checks?

Matt Loede: Great question. As stated before, it's hard to not admit your mistakes, so Dan is going to have to realize that he has to allow the people he hired to run the show. If he does that, and Allen can get a coach that can get the most out of his talent, this could be a great 1-2 punch.

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Columbia, Md.: Please tell me that Allen is a competent GM and this hire was not a "link into the Redskins past" similar to going back and hiring Gibbs.

Matt Loede: Allen has been a football guy his whole life, he can be a very good GM if given the freedom to come in and make moves that he wants to make, as stated a few times, it's up to Synder to give him the freedom to make moves.

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Annapolis, Md.: As a much-beleaguered Raiders fan I think this was a great decision for Washington. Not only was Bruce Allen able to assemble some quality talent that fueled the short-lived Raider Renaissance of the early aughts, but he did so working under an owner even more controlling than Dan Snyder.

Matt Loede: That is a good point about the Raiders rise when he was there, which a lot of people forget about. What his tenure with Oakland should show is even though he was a senior executive and not the GM, he could work with a high profile owner like Al Davis.

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Fairfax, Va.: How do you think Allen may or may not make an immediate impact with regards to the remainder of the season? Do you think he will make changes from the start or observe the team closely and make changes in the offseason?

Matt Loede: There's only three weeks left, so I would be surprised if he does anything other than observe for those three games. I can say for sure that one player that he will watch with great interest is Jason Campbell. His final three weeks will determine if he is back in 2010.

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noone from tampa, fl: Any chance Zorn stays?

Matt Loede: New GM, blew the game vs the Saints when they dominated for the most part, 4-9, poor offense most games. I would say it would take a minor miracle for Zorn to stick. I already think that decision has been made.

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Annandale, Va.: Should we be confident as fans, given Allen's track record in player acquisition?

Matt Loede: Just like any GM these days, Allen has had both some good and bad picks. He did grab Carnell Williams, and if he would have stayed healthy, he could have been a #1 back for years. The big thing about Allen is he's well connected and respected in league circles, so that's a plus as compared to some GM's that have little experience and respect.

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Washington, D.C.: Given Snyder's history, the relationship of Allen dealing with an Al Davis is scary. Was Allen a Davis pawn for the 1st round picks and free agency?

Matt Loede: I would say that Davis is the beginning and the end when it comes to the Raiders, while Snyder can be talked into allowing others to have input. Allen at the time of the Raiders reign did make some solid moves, possibly the best being bringing in Rich Gannon in 1999, and by 2002 he was the MVP of the league.

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New York, New York: What is Allen's overriding philosophy? Is he a West Coast offense person? Smash mouth? Offense-oriented vs. defense? Driven by his gut vs. statistical analysis?

The big problem with this team has been that it has no identity, and it keeps trying to cram disparate parts into a Frankenstein whole.

Matt Loede: Allen was a part of the west coast offense in Oakland, and Tampa Bay when Jeff Garica was there it was that same style under Gruden. I have a feeling that question really remains to be seen, and also it comes down to the health of Clinton Portis.

The team needs to figure out who will be under center next season, and that will go a long way in figuring out what type of offense they will run.

If I had to bet on it, Allen would love to make more of a shift to a run dominated offense with short passes and few mistakes.

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Washington, D.C.: Any idea what Bruce thinks of Jason Campbell? I just think it would be a huge mistake to let him go...I hope we would at least match what other teams offer.

Matt Loede: Allen hasn't spoken on record about Campbell, but he's going to give him a fair chance to be the starter and see what he brings to the table. Campbell's success over the last three games will have an impact on what the team does this offseason.

Plus there is also the chance the team will look at free agency and the draft to see what QB's are out there before a final decision is made on Campbell.

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Herndon, Va.: What are the top 5 picks that Bruce Allen made in Tampa Bay?

Matt Loede: Best draft pick? Could be LB Barrett Ruud, a second-rounder in 2005, or S Tanard Jackson, who has started all 32 games since he was picked in the fourth round in 2007. Of course then there is Carnell Williams, who if he would not have been hurt would have been a big time back in this league. Aqib Talib appears to be a solid pick, but overall Ruud was probably the best.

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DC: Cowher and Jason Campbell in Carolina next season? Sounds like a good match to me. I'd be more excited about that than Allen/Gruden/Colt McCoy here.

Matt Loede: Cowher likes ball control QB's, like when he had Neil O'Donnell in Pittsburgh, so I don't know if Campbell fills that mold of a Cowher-type of QB.

Allen/Gruden/McCoy would be an interesting sell to the fan base, as they need something in 2010 to sell tickets.

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Broken Arrow, Oklahoma: Do you think Portis is done? If so, does Allen go to free agency or does he use draft picks to replace Portis?

Matt Loede: Portis claimed the other day he will be back in 2010, and he's under 30 years old, so my bet is that he'll return. If not, Willie Parker is a free agent, that's one RB that comes to mind. Of course there are always quality backs in the draft as well, but my money would be on Portis being the feature back in 2010.

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Woodbridge, Va.: If Snyder is still going to run the show, then what's the point in hiring Bruce Allen?

Matt Loede: I think Snyder is finally going to allow someone to make some big decisions. Allen has a good football mind, and he'll have some big input on who is here and not. If not, this is never going to work.

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Atlanta: What do you know about Allen's time in Oakland. Will experience with Al Davis help him in keeping control despite Danny's overwhelming need to interfere?

Matt Loede: Allen was a Senior Executive with the club, and word was he and Davis got along. One move that Allen had a direct impact in was getting Rich Gannon in free agency in 1999. It's an indication he can sell players on coming aboard, and also he got along well with his coach in Jon Gruden.

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Washington, DC: How major will the shake-up be this offseason? I know a new coach is highly likely, but aside from that?

Matt Loede: The roster will be closely looked at, and moves will be made more on the offensive side to get playmakers. Wide out will be a position that could easily be upgraded, and IF Portis can't make a 100 percent recovery, they will look at that spot as well. But in the end, this team needs to upgrade, and Allen will take a long look at making sure the right players are brought in to do that.

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Washington, D.C.: Word of caution!!! You mentioned Jason Garrett of the Dallas Cowboys. We don't want Dallas players, coaches or opinions in the discussion. This is Redskins Nation, capice!!

Matt Loede: Whoops! Sorry about that, but in the end, if you can make your division rival weaker, wouldn't you be dumb to not take a look at doing it?

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Washington, DC: Why Gruden? Gruden took a team to the Super bowl with players that were already in place by Tony Dungy. Just like Barry Switzer with Dallas Cowboys, Tomlin with the Steelers, Seifert with the 49ers. Tampa Bay was a consistent playoff team before Gruden took over. The Redskins have very hungry coaches already on their staff if they look internally. If they continue going after big name players and coaches, it wasn't Vinny, it's Danny all along.

Matt Loede: Gruden is a name coach that puts TONS of time into what he does. This is not saying that Zorn and his crew do not, but they are 4-9 for a reason. Plus fans are staying away, and when they have showed up, many have come with signs pointing out the issues with the club.

Gruden will coach again, and with his relationship with Allen in the past, there's a connection, I just don't think it's going to be this fast. Gruden, like Cowher, loves the broadcast booth and needs to re-invent himself before he jumps back in.

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Broken Arrow, Oklahoma: Does this hire suggest Snyder has learned either from watching the Raiders become a mess or his past mistakes that he will let his GM take care of the football stuff?

Matt Loede: That's up to Snyder. I'd hate to see the backlash if the Skins become the Raiders of the NFC.

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Washington, D.C.: Had there been many rumors about this? Obviously he has a connection to the team through his father.

Matt Loede: There were some rumors early on about Allen, but the thought was that Vinny would wrap up the season and go from there, but after the Saints loss, all that changed to the point where the move was made quicker than expected.

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Gainesville, Va.: Matt, here's an interesting question for you. To what extent has Bruce Allen been around, near, involved (if he has), or even knows about this current Redskins roster? I ask because with all the talk about blowing up the team, new O-Line, new RB, possible new QB, need a CB and a REAL Free Safety what thoughts do you have on how much this roster will change now that Vinny is out and Bruce Allen is in? Also, do you know of any of Allen's successful draft picks? Has any of his picks made the Pro Bowl?

Matt Loede: Allen's draft classes have had some success, with Rudd, Tanard Jackson and Williams probably being the best of the bunch.

In terms of knowing the roster, I am sure he took a close look, and will look even closer now that he officially has the position. It won't take long for him to determine what has to be done.

Will there be a major roster shake-up? I would think that it's a safe guess based on the fact this team seemed to have some solid pieces and parts in place to have a good season, and now after 14 weeks they are 4-9.

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Rockville, Md.: Where Cerrato went so wrong was bringing in players, but not having an idea of how they went together. How is Allen as a team builder?

Matt Loede: Allen had a pretty solid relationship with a number of his players, and I would bet that he will take a close look at the current attitude of the locker room and those that cause issues will either be put in their place, or gone all together.

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Rockville, Md.: Those who follow the Skins could give a long list of strengths and weaknesses of the present front office. In following, Allen what are some insights you have that we can expect to see.

Matt Loede: Allen is not afraid to take some chances as well as get rid of high profile players that are not doing their jobs. He did it more so in Tampa Bay than Oakland, but his role with the Raiders was different.

He is a guy that will make sure he gets the most out of his players, and also will make sure that whoever is the coach is the same way.

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Washington, D.C.: Why now? Why not just wait until the season is over? Were other teams pursuing Allen?

Matt Loede: I think that the fan base and attitude really had an impact on this move. People are not happy, and Vinny was willing to announce this now, and Dan had a say in it as well. After Tim Ruskell did the same in Seattle, it didn't surprise me to see this move made at this point.

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Washington, DC: What do you see in Vinnie Cerrato's future? Permanent retirement?

Matt Loede: It would be tough for Vinny to land another job based on the lack of production his teams have had. Plus his personal relationship with Snyder helped him keep his job longer than he should have.

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New York, NY: What about Russ Grimm as the new HC? Not sure if Allen has any connection, but he obviously has Redskins ties and has helped turn the perrenial awful Cards into Super Bowl contenders.

Matt Loede: Grimm's best shot at being a head coach was the year he was passed over for the Steelers job for Mike Tomlin.

He is an interesting choice, and reminds me of when the Falcons picked Mike Smith from the Jags...we'll see if the team gives him a shot.

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Cumming, Ga.: Perhaps it makes sense to trade down from what will be a top 10--maybe top 5--draft pick and get more 2s & 3s and build the team from the inside out -- this would be what Bruce's late father would do -- how about Bruce?

Also, the mentioning of Holmgren, Cowher and Shannahan -- they are coaches not GMs. Hiring a GM -- a pure GM, to be the GM and nothing else but a GM is the smartest thing Dan has done IF he indeed stays out of the way and lets him do his job -- picking the coach, players, etc. I would rather see Russ Grimm here....again, old-school like George Allen Sr and would take no BS from any diva players -- any chance of that?

Matt Loede: I think Bruce will study the roster and decide if grabbing more picks is the right thing to do, bottom line, he's not afraid to make moves to build the team quicker.

Grimm we just talked about, and that would be an interesting choice for the fans and team based on his history here.

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Matt Loede: Okay everyone, thank you for having me and all the great questions! Let the Bruce Allen Era begin!

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Anonymous: Give me an impressive draft class or year by Allen.

Matt Loede: The Williams draft class of 05 was probably his best.

Okay everyone, thank you for having me and all the great questions! Let the Bruce Allen Era begin!

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Editor's Note: washingtonpost.com moderators retain editorial control over Discussions and choose the most relevant questions for guests and hosts; guests and hosts can decline to answer questions. washingtonpost.com is not responsible for any content posted by third parties.


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