There were at least two schools of thought when the Redskins announced that Scott Campbell and Morocco Brown would be the point men on player personnel in this upcoming era. Cynics asked how the team could stick with two men who had helped preside over several losing seasons. Optimists rejoiced that two men who had been ignored by Mike Shanahan would now be in control.
Count Chris Cooley, at least guardedly, in the optimists’ camp. The former tight end recently suggested on his ESPN 980 show that Mike Shanahan had been bypassing the team’s personnel department while making personnel decisions for the team.
“It’s hard to say much about them, in terms of the guys that they can bring in,” Cooley said of Campbell and Brown. “I can tell you that they’re two guys that I enjoy very much. I can tell you that they’re two guys that know a ton about the game of football, and a ton about football players, and I appreciate talking to them about these situations. But I don’t know the extent of their authority over the last 10 years. I just missed that meeting. No one knows the extent of their authority.
“What we do know is that Joe [Gibbs] had full authority in who he wanted,” Cooley said. “Zorn had nothing, and then Mike had full authority. So did they even get a chance? That’s what I wonder. I wonder why you don’t give more people opportunities; why you don’t sit at a table with 10 guys who have all evaluated people and say what do we ALL think’s best?”
So Cooley was then asked whether Mike Shanahan didn’t do that; Cooley said he was told that Shanahan in effect bypassed his own personnel department.
“Mike had guys that he liked through other sources, and it wasn’t through the Washington Redskins,” Cooley said. “[I’ve been told] that he didn’t necessarily utilize the Washington Redskins for putting his team together, that he wanted to put together his own team. And you could see it so clearly the way Mike did things: he was so proud of the guys that he released, that they didn’t even play for another team the next year. He’s so proud of himself for firing guys and them not getting a job somewhere else. I mean, all he does is just devalue guys. I don’t know why he’s proud.
“To go back to our scouting department….just to bypass the hype and to find out what people are about and what guys are about and to understand football players over athletes, I think they can do that,” Cooley said. “I’ve talked a lot to these guys and I think they can do that. Until they have a chance to be credible, until they have a chance to earn the respect of everyone else, what can you say? I mean, they just haven’t had a shot.”