So with things falling apart, some people have wanted to hear from Bruce Allen. He is, after all, the president and general manager of a team that could use some general managing. As it turns out, I thought we would hear from him two weeks ago. But, you know.
Allen typically does a weekly interview with radio play-by-play man and Redskins senior vice president Larry Michael, which airs weekly on ESPN 980’s pre-game show. Before last week’s game against the 49ers, there was no Bruce Allen interview.
And so I looked forward to Michael’s interview with Allen that would air before Sunday’s Colts game. A lot of stuff was happening. The GM’s voice seemed like an important one.
“What about the focus of this team?” Michael asked Allen at the end of the brief interview. “A lot of things off the field this week. Is this team ready to go?”
“Yeah, you know, we had a lot of great things off the field,” Allen responded. “We had the Harvest Fest at FedEx Field. We had a great event in Richmond on Friday helping some people who need some help. Our team is focused. We’re hungry for a win. And it’s going to be a tough challenge today.”
Now, Bruce Allen is under no obligation to discuss the fact that his franchise quarterback has just been benched during a season-ending tailspin that has his 3-9 team in the spotlight of every NFL pre-game show. But to turn a question about that seismic, franchise-changing decision into an answer about an annual community event, well, it’s certainly one approach anyhow.
“I thought he might mention Robert Griffin being benched,” Tony Kornheiser pointed out on ESPN 980 Monday morning. “I thought if he’s the general manager….And then you follow up, you say whoa, that’s nice, all that stuff is nice, but what about the change at quarterback, where your franchise quarterback is now being benched for the last X amount of games for the second year in a row by a second coach whose career record is 3-8 going into that game? I mean, to me, that’s the follow-up question.”
ESPN 980’s Kevin Sheehan actually brought this up with Michael, saying that the GM had blown off the question “in sort of a breezy, smart-alecky way.”
“You’re reading that into that,” Michael disagreed. “When I hear him, I don’t hear him sounding like a smart aleck.”
“He didn’t answer your question,” Sheehan pointed out.
“He didn’t want to answer the question,” Michael said. “When was the last time that he gave a thorough, deep answer?”
This, remember, is the guy defending Allen.
“But this is a tough moment for the franchise; he should have addressed it,” Sheehan said. “I think it’s a bad time to be flippant.”
“You guys want to talk about the Harvest Fest, I understand, but I want to talk about what happened in that game yesterday,” Michael said.
Of course, even the people who were talking about what happened in that game were also talking about Bruce Allen. Here was Brian Mitchell, for example, on Comcast SportsNet’s Redskins Postgame Live.
“Where is Bruce Allen? Has anybody heard from him?” Mitchell asked. “There was a little clip that was out today, somebody asked him about the game and how they handled the week, and he’s talking about the Harvest [Fest]. I understand you did a lot for some people that needed it. But fans want to know what the hell is going on with this football team.
“And I’ll say this: Bruce has done a great job as far as bringing back the alumni and all that stuff,” Mitchell went on. “I don’t care if the alumni ever come back. I want to see winning football, now. And I think the fans want to see it. So Bruce, wherever you are, please speak and say something. When you got the job, you stated if they want to blame somebody, it was you now, blame you, you’re the one guy they should blame. Where the hell are you? Talk to us. Let the fans know something. And let’s stop letting everybody else have to take the bullets.It’s your turn to take the bullets, buddy.”
Though I can see where Allen might be occupied. It is Cyber Monday, after all. Offer valid by phone only.