“Today’s an exciting day for the franchise, because we really feel today the Redskins are going to get better,” Redskins President Bruce Allen said at General Manager Scot McCloughan’s introductory news conference on Jan. 9, 2015.
Allen didn’t mean the Redskins would get better off the field. They were already winning there, as Allen had noted during a cringeworthy season-ending news conference only 10 days earlier. No, the 43-year-old McCloughan, a well-respected talent evaluator with 20 years of experience as a scout and front-office executive who had helped mold the Seahawks into a Super Bowl champion before being fired in 2013 for alcohol-related problems, was brought in to make the Redskins a consistent winner on the field.
McCloughan had Allen’s blessing to make the decisions necessary to make that happen, at least according to the words that came out of Allen’s mouth that day.
“He’s going to be in charge of all the personnel department and the personnel on this team,” Allen said. “We picked Scot because of his great track record, but really the way he describes a football player, the intangibles that he’s looking for in a football player and the winning traits that he has helped other teams acquire.”
Later, Allen said it was a “no-brainer” to pursue McCloughan, whose “vision and leadership” would help the Redskins win.
“I’ve known Scot for a long time,” Allen, who worked with McCloughan’s brother and father while with the Raiders and once recommended McCloughan for the 49ers’ GM job, said. “It’s absolutely my recommendation to bring him in. I think he’s the right person for this organization right now to help us win.”
Allen had served as the Redskins’ general manager for the previous five seasons and was promoted to team president after Mike Shanahan was fired following the 2013 season. On the day he introduced McCloughan, he was asked how his own role with the team would change.
“Well, my new role is my old role,” Allen said. “I’m the president of the football team and I’m responsible for everyone with the Redskins, and it’s my job to help improve this franchise and do everything I can to help everyone here be successful.”
McCloughan, who talked about the importance of building a strong relationship with Coach Jay Gruden and the scouting department he inherited, was asked who would have the final say over the final 53-man roster.
“I have final say,” McCloughan said. “But again, it’s not going to be all about me, it’s going to be a whole process and we’ll come to the conclusion 99 percent of the time on the same person.”
If it all sounded a little too good to be true, a talent evaluator with a track record of success finally put in charge of personnel decisions and given full autonomy over the roster for an organization that hadn’t enjoyed back-to-back winning seasons since 1992, well …
At one point during the news conference, McCloughan said of his interviews with Allen and Redskins owner Daniel Snyder that he considered one of his gifts his ability to “read people pretty quick, and read through the B.S.” It’s apparent now that McCloughan, who never had full control of the roster and had his personnel decisions overruled over the past two seasons, read Allen wrong. With his days in Ashburn apparently numbered, he should feel every bit as betrayed as Redskins fans.
Allen, who may have been jealous of the credit that McCloughan received for building a roster that produced consecutive winning seasons, could introduce a replacement for McCloughan in the coming weeks. If and when that happens, what’s the point in tuning into the news conference? The Redskins are back to losing off the field.