In the days after the Redskins fired General Manager Scot McCloughan, there were two primary spins on his abrupt and stunning fall from grace. One posited that an internal power struggle left the GM on the outs, making an ugly separation inevitable. The other theorized that problems in McCloughan’s personal life made his continued employment untenable, and put the Redskins in an impossible situation.
There is, though, at least one more way of looking at McCloughan’s departure: that he wasn’t that essential to the front-office operation in any case. That’s the version that’s been hinted at in recent days by Larry Michael, the Redskins’ senior vice president, on his “Redskins Nation” television program.
First came Monday, when Michael read a distraught note from a fan known as “Big Eddie Ed in Laurel.”
“As a very frustrated Redskins fan, I was able to level my head before writing this,” Big Eddie Ed wrote. “I can’t remember a happier day as a Redskins fan than when I saw the hiring of Scot McCloughan. Finally, the Redskins had a top-end GM with a proven track record of success to help the Redskins where they needed help the most: in the front office. The last two years the team has had many impact rookies, playing so well. Free agents brought in were key cogs to making the Redskins great.”
“So let me stop right here, Big Ed, and say yes, a couple years ago, the Redskins did bring Scot McCloughan in here with the hope of making this a championship-caliber team,” Michael said. “And as I showed you on Friday, here are the last two drafts, 2015 and 2016. First, take a look at the 2015 draft, the first when Scot was here. And judge for yourself, by taking a look at these names, what you think.”
Then he put up this draft graphic.
“And then 2016, last year. Again, take a look at the names. Where do you evaluate these players after one year in the National Football League?” Michael asked. “Now back in the studio, you know, we can’t really evaluate a draft after just one year. We know it takes a few years.”
Indeed, it takes time, and a player who seems like a steal one year (Kyshoen Jarrett) might suffer a tragic injury and be out of the league the next year. Either way, it seems to me the implication here was that McCloughan’s drafts were not all that great. And seems to me that when you fire a guy — while someone in your organization anonymously leaks comments about his public drunkenness — you could probably do without then implying on your team television show that his drafts weren’t really all that.
“Moving on with Fast Eddie Ed in Laurel — ‘I can’t believe anything written or posted about this team,’ ” Michael read from the note.
“You’re right,” Michael said. “You really can’t believe anything written or posted about this team, other than on ‘Redskins Nation.’ You’ve seen what some of the reports have been, which have no veracity. Some of these reports, just grasping at straws. If we were to sit here and try to correct all the erroneous reports that we’ve seen — and the haters are out in full force, as we know.”
If you want to know the truth just watch Redskins Nation pic.twitter.com/AS0rT3QLCd
— Dan Steinberg (@dcsportsbog) March 15, 2017
Michael also responded to Big Eddie Ed’s concerns about the defensive coordinator search, saying “I’m a big fan of Greg Manusky, and he’s a Redskin in his heart.” And he responded to Big Eddie Ed’s concerns about free agency, saying “recent events here have seen the Redskins sign some pretty good free agents,” and that D.J. Swearinger, Stacy McGee and Terrell McClain all look like starters.
Then came Tuesday’s show, when Michael read an email from “Johnny in Goodview, Virginia.” Johnny was also concerned about the GM situation and the appearance of dysfunction.
“So, obviously, we know that Scot McCloughan and the Redskins are no longer together, Scot McCloughan is no longer with the team,” Michael said. “For the two years Scot was the general manager, there was a group effort on all decisions being made here. And Scot said it while he was here. We’ve heard Jay Gruden talk about it, we’ve heard Bruce Allen talk about it. And there’s nobody who has more experience in pro football than Bruce Allen. I mean, think about what Bruce Allen has done in the league — a former agent, general manager in Oakland, general manager in Tampa. He’s been here with the Redskins for the last few years.
“So you take a look at Bruce Allen, you take a look at the organization, you take a look at Jay Gruden, you take a look at the players that have been here over the last couple years, back-to-back winning years for the Redskins,” Michael went on. “How much credit do those individuals get for the success of the team? You be the judge, all right? It’s pretty simple to take a look at it, and say ‘Well, you know, Scot’s no longer here.’ Well, it’s always been a group decision-making process here with the Redskins. That’s the way it’s always been. That’s the way it’s gonna be in the future.
“But pretty much the coach, to me, Coach ruden has come a long way in his tenure as head coach with the Redskins,” Michael said. “And a lot of people wanted to characterize his extension as something other than a sign that the management here thinks he’s done a good job. I think he’s done a good job. And so whatever your opinion might be on the general manager situation, please, don’t forget to give credit where credit’s due. I think Jay Gruden’s done great.”
Then Michael read a note from “Jimmy in La Plata” suggesting the team consider Doug Williams for the GM role instead of the NFL Network’s Mike Mayock.
“Well, I know Mike Mayock first of all, and again, you talk about misinformation, you talk about something that is not accurate,” Michael said. “You saw Mike Mayock come out and completely deny the fact that he was being considered for the general manager position. I can tell you right now, he’s not being considered for the general manager position. … Where these stories come from, I do not know. Where they’re made up, I do not know. But Jimmy from La Plata has hit it right on the head: Doug Williams is in the building, Doug Williams has been a scout.
“A lot of people don’t know — they remember Doug as an MVP of Super Bowl XXII, 35 points in 18 plays, great quarterback in Redskins history,” Michael said. “A lot of people don’t know that since his playing days, Doug has been a lifelong scout. He knows good talent when he sees it, and again, he’s in the building. There wouldn’t be a better representative of the Washington Redskins than Doug Williams as a general manager. So who knows which way this job search will go, what direction it will head, but I’m with Jimmy in La Plata: I like Doug Williams a lot. And don’t believe everything you hear about TV personalities or TV football people being considered for the general manager job.”
Michael did empathize with Big Eddie Ed, who seemed to be writing on behalf of a great many frustrated fans.
“I feel ya man, no doubt about it,” Michael said. “Redskins fans wanting to see a Super Bowl. And the Redskins, last couple of years, winning seasons. … And again, I feel what you’re feeling, man. Redskins fans want to see a winner.”